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Online 5-Day Foundations Certificate Training

Training with Integrity, Creativity, Politic and Purpose

Sept 20-22nd & Sept 28/29th, 2024 
(May/June 2024 Foundations Sold Out)


Foundations of Theory and Practice

30 CE credits granted by CCPA

Sept 20-22nd & Sept 28/29th, 2024 (25% sold)

"The 5-day Foundations course was exceptional. I thoroughly enjoyed the knowledge and experience shared by all the faculty and the engagement of the other participants in the course only added to the richness.  I know the concepts and practices I learned in the course will help me in my job supporting marginalized people. I can’t recommend this course enough.  It is not just for counsellors and therapists; it can benefit anyone in the social services."  

- Foundations Participant, Vancouver, BC, February 2024


"The experience of learning through the VSNT faculty teaching, discussing, and showing their therapy work(!) offered me so much more than 2 years of graduate school. You have dramatically changed how I think about therapy and how I feel about myself. Thank. See you at Foundation Level Two!!"

- Foundations Participant, Toronto, ON, May 2023

“I was awe struck by who the faculty are and blown away by how much I was able to learn. This course was not only a turning point in my narrative therapy learning but also in my life!! Sending much gratitude and thanks to all of you. See you in the next VSNT course.”

- Foundations Participant, New York City, September 2022


"HUGE thank you! I saw Stephen teach in Oslo last September and now even more inspired. I just signed up for Foundations II in October! I am finally happy with my chosen profession, and it has already made a big difference for me and my clients!
 - Foundations Participant, Oslo, Norway, May 2024

Your practice learning is guided by one highly imaginative continental philosopher + six world-class narrative therapists.


Our sole purpose is to prepare participants for the therapy room through:

  Live therapy demonstrations + client video tape sessions + transcripts.


Training is skill based, purposeful, and theoretically driven.

VSNT Teaching Faculty:

Rosa Arteaga, (Canada/Mexico), Christine Dennstedt (Canada), Helene Grau Kristensen (Denmark), Stephen Madigan (Canada), David Marsten (USA), Todd May (USA), David Nylund (USA)

Dates:   Sept 20-22nd & Sept 28/29th, 2024

Time:  8:15 am - 2:15 pm, Pacific Daylight Time (Vancouver, BC)

Location:  Classes are taught live through Zoom video conferencing

Professional: $850 CAD (+ tax)

Students/ members: $700 CAD (+ tax)

Proof of student status is required upon registration

Foundations is designed for mental health practitioners, students, teachers, supervisors and those in the helping professions.

The intensive training course is presented live on Zoom. Due to issues of confidentiality and participant consent, recordings of this training will not be made available.

Training Schedule

Faculty and curriculum are subject to change

Foundations and Fundamentals of Narrative Therapy Practice
Stephen Madigan, PhD

Day 1 - All Day

8:15 AM – 2:15 PM (Break 11AM-Noon)

Stephen is the VSNT Director of Training and guides participants through what he frames as "the ecology of the receiving context a narrative therapist receives client stories into". He then demonstrates numerous practical skills involving four therapeutic practices at the heart of Narrative Therapy interviewing: 1) Relational Externalizing, 2) Relative Influence Questions, 3) Unique Outcome Moments, and 4) Double Listening.

Stephen teaches through Q&A discussion, Live therapy practice, and numerous clinical examples of his original video taped sessions with clients. Participants learn the purpose, politic, intention, direction, difference, and theory supporting these life changing narrative therapy interview practices.

A Philosophical Framework for Thinking About Narrative Therapy Practice
Todd May, PhD

Day 2 

8:15 AM – 11 AM 

Michael White strongly believed that "without an intimate understanding of philosopher Michel Foucault's post-structural ideas a therapists understanding of narrative therapy practice would be severely limited." ( 

Resident VSNT philosopher Todd May who is the author of sixteen books on philosophy (and counting) unravels the conceptual complexities of Michel Foucault's ideas on non-individualism, essentialism, expert knowledge, the concept of power, and the intersection of practices, values, norms, normalization, and normativity.

The ongoing project for Todd is to help participants continually link together these vital theoretical ideas to our daily narrative therapy practices inside the therapy room.

Narrative therapy informed Anti-anorexia/bulimia practice 
Christine Dennstedt PhD

Day 2 

12 PM –2:15 PM

Christine has had a longtime committed therapeutic relationship to people struggling with disordered eating and wrote her doctoral dissertation on the ground breaking work connecting: Narrative therapy, disordered eating, and substance misuse.


Christine guides participants through a narrative therapy informed, non-individualist, cultural and contextual therapeutic practice discussion through slides, stories, and original 'diagrams' to help demonstrate the complexities and creativity involved in her Anti-anorexia/bulimia practice. 

Stephen and Christine then bring participants even closer through a live transcript supervision on the ecology of ideas she receives her disordered eating client stories into and then - he asks questions about each question she has ask in the unaltered session transcript demonstrated. Whew!

Therapeutic Letter Writing + Live Counter-Story Demonstration Interview
David Rock Nylund, PhD

Day 3 

8:15 AM – 11AM 

Inside the international narrative therapy community David Rock Nylund is know as one of it's few world class therapeutic letter writers. His training workshop introduces participants to the historical roots, writing frameworks, and unique practices/categories within the craft of therapeutic letter writing.


He follows up the slide show discussion with a superbly textured Live counter-story interview demonstration. Course participants are then invited into a Live practice experience and taught how to craft narrative therapy questions and write a therapeutic letter ~ in response to the interview they have just witnessed.

Narrative Therapy Interviewing with Children and Families.
David Marsten MSW

Day 3 

12 noon - 2:30pm

The workshop demonstrates David's elegant therapeutic craft and direct practice with children in the context of family therapy. Participants receive a first hand experience of his 30 years of day in and day out therapeutic relationship working with children, youth, and families. Key narrative therapy skills are demonstrated ~ with an emphasis placed on narrative interviewing structures, his co-creation of 'wonderfulness interviewing', and another original idea he calls a dramatization of persons and problems. Lecture, discussion, slides, and exercises will support participant learning and David's direct practice videos highlight particular aspects of this beautiful work.

Narrative Therapy with Couples and Children: Death, Grief and Loss,
Helene Grau, MA

Day 4 

8:15 AM – 11:00 AM

Participants are introduced to one of the worlds most skilled narrative therapists who guides them into her ground breaking narrative therapy work with parents and families/communities who have experienced the death of a child.

Helene’s workshop teaches participants numerous practical skills and new relational narrative therapy understandings about working with grief, death, loss, communities of concern, and re-membering conversations.

Helene will then send out a session transcript that Stephen will supervise live in front of participants. Supervision consists of asking Helene questions about the purpose, direction, politic and general understanding of her therapeutic questions thereby ~ linking theoretical concepts to her practice.

 Gender-Violence and Trauma. Rosa Arteaga, MA

Day 4

12:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Through Rosa's work as the Clinical Director and Supervisor of a large multi-disciplinary team with a nonprofit anti-violence women’s organization, participants receive a close up intimate experience of her narrative therapy informed social justice/feminist inspired therapeutic practice. Participants learn how to interview and support girls and women of all ages and diverse backgrounds who are experiencing complex trauma and gender violence. Rosa guides participants well beyond current ideas about trauma and facilitates her teaching by taking the learner inside the complexities of gender violence through storytelling, session videos and her unaltered transcripts.

 Identity, Difference and Social Justice  David Rock Nylund PhD

Day 5 

8:15 AM – 11:00 AM

Rock will highlights the work of cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, and feminist scholar Ana Louise Keating’s and their ideas on identity, difference, and social justice. He will argue that Keating and Hall’s critique of essentialist notions of identity create potential for transformation both on a macro and micro level. Rock will then posit that Keating and Hall’s ideas offer narrative informed therapists tools to work across differences based on shared values and interconnectedness, not identity alone. An excerpt/video of Stevie, a Latinx cisgender female, working with her client Dani, a white transgender woman illustrates what Hall and Keating’s ideas look like in action. 

Foundations and Fundamentals of Narrative Therapy Practice Stephen Madigan PhD

Day 5 

12:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Foundation participants are now beginning to have a solid working knowledge and understanding of the theoretical frameworks and therapeutic practices at the heart of narrative therapy interviewing. Stephen moves Sunday afternoon's discussion forward towards new understandings and skills related to the next set of important narrative practice understandings:

5) Re-membering conversations, 6) Re-authoring conversations, and, 7) The counter-file method for taking in-session therapy notes. 

He ends the training with participant reflections and questions.

1/2 Day Followup
Stephen Madigan PhD, David Rock Nylund PhD

Followup 1/2 Day

8:15 AM - 11 AM

Rock & Stephen engage participants in a free-flowing interactive learning discussion regarding the therapeutic ideas and practices they encountered over the five-day Foundations certificate training. This is a time for participants to share what they learned, the specific ideas and practices that stood out, the post Foundations training experience with their with clients, and to raise any and all questions regarding the beauty, creativity, integrity and politic of narrative therapy practices.

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