Third Nordic Narrative Therapy Conference


Thank you so much to all the presenters and participants who made the conference in Bergen a beautiful learning event.
Join us again in Vancouver Canada in 2023 for the next BIG LIVE conference.

Image by ZHANG Shaoqi

Third Nordic NarrativeTherapy Conference 
Bergen, Norway -  MAY 4-6, 2022

The Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy would like to thank every single participant and presenter for collectively coming together to create an absolutely fabulous conference experience. Well done and see you next year.

An Intellectually Progressive Skill-based Conference

Third Nordic Narrative Therapy Conference highlighting the work of international narrative therapy thinkers and therapists from Canada, Denmark, Norway and the USA.


Workshops designed to highlight and demonstrate new developments in narrative therapy theory and practice with children, families, couples and communities.


Nightly after conference gatherings to connect with each other.

We invite you to join us.

Teaching Faculty: Mwamini Ali-Sivertsen (Norway)Rosa Arteaga (Canada), Elin Bjøru (Norway)Stein Roger Brønseth (Norway), Erling Fidjestøl (Norway), Helene Grau (Denmark), Nina Tejs Jorring (Denmark), Cecilie Kristiansen (Norway), Cecilie Erichsen Lærkerød (Norway), Stephen Madigan (Canada), David Marsten (USA), Gunnar Martinsen (Norway), Todd May (USA), Aaron Munro (Canada), Ottar Ness (Norway), David Nylund (USA), Siv Sæveraas (Norway), Rolph Sundet (Norway), Dina von Heimburg (Norway). 

Dates: May 4-6, 2022

Location: Bergen Literaturhaus, Østre Skostredet 5, 5017

Bergen, Norway

Professional 3-Day Pass: 3,500 kr

Students & members 3-Day Pass: 2,500 kr

Proof of student identification is required upon registration



Mwamini Ali-Sivertsen, BA

Mwamini has a bachelor degree in Child Welfare and further education within Multicultural Understandings
and Systemic Family Therapy. She has over 10 years experience working
with children, couples and families. She is currently employed as a family therapist at Bjørgvin Family
Care Office, active in Narrative Praxsis Bergen and completing her Masters degree in Family Therapy at the University of Bergen, Norway.

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Rosa Arteaga, MA

Rosa developed an innovative narrative therapy/social justice/feminist inspired therapeutic practice to support girls and women of all ages and diverse backgrounds who are experiencing complex trauma and violence. Her work takes the learner inside the complexities of gender violence through storytelling, session videos and unaltered transcripts. Rosa is the Clinical Director and Supervisor of a multi-disciplinary team with a nonprofit anti-violence women’s organization in Vancouver, Canada. Rosa is a longtime Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy faculty member. 


Elin Bjøru, MA

Elin Bjøru has been working as a Clinical Psychologist with children, youth, couples and families for over 35 years. She is the former Team Leader of Norways National Couple Conflict team and was instrumental in creating one of the world's first innovative programs that brings together an intellectually strong and innovative relationship between Family Court Judges and therapist/mediators at her family therapy clinic. Elin loves her work with couples and families at the Family office in Trondheim, Norway.

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Erling Fidjestøl, MA

Erling is recognized around the world as a leader in narrative theory and practice understandings in Norway. He is a clinical director and family therapist at the ROBUST child and family therapy Clinic in Oslo and for the last 17 years has immersed himself entirely in the study and practice of narrative therapy. He teaches narrative therapy to Family Therapy Graduate students and works with children, youth and their families suffering with a wide range of difficulties including high conflicts, and social, cultural and mental health issues of various kinds.


Helene Grau, MA

Helene is a co-founder of Praksis: The Centre for Narrative Therapy in Denmark. She was originally supervised and trained for many years by Michael White, presents workshops internationally, teaches narrative therapy courses at the University of Copenhagen and is a faculty member with the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy. Helene publishes on the issues of Grief, Death, Loss and Hope and her therapy practice specializes in working with parents who have experienced the death of a child. Helene is also a regular interview guest on

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Cecilie Kristiansen BA

Cecilie is one of the brilliant up and coming narrative therapists to watch from Bergen. She who works as a family therapist at Bjørgvin Familiekontor in Bergen, Norway and is a founding member of the inspired Narrativ Praxsis Bergen. She has studied extensively with Vancouver School in Canada, and works with high conflict couples, families and children. She is currently studying for her Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Bergen.

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Stephen Madigan, PhD

Stephen is an award winning Couple and Family therapist and best selling author of the books Narrative Therapy (2011, 2019). He wrote the first doctoral dissertation on narrative therapy, is the Director of the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy, content manager for the online interactive learning site, and longstanding consultant supervisor to Trondheim's High Conflict Couple Therapy and Mediation Team. Stephen enjoys teaching, consulting and supervising teams ~ world wide. 


Stein-Roger Brønseth, MA

Stein-Roger is a long standing family therapist/mediator and current leader of the High Couple Conflict Team in Trondheim, Norway. The Team has instituted a unique and close working relationship with local Family Court Judges who discuss and refer high conflict couple relationships to the Team. Since 2016, Stein-Roger and the High Couple Conflict Team began working closely with their supervisor Stephen Madigan where they continue to train together in narrative therapy informed Relational Interviewing practices with conflicted couple relationships.

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Cecilie Erichsen Lærkerød, MA

Cecilie is another one of the brilliant up and coming narrative therapists to watch from Bergen. She works as a family therapist at Bjørgvin Familiekontor in Bergen, Norway, is a founding member of the inspired Narrativ Praxsis Bergen group, has studied extensively with the Vancouver School in Canada, and works with high conflict couples, families and children. Her rigour, imagination, fearlessness and her long hours of training and practice can be found on full display in Cecilie's practice workshops. 

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David Marsten, MA

David is the Clinical Director of Miracle Mile Community Practice in Los Angeles, California and has practiced narrative therapy for 30 years. He is the co-author of the highly praised book: Narrative Therapy in Wonderland: Connecting with Children’s Imaginative Know-how, and longtime faculty member with the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy. David teaches narrative therapy workshops internationally through session videos, unaltered transcripts, and live interview demonstrations. 

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Gunnar Martinsen BSN

Gunnar is a trained chef, nurse, family therapist and a leader in narrative practice understanding in Norway. Gunnar has studied narrative therapy in his training visits to Sacramento California and with VSNT in Vancouver, Canada. For many years he was a family therapist at ROBUST in Oslo (Norway's only all narrative therapy clinic) . He is a senior member of the Narrativ Praxsis Bergen group and works as a family therapist with high conflict couples, families and children at Bjørgvin Familiekontor in his home city of Bergen.

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Todd May, PhD

Todd is the resident teaching philosopher and faculty member with the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy. As a Professor of Philosophy he has authored sixteen books  including the beautifully written and readable texts on the ideas of Gilles Deleuze (2005), and Michel Foucault (2006). For decades he has been active in grassroots political movements and most recently in immigration rights and anti-racism campaigns. He was also the philosopher advisor to the hit TV show The Good Place on NBC and a new book on moral philosophy by Mike Schur How to be Perfect (2022)

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David Rock Nylund, PhD

David (Rock to all who know him) is a Professor of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento (USA), long time faculty with the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy, and the co-founder and Clinical Director of the award winning Gender Health Centre, a community based agency serving LGBTQ communities. He has practiced narrative therapy for 30 years and is the author of three books and over 60 articles on narrative therapy practice, queer and trans theory, and cultural studies. He supervises and teaches a wide range of workshops world wide.


Aaron Munro, MA

Aaron is Queer and Trans identified and for more than 18 years has worked as an advocate, activist, and Agency director for the rights and dignity of unhoused people. Aaron's experience has led him to many ‘mental health firsts’ in Canada – including opening the first trans youth homeless housing project in 2017, and more recently in 2021, designed and opened the first homeless trans adult housing project staffed entirely by trans identified people. He is a VSNT faculty member and has produced several video documentaries on stigma, mental health and the homeless. He is the recent creator of a skills learning website for Peer support, social work and community workers.

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Ottar Ness, PhD

Ottar is a Professor of Counselling and Mental Healthcare at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway, a Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy faculty member and visiting professor at Yale Universities Program for Recovery and Community Health in 2018. He is especially interested in relational welfare and social justice for politically and socially marginalized persons. He edited the “Norwegian clinical handbook of couples therapy” (2017) and co-edited the “Norwegian clinical handbook of family therapy” (2019). In 2020 the American Family Therapy Academy presenter Ottar with their prestigious Early Career Award.  

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Siv Sæveraas MA

Siv is a systemic family therapist in Bergen, Norway who works as a family therapist with couples, families and children at Bjørgvin Familiekontor, in Bergen, Norway. Siv holds specific interest in the Tree of Life practice of narrative therapy, works as a teacher, supervisor and writer, and is a guardian for a number of single, minor refugees. Before Siv entered the field of family therapy, she had a long career as a feature journalist. 

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Rolf Sundet, PhD

When international family therapists think of family therapy in Norway - we think of Rolf Sundet. He has published a vast amount of family therapy articles in both English and Scandinavian books and journals. and is a specialist in clinical psychology and Professor Emeritus at the University of South-Eastern Norway.  Rolph is also a freelance supervisor and consultant and holds a special interest in perspectives on 'returning to the real' as a necessary political focus in therapeutic practices and conceptualizations.

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Nina Tejs Jørring, MD 

Nina established the Family Therapy Team at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, University Hospital Copenhagen, where she now teaches and supervises. Her book Narrative Psychiatry and Family Collaborations describes the team’s family focused and co-created treatments. As a teacher and supervisor Nina has a particular focus on how narrative ethics and therapeutic letter writing enhances the efficacy and competencies of the professional’s collaborative practices. She has also presented at  Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy conference events several times.  

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Dina von Heimburg, PhD

Dina von Heimburg is a PhD Candidate (Nord University), Assistant Professor (NTNU) and public health coordinator (Levanger Municipality). Her research interests are focused on public health and health promotion, with a particular focus on social justice, social inclusion, and sustainable societal development. Dina is particularly interested in co-creation and relational welfare as approaches to local public health work, and how the settings of everyday life meeting places in the community can influence the development of health and well-being. 

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Robin Evan Willis, MA, MCP

Robin holds a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology from Adler University and - a Masters of Arts degree in acting from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London England. After retiring from a successful acting career in both NYC and Toronto, Robin now works as a therapist in private practice and is also the centre piece of ideas and organization working as the Director of Operations for The Vancouver School of Narrative Therapy. The VSNT faculty and international community highly value Robin's ongoing creativity, insight and leadership.


May 4, Day 1

(Registration 7:45am-8:45am)


9:00am – 11:45am

~ Lunch 12:00pm – 1:15pm 

WELCOME: Narrativ Praxsis Bergen 



1:30pm - 2:15pm


2:30pm – 4:30pm



9:00am – 11:45am


Workshop A) Foundations of Narrative Therapy Practice

Erling Fidjestøl MA (Norway)

Helene Grau MA (Denmark) 

Stephen Madigan PhD (Canada)

Erling, Helene and Stephen draw upon thousands of Narrative Therapy practice hours to help guide participants towards a clear understanding of the key theoretical, political and therapeutic practice ideas at the heart of narrative therapy interviewing. Participants experience Narrative Therapy practice ‘close up’ through interwoven discussions of their client session videos alongside Michael White's teaching videos found on

Workshop B) Relational Welfare and Narrative Practice: Dignifying Lives and Practices for Persons with Mental Health Problems

Dina von Heimburg PhD (Norway)
Ottar Ness PhD (Norway)


Relational welfare is a human-centred and collaborative approach premised on human rights, social justice and societal sustainable development. Relational welfare means that welfare is a resource that people co-create together, where personal and collective relationships and environments are placed at the centre of development. Dina and Ottar discuss how narrative practice can promote better lives and communities for people struggling with mental health problems.

Workshop C) Working with Gender Violence: Rich Stories of Strength, Resistance, Justice and Unique Outcomes Moments

 Rosa Arteaga MA (Canada/Mexico)


Rosa introduces participants to her beautifully crafted narrative therapy informed, feminist, decolonizing practice approach to working with girls and women experiencing gender and sexualized violence. The workshop transports participants beyond current trauma informed practice trends and highlights her twenty years of direct practice as acting Clinical Supervisor of an experienced, all woman, narrative therapy inspired gender violence team in Vancouver, Canada.

~ Lunch 11:45pm – 1:00pm

CONFERENCE WELCOME: Narrativ Praxsis Bergen



Relational Letter Writing to the Conflicted Couple's Relationship 

Stephen Madigan (Canada)

Through video ~ Stephen demonstrates the non-individualist narrative therapy informed Relational Interviewing practice of writing therapeutic consultation letters directly to the conflicted couples relationship.  Conference participants witness his reading of a letter written to the relationship, a couple's separate readings of the letter each wrote from the relationships perspective (to the couple) and, the interview of this relational performance and experience with a couple.

2:30pm – 4:30pm

Workshop D: A Philosophical Framework for Thinking About Narrative Therapy Practice
Todd May PhD (USA)

Without a solid understanding of continental philosopher Michel Foucault's non-individualist, post-structural theoretical framework, a therapist’s narrative therapy practice will be severely limited. VSNT resident philosopher Todd May makes it easy for participants to enter into the political and ideological complexities of Foucault’s ideas, and provides discussion so that we may consider re-thinking aspects of our narrative therapy practice, supervision, and how we train therapists. 


Workshop E: 

Tree of Life: Connecting through Shared Humanity

Siv Sæveraas MA (Norway)

Siv shares her intercultural therapy experiences from an impoverished neighbourhood in Nairobi Kenya, where she is implementing a Tree of Life narrative approach to reach beyond cultural differences and stereotypes. In this workshop she challenges dominant discourses on cultural competence, while exploring shared humanity as a resource in intercultural therapy.

Workshop F: Therapeutic Letter Writing + Live Demonstration Interview
Nina Tejs Jorring MD (Denmark),

David Rock Nylund PhD (USA)


Rock & Nina are two of narrative therapy's world class letter writers. They introduce conference participants to the historical roots, writing frameworks, unique practices and categories within the craft of therapeutic letter writing. They follow up their discussion with Rock doing a superbly textured Live counter-story interview demonstration with Nina responding. Participants are then invited into a Live practice experience of crafting their own therapeutic letter to the interviewee (in Norwegian or English) in response to the narrative therapy conversation they have just witnessed.

May 5 Day 2




9:30am- 12pm

~ Lunch 12:00pm – 1:15pm




2:15pm – 3:30pm


 3:45pm – 5:15pm



8:30am - 9:15am

Still Alive

Helene Grau (Denmark)

Helene guides participants through her exquisite narrative therapy informed relational interviewing practice that completely turns traditional psychological ideas about grief, loss and death - upside down. Her therapy practice with couples involves crafting relational responses to parental and communal grief and loss after the death of a child. She demonstrates an interviewing process of re-storying loss, grief and death while cultivating and re-membering the continued relationship between the living parents and the child who is no longer breathing.



9:30am – 12 noon

Workshop A) Narrative Therapy with Children and Families (1)

Cecilie Erichsen Lærkerød MA (Norway) 

David Marsten MSW (USA)


Cecilie and David guide participants through a skill based narrative therapy practice experience with children and families. Central ideas are highlighted from the acclaimed book David co-authored - Narrative Therapy in Wonderland: connecting with children’s imaginative know-how (2017). Participants are first led to question taken for granted therapeutic and dominant cultural assumptions about children, youth and mothers who come to therapy. Cecilie and David then demonstrates direct narrative therapy practice transcripts and videos to highlight the beauty, skill and complexity of this work.

Workshop B) 

Addressing the Effects of Bullying and Exclusion: Not single-handedly but sharing together.

Erling Fidjestøl MA (Norway)

Gunnar Martisen (Norway)

Four previously unacquainted girls (age 12 to 14) have all individually faced years of bullying and exclusion. Introduced to the ideas of definitional ceremony they have all accepted the invitation to come together in a shared sense of solidarity. Together they might see themselves less through the eyes of self-hatred but more through the compassionate eyes of one another. Through excerpts from a videotape of one of these sessions the workshop participants get a glimpse into some of the possibilities that non-individualistic practices have to offer in working with problems that so often leaves therapists feeling impotent, powerless and discouraged.

Workshop C) Narrative Therapy Informed Relational Interviewing with Conflicted Couple Relationships 
Stephen Madigan, PhD (Canada)

Both in theory and in practice Stephen's creation of a narrative therapy informed Relational Interviewing practice with couple relationships is refreshingly original, completely relational, decidedly non-individualist and post-structural, and situated within compassion, cultural contexts, practiced values, and a little bit of common sense. Participants learn through theory and a closeup study of his recent videos interviewing couple relationships filmed in Canada, Norway and the USA. 


~ Lunch 12:00pm – 1:15pm


1:15 - 2pm


 Todd May PhD (USA)


Most views about self-deception are rooted in psychoanalysis, which individualizes self-deception and neglects its social roots. Todd’s keynote offers a unique framework for thinking about self-deception from within a larger social context, allowing narrative practice to integrate the ideas without betraying the important understandings of the practice.

2:15pm – 3:30pm

Workshop 1) That’s a Good Question! (Part 1)

What is the significance of questions in narrative therapy? 
Mwamini Ali-Sivertsen BA (Norway), 
Cecilie Kristiansen BA (Norway)

Mwamini and Cecilie take participants through a riveting discussion about narrative therapy questions related to problems that bring clients into therapy, the use of metaphors, and how to relationally externalize internalized problems. 
(**Discussion presented in Norwegian)

Workshop 2) Bridging the Gap
Erling Fidjestøl MA (Norway),

Gunnar Martisen MA (Norway)

Participants are taught how to move therapeutic conversations  beyond the problem story and into the realms of alternative and preferred client stories. Presenters demonstrate narrative therapy through use of unaltered transcripts and video tape of their practice work. 
(**Discussion presented in Norwegian)

Workshop 3) Discussions on Difference and Identity
Todd May PhD (USA)
Rolph Sundet PhD (Norway)

Philosopher Gilles Deleuze suggests nothing has a stable identity and it is difference that precedes identity. Rolph and Todd discuss these ideas and what they might mean to the practice of narrative therapy.

3:45pm – 5:15pm

Workshop 4) New Therapeutic Letter Writing Practices
Nina Tejs Jorring MD (Denmark)

Nina will discuss her new book (published in 2022) and share how she uses therapeutic letters as a supervisor at mental health units and to psychiatry and family therapy trainees. The participants experience how therapeutic letter writing supports the individual author of the letters to formulate much better questions and to express themselves with respect and love through small and fun exercises. 

Workshop 5) That’s a Good Question! (Part 2)
Values and identity Making

Mwamini Ali-Sivertsen (BA (Norway), 
Cecilie Kristiansen BA (Norway)

Mwamini and Cecilie guide participants towards asking specific sets of narrative therapy questions related to the client stories behind A) Who were you before? B) Who are you today? C) Who do you see yourself becoming in the future? 
(**Discussion presented in Norwegian)

Workshop 6) 

Power Relations and Problems with Othering
Rosa Arteaga MA (Canada) Rock Nylund (USA)

Rosa and Rock discuss how dichotomies of otherness are set up as being ‘natural’ and are subsequently taken for granted. But ‘social identities’ are not natural as they represent an established social order and hierarchy where certain groups are established as being superior to other groups.  


May 6 Day 3


9:15am- 12pm

~ Lunch 12:00pm – 1:15pm




2:15pm – 4pm


4:15PM – 5:15PM



MORNING 9:15am – 12pm


Workshop A) Narrative Therapy with Couples and Children: Death, Grief and Loss

Helene Grau MA (Denmark)

Helene teaches participants practical skills and relational understandings when working with couples about grief, death, and loss through relational re-membering conversations. Her session transcripts with grieving couples demonstrate narrative practices that re-connect and enliven the dead child and contest, challenge and change what parents, the child, and the community experience about loss, grief and death.


Workshop B) Relational Supervision with High Conflict Couple Therapy Teams

Elin Bjøru MA (Norway),

Stein-Roger Brønseth MA (Norway),

Stephen Madigan PhD (Canada)

Elin and Stein-Roger are Norwegian are senior members of the High Couple Conflict Team from Trondheim, Norway. Stephen has been the High Couple Conflict Teams Supervisor for 5 years. They discuss their unique 5-step narrative therapy informed Relational Supervision model through discussion and videos of: the value and use of unaltered session transcripts, Live therapy sessions, one way mirror Response Teams, research, the Teams unique relationship with Family Court Judges, and how the Team has come to value and appreciate cultural and language differences in narrative therapy and supervision.

Workshop C) Narrative Therapy with Children and Families - Rich Characterization and Story Development (2) 

David Marsten MSW (USA)


The workshop demonstrates an incredibly textured and complex  relationally informed narrative therapy practice - focused on rich characterization and story development. Participants learn through David's new and original interviewing practice of darkening the landscape of therapy through the questions he asks. What this means is that rather than providing simple and unique solutions of hope, the way forward is to bring problems out in the open and up close by further darkening the client's relationship with the problem in order to bring forth more provocative distinctions, of difference.

~ Lunch 12:00pm – 1:15pm


Working With Trans Youth, Families, and Communities
David Rock Nylund PhD (USA)

Rock has interviewed more trans youth and their families in narrative therapy informed family therapy than anyone else in the world. He will discuss his newly created 5-step interviewing practice and guide participants into the intricacies, complexities, and the narrative skills and knowledges necessary when working with trans youth, their families, and communities.


AFTERNOON 2:15 pm – 4pm


Workshop D) Re-establishing Relationships with the Body: Narrative Conversations about Trauma & Violence

Rosa Arteaga MA (Canada/Mexico)

Cecilie Erichsen Lærkerød MA (Norway)


Cecilie begins by introducing conceptualizations of the body and imbedded experience through the complex philosophical ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (whew!). Rosa then guides participants inside a distinctively new narrative therapy approach to working with girls and women survivors of gender and sexual violence. Putting all this together, participants experience a new theoretical, relational, political and contextual reconnection with the woman’s body and the practice of - directly interviewing the woman’s body.

Workshop E) Award Winning Documentary film: The Mens Room

Gunnar Martinsen (Norway) - who is in the film

Helene Grau (Denmark) - discussant

The ranks of a choir is not exactly the first place where you’d expect to find 25 tattooed middle-aged men with beer in their hands. But here they are every Tuesday night letting go  of their inhibitions and increasingly resembling a tight-knit family. Then comes the news: their beloved choir conductor has only a few months left to live. Men of the choir create this grief into an opportunity to rediscover the values of friendship and connection.

Workshop F) Applied Skills for Narrative Practice
Stephen Madigan (Canada)

Rock Nylund (USA)

Now that we are at the end of the conference it is time to experience LIVE and interactive demonstrations of narrative therapy counter-story interviews. During the interview, each interview question Rock and Stephen asks is typed up onto a large screen for all participants to experience, evaluate and learn from. Participants are then asked to offer 'the next' interview question in the interview - and these questions are also typed up on the big screen, and thoroughly discussed. Participants learn to craft narrative questions and write a therapeutic letter. Fun and interactive.



4:15PM – 5:15PM


Thinking With Deleuze: How to Move on in the Age of Evidenced Based Practice

Rolph Sundet PhD (Norway)


Collaboration is a necessary part of what is named as psychotherapy. At the same time political forces are strong in demanding that this collaboration must follow standardized principles embedded in a perspective on knowledge that puts a specific view on evidence at the centre. In this, the unique person seems to be lost in a Neoliberal haze using sameness as a central weapon. The keynote investigates the thinking of philosopher Gilles Deleuze and the primacy of difference in itself can help us manoeuvre in this ideological landscape, and bring singularity and uniqueness as necessary parts of our collaborative work together with people in mental health services.