Advanced Narrative Practice Training

Advanced Narrative Practice 

30 CE credits granted by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
March 25-27 & April 2-3, 2022 

While adhering to Michael White's conceptual practice framework, participants interact and learn how VSNT faculty's narrative therapy practice and theoretical understandings have dramatically changed.


Inspired through the work of one critical race scholar, one trans identified community organizer, a continental philosopher, and five world class narrative therapists, the VSNT faculty come together to teach, demonstrate, and discuss how and why they are reshaping the ideas and practice of narrative therapy.

** The faculty welcomes all participants at all levels of practice experience and understanding to join us in this training.

Online Teaching Faculty: 

Rosa Arteaga (Mexico/Canada), Harjeet Badwall (Canada), Helene Grau (Denmark), Stephen Madigan (Canada), David Marsten (USA), Todd May (USA), Aaron Munro (Canada), David Nylund (USA), Jeff Zimmerman (USA)

Dates: March 25-27 & April 2-3, 2022

1/2 Day Questions & Followup: TBA

Time: 8:15am - 2:15pm PST

Location: Classes will be taught live through Zoom video conferencing

Professional: $800 CAD (+ tax)

Students/ members: $600 CAD (+ tax)

Proof of student status is required upon registration

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

Advanced Topics in Narrative Therapy

Theory and Practice

**Faculty and curriculum are subject to change

Relational Relationship Interviewing with Conflicted Couple Relationships: (Part 1 of 2)

Stephen Madigan, PhD

Day 1

8:15 AM – 11 AM (Break 11-noon)

Stephen’s creation of a narrative therapy informed Relational Interviewing practice is viewed internationally as refreshingly original and relational, decidedly non-individualist and post-structural, and situated within compassion, cultural contexts, practiced values, and more than a little bit of common sense.

Participants learn through an experiential closeup study of Stephen’s wide range of non-individualist post-structural relational interviewing questioning practices with conflicted couple relationships.


Slowly and methodically, each separate relational interviewing practice is rigorously discussed by means of exploring the ecology of the receiving context Stephen receives the couple story into. 


Each Relational Interviewing practice is demonstrated through recent videos he filmed with couples in Canada, Norway and the USA.  

Re-Considering Longstanding Ideas about Narrative Therapy 

Todd May , PhD

Day 1

12 PM –2:15 PM

It is often said in narrative therapy that people are multi-storied/contain many stories; I think this isn't exactly right.  Rather, they contain a rich history from which many different stories can be built. The import of this is that if people contain stories, then therapy remains a project of discovery--discovering the preferred story that is already there to help the person flourish.  Alternatively, if people contain a rich history that forms a wellspring for other stories, then the emergence of other stories is a project of creation rather than simple discovery.


 VSNT resident philosopher will discuss the important difference between discovering stories and the project of creation through a series of philosophical ideas to offer an alternative consideration for how narrative therapists conceive, receive, and respond to stories.

Producing Normativity: Queer, Trans and Racialized Mental Health Workers Experience.     
Harjeet Badwall PhD & David Nylund PhD 

Day 2

8:15 AM – 11 AM

Participants are invited into experiential and theoretical discussions about our mental health practice and Graduate School education situated within race theory (critical race scholarship, post-colonial studies), post-structural feminism, queer and trans theory.


Throughout the workshop questions about the present practice of narrative therapy are raised. Ideas on discourse, power relations, subject-formation, governmentality, intersectionality, normativity and performativity are examined.

Harjeet and Rock invite participants into this experiential practice learning through video tape sessions with clients and supervisees.

Narrative Therapy Informed Relational Interviewing in Couple Relationships (Part 2 of 2)

Stephen Madigan, PhD

Day 2

12 PM – 2:15 PM

Participants continue to explore and learn the many recent practice developments in Relational Relationship Interviewing with Conflicted Couple Relationships. Participants continue to engage Stephen's videos working with conflicted couple relationships filmed in Canada, Norway and the USA.

Narrative Practices with Grief, Loss and Keeping Dead Children Relationally Alive

Helene Grau, MA

Day 3

8:15 AM - 11 AM

The workshop richly outlines Helen's practice and unique understandings of: a) how a relationally informed narrative therapy can become central to saving and restoring the relationship to the child from the physical death; b) the art of re-authoring conversations with the dead; c) how relationships to a dead loved one can transgress the prison of the static past by moving the past into the present and then - help shape the future; and d) intentional identity.


Helene discusses case examples with the use of transcripts and videos from her work with parents who have experienced the death of a child.

Merleau-Ponty:  Narrative Therapy's Missing Theorist?

Todd May, PhD

Day 3

12 PM - 2:15 PM

VSNT resident philosopher Todd May explores the reasons why Michael White's choice to use ideas from Jacques Derrida (and deconstruction) as the basis for the key narrative therapy practice concept known as the Absent but Implicit is - limiting. He then introduces participants to the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty who he feels is the missing philosopher in narrative therapy and - viable alternative to Derrida. Todd's workshop offers an overview of Merleau-Ponty's conception of the body, his place in narrative thinking, and how his ideas can influence concepts like the absent but implicit and non-individualism.

What Makes Hope Possible? 

David Marsten, MSW

Day 4

8:15 AM - 11 AM

What makes hope possible? When we revisit our favourite movies we find the hero at the centre of the action in seemingly impossible circumstances. Rather than minimizing risk, the writer and director usher the protagonist headlong into perilous settings and we, as an audience, eagerly follow.  It is no different in real life.

The dilemmas people face are daunting, setting the stage for rich story development and a question that intrigues—not, What’s to be done?” but rather, "Who might be counted on?” It is a focus on rich characterization rather than solutions that brings problems within reach.

David's new workshop ideas will focus on story development with a particular interest in rich characterization. With the use of recorded sessions, live interviews, narrative letters and discussion participants will gain an understanding of the potential for rich characterization to bring problems well within range.

Narrative Practices Working within Impoverished Communities
Aaron Munro MA

Day 4

12 PM - 2:15 PM

Aaron's experience has led him to many ‘mental health firsts’ in Canada  including: Opening the first trans youth homeless housing project in Canada and, more recently, creating the first homeless trans adult housing project staffed entirely by trans identified people.

The workshop guides participants ‘out on to the streets’ to meet with the vibrant people he works with struggling in relationships with trauma, addiction, violence, poverty, opioid deaths, and mental health stigma. 

Narrative Conversations about Trauma & Violence: Re-establishing Relationships with the Body Rosa Arteaga MA 

Day 5

8:15 AM - 11 AM

Rosa demonstrates how to respond, address, and transform the long lasting impacts of complex trauma, sexualized and gender violence through a narrative, feminist, and justice centred relational approach. More specifically, she takes participants inside the complexities of her unique approach on how she therapeutically collaborates with girls and women survivors through a relational, political and contextual reconnection and interview of the body and mind.

In this advanced workshop Rosa plans to demonstrate her newest practice approach to highlight her creation of - narrative conversations with the body. You will witness her remarkable relational questions with the body, how she creates contracts of dignity and respect with the body, and her relationally reworking reputations of the bodies experience to create new meaning making and practices for living to match the persons values.

Relational Supervision: attending to the ecology of the receiving context narrative therapists receive stories into
Stephen Madigan PhD & David Nylund phD

Day 5

12 PM - 2:15 PM

David & Stephen have created a new narrative informed relational supervisory method that concentrates on the ecology of the therapists receiving context client stories are received into. And then investigating how the therapist responds back to the client story through the ecology of the receiving context - by asking a therapeutic question.

David demonstrates his unique supervision practice of writing letters as a supervisor to the supervisee and client relationship.


And Stephen demonstrates a relational couple therapy supervision with a Norwegian High Conflict Couple Therapy Team and a Live interview with these therapists.

Participants interact and discuss examples of relational supervision and teaching narrative therapy through the use of client video's, live supervision, skills of practice learning, and relational letter writing practices.


"I loved all the information and getting it from such high quality professionals. It was amazing to be able to see them all in action. The live demonstrations were probably my favourite part, as well as all of the discussion."