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 

We assume Advanced Narrative Practice participants are well versed in their understanding of Michael White's beautifully original non-individualist conceptual practice framework. VSNT faculty will advance your understanding of these practices by discussing and demonstrating all the many ways they have built upon, changed, and collectively re-conceptualized their narrative therapy practice and theoretical understandings.


Inspired through their ongoing work together 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), 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: April 9th.

Time: 8:15am - 2:15pm PST

Location: Classes are 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 on Zoom. 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 with highly conflicted couple relationships 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/non-essentialist, post-structural and 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 and then - how he responds. 


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

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: The Missing Philosopher in Narrative Therapy
Todd May , PhD

Day 1

12 PM –2:15 PM

Todd May presents on the philosophical ideas of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty. In Todd’s mind, Merleau-Ponty represents the missing theoretical link in narrative therapy’s philosophical framework as his theorizing of the body allows us to bring together Michel Foucault’s non-individualist view and the lived reality of our corporeal existence. Todd's teachings seek to offer a way into Merleau-Ponty’s often elusive writings on the body.

Narrative practice with trans youth and families.
Aaron Munro MA & David Rock Nylund PhD 

Day 2

8:15 AM – 11 AM

Oh my - this long awaited workshop with two of the worlds best is going to be so good.


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 These experiences  led him to many ‘mental health firsts’ in Canada – including opening and directing the first trans youth homeless housing project in 2017, and in 2021, designed, opened and supervised the first homeless trans adult housing project staffed entirely by trans identified people.


Rock, acting as the longtime Clinical Director/Supervisor of the award winning trans-focused Gender Health Centre in Sacramento California, has seen more trans youth and their families in narrative therapy informed family therapy than anyone else in the world (no kidding!)


Together they guide participants into the intricacies, complexities, narrative skills and knowledges necessary when working with trans youth, their families - and the wide network of supportive and non-supportive relational communities.

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

Day 3

8:15 AM - 11 AM

In this Advanced practice workshop Rosa demonstrates her newest practice approach to highlight her creation of - narrative therapy conversations with the body. Participants witness her remarkable relationally informed questions, 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.


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 with the body.

The Ecology of the Receiving Context Therapists Receive Stories Into:
Introducing a 5-step Relational Framework of Supervision

Stephen Madigan, PhD & David Rock Nylund PhD

Day 3

12 PM - 2:15 PM

Rock and Stephen have spent many years together analyzing, revitalizing and experimenting with different frameworks to improve the experience of supervision for students and therapists. After years of supervision study they created a 5-step narrative therapy informed relational supervision/training plan to share with participants in this skill based experiential workshop.


They begin the discussion analyzing the all important relationship between receiving stories and responding to stories. First they ask the group to outline the complexities, politics, experience, practice and theoretical preferences of what each participant receives a client story into (ecology of their receiving context.) They then work with participants to help them connect this relational symphony of inter-locking beliefs/experience/politic alongside how to coherently represent the receiving context with the response back to the client’s story they received. This of course means we will study and supervise the therapeutic question(s) participant's respond back to the client with.


The therapeutic practice of reviewing the foundations of each therapists’ receiving context and then analyzing how they use the knowledge of their receiving context to coherently respond back to the client with a therapeutic question represents the heart, values, intention and first of 5-steps of the relational supervision framework. The other 4-next-steps will then be demonstrated.

What Makes Hope Possible? 

David Marsten, MSW

Day 4

8:15 AM - 11 AM

David begins by asking Advanced Practice participants a rather simple but utterly complex question: What makes hope possible? As a background, he suggests that when we revisit our favourite movies we find often 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.  David argues how this is no different in real life.

David's advanced narrative practice skills demonstrate how, when certain dilemmas people face appear daunting, they set the stage for rich story development and a question that intrigues—not, What is to be done?” but rather, "Who might be counted on?” His workshop demonstrates a relational practice focus on rich characterization and his original interviewing practice of darkening the landscape, rather than providing solutions of hope to bring problems within reach.

David's new workshop ideas demonstrate his focus on advanced narrative informed relational questioning practices, the theories behind and supporting the questions, and how to more fully enrich story development with a particular interest in rich characterization. With the use of recorded sessions, live interviews, narrative letters and discussion participants 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 workshop brings to life conversations and lived experience of people who are living in Canada's poorest neighbourhood known as - the Downtown Eastside. The workshop is based entirely on Aaron's extraordinary stories as a queer/trans activist, Agency Director, brilliant mental health advocate and innovator. He intends to guide 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.

Why use Neuro in your Narrative Practice?: Possibilities and Practices in the 21 Century
Jeff Zimmerman PhD

Day 5

8:15 AM - 11 AM

For many years, Jeff was Michael Whites closest narrative therapy colleague in North America. He always deeply admired and respected Michael's practice, however, he also felt the non-discursive aspects of experience had not been properly addressed in narrative practice. In 2018, Norton published Jeff's book Neuro-Narrative Therapy: New Possibilities for Emotion-Filled Conversations.


The book and this Advanced Practice workshop is an attempt to redress this issue of the non-discursive aspects of narrative therapy by taking us first through post-structural ideas and Narrative practices and then beginning to show how and where affect and interviewing the body can be brought in and privileged in our narrative work. 


Participants learn and discuss the following questions:
What makes shepherding an evolution of hegemonic 1980s approaches a responsibility of longtime Narrative therapists?
In what ways could attention to Neurobiology enrich/expand Narrative practice work?
What makes attending to affect in stories so critical in today’s technologically dominated life?
How do our bodies “understandings” of safety influence our narratives and our responses?

 Re-Considering Longstanding Ideas about Narrative Therapy 
Todd May PhD

Day 5

12 PM - 2:15 PM

 Before he died, Michael White was working on the thought of Gilles Deleuze.  This workshop presents an overview of Deleuze's thought and its relevance for the framework of narrative practice, showing how Deleuze's view offers a way of conceiving people that is consonant with the narrative therapy project. In particular, Deleuze offers a better way to conceive the distinction between creativity and discovery than Jacques Derrida, whom Michael White used earlier in his career for such central concepts as the absent but implicit.


"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."