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The BIG LIVE Narrative Therapy Conference
Therapeutic Conversations ~ 17

Granville IslandVancouver, BC, CANADA

Image by Jeffrey Eisen

The BIG LIVE Narrative Therapy Conference
Céad Míle Fáilte

Granville Island, Vancouver, BC
October 27-29th, 2023 (70% sold!)

In 1993 VSNT hosted the first ever international narrative therapy conference. Along the way the faculty have hosted 22 international conferences + 100's of narrative training courses + enjoyed 1000's & 1000's of client session hours. 

The October 2023 conference is designed to offer inspired participants the very best narrative therapy thinkers and therapists from across the world - presenting their latest work - LIVE! 

All practice based workshops are skill focused and designed to demonstrate (with videos and unaltered transcripts) the latest developments in narrative therapy theory and practice with children, families, couple relationships, groups, and communities.

Join VSNT each evening for the very best post conference day gatherings.
Connect, have a drink, relax, and meet up with presenters and community.

Sending you a personal heartfelt invitation to join us.

Teaching Faculty: Rosa Arteaga (Mexico/Canada),
Harjeet Badwall (Canada), Jack Chiu Tak Choi (Hong Kong), Keswick
Wing-Hung Chuk (Hong Kong), Christine Dennstedt (Canada), Julia Gerlitz (Canada), Chris Goto-Jones (UK/Canada), Helene Grau (Denmark), Jodi Gray (Canada), Sharon Leung (Hong Kong/ London UK), Stephen Madigan (Canada), David Marsten (USA), Todd May (USA), Virgil Moorehead Jr. (USA), Aaron Munro (Canada), Ottar Ness (Norway), David Nylund (USA), Jennifer Oliphant (USA), Hanne Robenhagen (Denmark), Jack Saul (USA), Sandra Suasnabar (Canada), Rolf Sundet (Norway), Jeff Zimmerman (USA) 

Dates: October 27-29th, 2023

Location: Granville Island: Arts Umbrella - Centre for Youth and the Performing Arts & the Granville Island Hotel

~ Seating is limited - 70% sold

3-Day Conference Pass: $600 CAD

Students and members: $500 CAD


Accommodations: The Granville Island Hotel is pleased to offer special discounted rates for conference participants. For more informationCLICK HERE, or contact the hotel at (604) 683 7373.


**Student ID will need to be shown at registration check-in.

**Due to conference space and size limitations ~ there are no refunds. Thanks.

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Image by Lucija Ros

The Gunnar Martinsen Scholarship

VSNT faculty lost their very close friend and narrative colleague Gunnar Martinsen of Bergen Norway who died on July 1st, 2022. To celebrate and remember his wonderfully full-hearted and passionate spirit, we are happy to offer five scholarships to our October 27-29 conference.

All Scholarship spots are now full. Thank you for your applications. 

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Conference Presenters 

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Rosa Arteaga, MA

Through her narrative therapy informed feminist inspired and just therapy original practice approach Rosa's work takes the learner inside the complexities of gender violence through slides and session transcripts. Her newest creative endeavour demonstrates the practice of interviewing the abused body and entering into relational contracts with the person and body as a way to heal and reconnect this very often severed relationship. Rosa is a VSNT faculty member and the Clinical Director, Supervisor of a multi-disciplinary team with a nonprofit anti-violence women’s organization in Vancouver Canada.

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Harjeet Badwall,

Harjeet works from an interlocking analysis of violence and oppression and situates her practice within critical race theories, anti-colonial studies, and post-structuralism. She is VSNT faculty member and an Associate Professor at York University’s School of Social Work with a research focus on race, racism, and white dominance in social work pedagogy, curriculum and practice. Having studied with Michael White, Narrative Therapy ideas have been central to her therapeutic practices and analysis of social and political concerns.

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Jack Chiu Tak Choi, MA

Jack, Chiu Tak Choi has enjoyed working within the social service field in Hong Kong and has specialized in youth work for over 28 years. He is especially experienced in providing training on youth issues including youth delinquency, young night drifters, social withdrawal, teenage sex and prostitution. Jack holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Hong Kong Baptist University, a Master’s Degree in Counselling from the University of South Australia and a Master’s Degree of Narrative Practice and Community Work from the University of Melbourne.

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Christine Dennstedt,

Christine is a VSNT faculty member who has been deeply engaged in the narrative therapy Vancouver narrative community since completing her Master's degree in 2002.  By 2010 she had completed her PhD, working closely with the TAOS Institutes director Dr. Sheila MacNamee. Christine's narrative therapy informed Doctoral dissertation articulated the interconnection between substance misuse and disordered eating in the lives of young women. Christine demonstrates her latest practice interest in linking together narrative informed practices with a wide variety of new developments in the field of psychedelic medicines and mental health.

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Helene Grau Kristensen, MA

Helene is a co-founder of Praksis: The Centre for Narrative Therapy in Denmark and VSNT faculty member. She was originally supervised and trained for many years by Michael White, presents workshops internationally, and teaches narrative therapy courses at the University of Copanhagen.   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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Sharon Leung, PhD

Sharon teaches, practices and supervises narrative therapy in Chinese/Cantonese and English. She first became an elite student of Michael White's in 2001 and over the two + decades since, Sharon (alongside Dr Angela Tsun) was the narrative therapy teaching and training leader in Hong Kong.  Up until August 2020, she taught Social Work at Hong Kong Baptist University and was the Director of the Centre for Youth Research and Practice (CYRP). At CYRP, she organized and taught the One-year intensive narrative therapy training programme, supervised graduate students, and ran numerous collaborative projects with service users, practitioners and NGOs in Hong Kong. Sharon is a VSNT faculty member and now lives and trains out of London/UK.

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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 in 2011 and 2019 (3rd Edition is out Spring 2024). He wrote the first doctoral dissertation on narrative therapy, is the Director of the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy, content manager for narrative's largest online interactive learning site, and longstanding consultant supervisor to international High Conflict Couple Therapy Teams. Stephen enjoys teaching, consulting, and supervising teams ~ world wide. 

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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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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 seventeen 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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Aaron Munro, MA

Aaron is Queer and Trans and for more than 18 years has worked as an advocate, activist, and Agency director for the rights and dignity of unhoused people in Vancouver. 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 in 2021, he co-designed and opened the first homeless trans adult housing project staffed entirely by trans identified people. He holds a Master’s degree in Narrative Therapy from the University of Melbourne, Australia and is a long time VSNT faculty member. Aaron currently works in private practice and is the owner of Public Alley Counselling and is working with non-profits and government with a new emphasis on understanding how tricky conflict can be. 


Ottar Ness, PhD

Ottar is a Professor of Counseling at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Adjunct Professor at the Masters program of Family Therapy at VID Scientific University in Norway. He is the head of the Research Group on Relational Welfare and Well-being,  his training, research and policy interests focusing on citizenship, public value, and social justice through the use of participatory action research and citizen science methodologies. He also has a special interest in relational recovery processes in mental health and substance use, and how these ideas can create inclusive communities. Narrative and relational ideas have been central to his research practices and analysis of social and political concerns.

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David Nylund, PhD

Rock began practicing narrative therapy in 1990. He is a Professor of Social Work at California State University Sacramento, Clinical Director/Supervisor of the award winning Gender Health Centre, and longtime Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy faculty member. He has written three  books on Narrative Therapy: Narrative Therapies with Children and Adolescents (1997); Treating Huckleberry Finn: A New Narrative Approach to Working with Kids Diagnosed ADD/ADHD (2000); and Therapeutic Conversations with Queer Youth: Transcending Homonormativity and Constructing Preferred Identities (2013along with publishing 55 articles on a wide range of narrative therapy and cultural studies topics. He conducts ongoing narrative therapy workshops and supervision for mental health professionals worldwide.

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Sandra Suasnabar

Sandra is a queer, cisgender, migrant, Latinx, Indigenous woman and is passionate to build and imagine a safer, transparent, and nourishing holding space in the counselling relationship. She specializes in supporting survivors of trauma (intergenerational, gender-based and sexualized), folks navigating identities and life transitions, grief and loss, and historical systemic oppression. She works with children (6 years+), youth, adults, BIPOC community members, and 2SLGBTQAI. Sandra has acquired diverse and extensive western trainings and work experience, and her practice is rooted in lived experience, the experience of her ancestors/ communities, and the communities front-line workers and counsellors she has been supervising and supporting.

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Rolf Sundet, PhD

Rolf Sundet is a specialist in clinical psychology, professor emeritus at the University College of South-Eastern Norway and, all round provocateur for the good of the people. He is also a freelance supervisor and has published extensively in both international and Scandinavian books and journals. Three of his special interests involve the critique of New Public Managements involvement in mental health services; creative perspectives on returning to the real as a necessary focus in therapeutic practices and conceptualizations; and viewing psychotherapy as a process of making.

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Jeff Zimmerman, PhD

Jeff Zimmerman is a long time VSNT faculty member and at the top of the list of veteran narrative therapist/ teachers world wide. Jeff first began his apprenticeship with Michael White in 1988 where he became Michael’s closest friend in North America. Jeff has over 15,000 + hours of in session narrative therapy experience, and is the co-author of a tremendously astute and helpful book entitled ‘If Problems Talked’ ~ a wonderful primer of old school narrative therapy! His latest book ‘Neuro-Narrative Therapy – new possibilities for emotion-filled conversations’ is considered a must read book that was written well ahead of its time


Julia Gerlitz, MA

Julia has been practicing narrative therapy since 2011 and is connected to both the Vancouver and San Diego narrative communities, through VSNT and NISD. She has worked for many years in Mental Health and Substance Use and has more recently continued her narrative work in private practice. Her love for narrative therapy began with therapeutic letter writing and she continues to be enlivened by this craft in her narrative practice today. She has written several articles on innovative uses of letter writing that have been published in The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.

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Jodi Gray

Jodi is a white trans woman who lives in Vancouver on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. She is currently the Program Manager for Aoki Ross House, the first housing project in Canada for and envisioned for trans by and trans, gender diverse and two spirit people. She has been in this position since the project opened. She is passionate about using her experiences to help others, especially the trans community and this is what drew her to the ideas of Narrative Therapy. In her free-time, Jodi volunteers with various organizations. If she is not working or volunteering, she can probably be found cuddling with her two cats at home.  

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Chris GoTo-Jones

Chris Goto-Jones is a  Professor of Philosophy at the University of Victoria, a Professorial Research Fellow at SOAS, University of London, and an Honorary Professor in Asian Studies at UBC.  He was previously chair Professor of Comparative Philosophy & Political Thought, and chair Professor of Modern Japan Studies at Leiden University (The Netherlands). His current work includes Buddhist philosophy, existentialism, and philosophical practice. Outside the university, he is a therapist in private practice, working in contemplative, existential, and narrative informed modalities.

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Virgil Moorehead, PhD

Dr. Virgil Moorehead Jr, is the Executive Director at Two Feathers Native American Family Services in McKinleyville, CA.  An enrolled member of the Big Lagoon Rancheria (Yurok/Tolowa), Virgil is the first person in his tribe to attain a graduate degree. Virgil received his Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA in 2015. He received the Richard Allen Smith award for his dissertation on Digital Storytelling with Native American Youth and Families in Oakland, CA.  He completed his doctoral internship at the University Michigan, Ann Arbor and Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Stanford University. While serving as a Staff Psychologist at Stanford University, he received the 19th Annual Anne Medicine Mentorship award for his work with Stanford Native undergraduate and graduate students. 


Hanne Robenhagen, MA

Hanne Robenhagen holds an MSc in Cultural Sociology and a Masters in Narrative Therapy (2015)  the Dulwich Center and the University of Melbourne. Her work involving Tree of Life narrative practices has allowed her to work around the globe ~ from the Faroe Islands, Poland, Fiji, Costa Rica, and Russia to Belarus. She has also played a central role in organizing large projects involving Trauma and Children in Residential Care, for SOS-Children's villages for over 3 years funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Hanne has been a leader of Child Protection in the Faroe Islands on 2 remote Islands since 2017.  

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Jennifer Oliphant, MSW

Jennifer Oliphant is the Clinical Director at Two Feathers Native American Family Services in Northern California. Under Jennifer’s leadership, the clinical program strives to decolonize mental health services by using a narrative therapy informed, post-structural and social justice focused framework. Jennifer first began attending VSNT’s annual Narrative Conferences in 2014 and has since brought her growing team to attend and immerse in the narrative approach. Her team utilizes a narrative informed approach in the complex setting of rural community based Mental Health. This work has led to the Two Feathers clinical program becoming a model Indigenous youth mental health program in the state of California.

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Keswick Wing-Hung Chuk 

Chuk Wing Hung Keswick is a senior social worker who has practiced, shared and supervised narrative practice projects over many years. Since 2011, Keswick initiated a narrative practice project in Hong Kong Correctional Service Department (CSD) with significant results. CSD has adopted narrative practice to design their intervention programs, especially for those who have high risk of reoffending. The experience was published in the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Dulwich Centre. Apart from offender service, Keswick also works with youth at risk especially "under-connected" youth.

BIG Conference Daily Schedule 

Daily Schedule: October 27-29, 2023 

(Registration 7:15am - 8:00am)


8:15am - 9:00am 

** 8:am start on Opening Day**



9:15am – 11:45am

~ Lunch 11:45am – 1:15pm 


1:15pm – 4:15pm

DAY ONE ~ October 27th

KEYNOTE ADDRESS. Helene Grau Kristensen (Denmark)

8:00am - 9:00am 


Relationships do not have to die. In our society, the people who we love and are close to become marginalized the moment they die. Our culture’s dominant ideas about death, relationship, and grief reduces them to be only memories in the past. The relationship is brought to an end as relationships in our Western society can only exist between two living bodies and the grieving person is expected to say goodbye and accept this new reality. Helene plans to introduced you to a relationally focused Narrative Therapy approach to grief, and demonstrates how relationships can thrive and continue, despite death.



9:15am – 11:45am

Workshop A) Narrative Therapy and Neurobiology: Some “good to know” ideas about emotions. The workshop will focus on how emotions are transacted in our bodies and in our relationships, how they mediate trauma and safety, and their relevance to our current cultural context. For the last 15 years, Jeff has been speaking out about the helpful ways a post-structurally informed narrative therapy and neurobiology might relationally engage and even fit together. In a playful way, he demonstrates how current understandings about the brain and the distributed nervous system in the body might dramatically enrich and evolve our narrative therapy practice.

Jeff Zimmerman (USA)


Workshop B)  Hikikomori: A Unique Narrative Project. In capitalist Hong Kong where people's worth is based on competition, greed, and selfishness (and of course other dominant discourses related to academic achievement and job advancement), 'hikikomori' is a 'proclamation of response' (Michael White) from young people who want to maintain a close relationship with their values, commitments, and purposes of life. Our narrative project found this group of young people often retreated to their bedrooms and were no longer willing to make social interactions with humans but, were able to form strong bonding in the past and current relationships with their pets/animals. This narrative project was carried out collaboratively with other communities, NGOs, animal intervention agencies, and animal shelters. Jack Chiu Tak Choi (Hong Kong) & Keswick Chuk Wing Hung (Hong Kong), Sharon Leung (Hong Kong/London UK)


Workshop C) Street Talk – Reflections on Resistance to Single Storied Identities. Aaron has recently wrapped up two incredible decades as an activist and agency director working with people without housing/insecure housing on the streets of Canada's poorest postal code - Vancouver's Downtown East Side. Throughout his journey, he met hundreds of people who, often from a young age, were put in the position of resisting violent descriptions/ideas about who 'they' are. He shares the stories of people who despite constant exposure to deficit and singular identity conclusions, adamantly refused to be dismissed and ignored. Aaron invites you into the communities he met. Aaron Munro (Canada)

Workshop D) Narrative therapy informed relational interviewing (NIRI) with conflicted couple relationships. Stephen highlights all the new narrative informed relational interviewing couple therapy practices and demonstrates them through video sessions working with conflicted couple relationships filmed in America, Canada, and Norway. Todd simultaneously links the NIRI practice to philosophical ideas that are dramatically changing narrative therapy including discussions on: non-individualism, memory, values/valuing, discovery vs creativity, care/caring, and the concept of narratability. Could be fun.

Stephen Madigan (Canada) & Todd May​ (USA)


~ Lunch 11:45am – 1:15pm 


1:15pm – 4:15pm

Workshop A) Rich Stories of Strength, Resistance, and Transformation: Engaging persons in a healing process through collaborating with their body.  Rosa shares her up close interviewing experiences with women through transcripts, and demonstrates her latest practice of relationally interviewing the body as a means of creating contracts of compassion and reconnection. The workshop highlights her twenty-five years of experience and thousands of practice hours engaging individually and collectively with girls and women who have experienced gender-based violence and trauma. Rosa's framework reaches far beyond a trauma informed approach and towards a narrative informed, feminist, decolonizing practice. Rosa Elena Arteaga (Mexico/Canada) 

Workshop B) A Philosophical Framework for Thinking About Narrative Therapy Practice. Michael White often claimed that "without a solid understating of philosopher Michel Foucault's theoretical framework, a therapist’s narrative therapy practice will be severely limited." VSNT faculty and resident philosopher Todd May guides participants into the political and ideological complexities of Foucault’s ideas and offers participants the all-important coherent link between post-structural theory and a non-individualist practice of narrative therapy. Todd May (USA)

Workshop C) Working with children and families: Narrative therapy as high drama. The workshop outlines the necessity for therapists to help co-create a richly drawn character to drive the plot forward. David demonstrates these ideas through discussion, slides, and video tape sessions of his beautifully crafted and complex understandings of narrative therapy with children and families. He argues that as therapists we must not be hasty and view the context people find themselves in or the problems they face as eminently recognizable (e.g., deficiency, disorder) and thereby risk missing out on the mystery and suspense that every good story needs.

David Marsten (USA)

Workshop D) Making Bathrooms Safer (for everyone!). Throughout North America, Trans people are increasingly seen as a threat to long held ideas of gender. Jodi and Aaron will speak from their individual locations (fem & masc) regarding how they have resisted pejorative gender notions for themselves and notions found within trans frameworks. They discuss their experience working with Trans people on the frontlines of this struggle, who demonstrate what bravery really looks like fighting these hurtful constructs. Jodi and Aaron demonstrate how the work of marginalized people makes the world safer for everyone. Jodi Gray (Canada), and Aaron Munro (Canada)
















DAY TWO ~ October 28th


8:15am - 9:00am 

Neoliberalism and the Climate Crisis. Todd discusses three intersecting moral aspects of the climate crisis ~ 1) that of rich and poor, where the rich are the major emitters and the major beneficiaries; 2) the intergenerational crisis, where each generation has the most to gain through emitting greenhouse gasses and passing on the problem to the next one; 3) that the dominant theoretical framework for discussing the crisis is cost/benefit analysis. Todd describes these storms and their neoliberal context as a significant aspect of the current background conditions confronting therapists.  



9:15am – 11:45am


Workshop A) Recognizing problems as insurmountable. As practitioners we can find ourselves operating from a stance of hope and possibility. What do we do then when problems are intractable? This is often the case with chronic pain, illness, and other problems and problem contexts including the enduring and ongoing strategies/impact of social injustice. What might we hope for then? This workshop will focus on the negative and its potential. With an interest in darkening the landscape this workshop will demonstrate what can sustain us when facing the impossible.

David Marsten (USA)

Workshop B) The Return: A Journey Home to the Quipus -  Expressive Arts Therapy, Indigenous Worldviews, Methodologies and Resilience. Sandra shares how she has been weaving creative therapies and Indigenous methodologies to facilitate a sustainable space towards healing and justice. The investigation highlights the importance of self-exploration as change agents/ therapists while noticing the impacts of our work and how to access our own reservoirs of nourishment. This offering is interactive, where participants gather in a circle and engage in the presentation while elaborating their own creative offering to take away. Sandra Suasnabar (Canada).

Workshop C) The Practice of Therapeutic Letter Writing in Narrative Therapy: Rock is considered one of narrative therapy's world class therapeutic letter writers. After an overview of the historical roots and writing frameworks, various examples of letters are highlighted. Rock will then conduct a live 35-minute counter-story interview with a volunteer interviewee. Participants are then invited into a live practice experience of crafting their own therapeutic letter to the interviewee in response to the narrative therapy conversation they have just witnessed. David “Rock” Nylund (USA) 

Workshop D) Thinking With Deleuze: How to move on in the age of evidenced based practice  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 workshop  investigates the thinking of philosopher Gilles Deleuze and the primacy of difference in itself can help us manoeuvre in this ideological landscape. 

Rolf Sundet (Norway)

~ Lunch 11:45am – 1:15pm 


1:15pm – 4:15pm

Workshop A) Relational remembering responses to “complicated grief": A narrative therapy approach. The workshop offers very different understandings and practice approaches to grief. Helene's plan is to guide you through the intimate experience of her session transcripts where you will witness significant “relationships” being created between grieving grown up children and their dead parent. She demonstrates how these children assist their parents not only by continuing their relationship, but by helping develop significant relationships between their parent and their future grandchildren.  

Helene Grau Kristensen (Denmark)

Workshop B) Plotting a Course for Connection with Indigenous Youth and Families by Decolonizing Mental Health Services.

Dr. Virgil Moorhead Jr. and Jennifer Oliphant discuss the use of a narrative therapy informedpost-structural, and social justice ideas to resist the influence of systemic oppression acting on mental health and wellness outcomes for indigenous youth. Participants learn how they work to decolonize the services their agency provides and explore how staff culture is the first line of defence against the colonizing strategies of mental health culture. Jennifer and Virgil continually strive to transform the field of mental health services for indigenous communities through innovative and Indigenous practices by creating an agency culture of sustainability and connection, promoting the traditions and inherited knowledge of their clients and the unique collaboration between their agency and the communities they serve.​

Virgil Moorehead Jr. & Jenifer Oliphant (USA)

Workshop C) 

Queer Informed Narrative Therapy with Trans Youth and Families.  Transgender and gender expansive youth face enormous challenges and risks such as: school bullying, lack of access to timely health care, mental health difficulties, homelessness, and physical violence. The workshop both illustrates and demonstrates Rock's newly created 5-step therapeutic approach with families (and the communities they live in), to bring forth parental/caregiver affirmation and community support of trans youth. 

David “Rock” Nylund (USA)  

Workshop D) The Moral Injuries of War (full description coming.)

Jack is the founding director of The International Trauma Studies Program, a research and training institute based in NYC. As a psychologist, narrative therapist, and artist, he has created numerous psychosocial programs for populations that have endured disaster, war, torture, and political violence. He is known for his innovative work integrating testimony, healing, media, and the expressive arts. 

Jack Saul (USA)

DAY THREE ~ October 29th



Harjeet Badwall (Canada) & David Rock Nylund (USA)

8:15am - 9:00am 


Race, Power Relations, Anti-essentialism and Identity. Harjeet begins the keynote with her research on race, racism, and social work practice. She examines the ways in which whiteness permeates the social work profession and therapy, through colonial continuities, white supremacy, and neoliberal individualism. Harjeet will present the concept of interlocking oppressions and utilize the work of critical race scholars to examine how Narrative practices may support anti-colonial and anti-racist conversations in our therapeutic work. Rock will then highlight cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, post-colonial theorist, Gayatri Spivak, and feminist scholar Ana Louise Keating’s and their ideas on identity, difference, and social justice--and how their ideas provide a framework for therapists from the dominant culture to act as a co-conspirator in relationship to whiteness, hetero/cisnormativity, and other forms of interlocking oppressions.

8:15am - 9:00am 



9:15am – 11:45am

Workshop A) Rituals, Rites of Passage, and Transcendence: Narrative approaches and the therapeutic use of psychedelics. The workshops highlights Christine's new work with psychedelics and narrative therapy. She demonstrates how the two practice frameworks work together as a way to thicken preferred stories in a person's life. As a theoretical backdrop Christine outline's her use of anthropologist Victor Turner's ideas on ritual process, including 1) Separation, 2) Liminal space, and 3) A re-incorporation phase. She will also include the work of ethnographer Van Gennep's 'rites of passage metaphor' to explain the practice work. This innovative workshop plans to discuss the importance of set and setting, walk participants through the process of preparation, medicine work, and integration (using the above ideas), and shows the use of a narrative therapy framework and questions used in each of the three phases of the work. Christine Dennstedt (Canada)


Workshop B) Couple Therapy: Relational Letter Writing to the Couple's Relationship. The workshop demonstrates the practice of narrative therapy informed relational interviewing (NIRI) writing relational letters directly to the couple's relationship and the couples performance of these letters, written from the relationships perspective, in therapy. Stephen co-presents with a local queer couple he worked with in couple therapy and together they outline the intimate experience of this unique relational letter writing practice and the response their relationship had, back to them. They will then be interviewed by Helene on what the experience 'made possible' between therapist, couple, and the relationship.

Helene Grau Kristensen (Denmark), Guest couple (Canada), & Stephen Madigan (Canada)


Workshop C) Writing a Letter to an Island: narrating the relationship between a (Buddhist) human and an other-than-human friend.

Therapeutic letters matter, and they need not only be addressed to humans.  A client on Vancouver Island feels inexplicable grief at the loss of a tree in her garden, and centuries earlier a Buddhist monk writes a letter to an island he loves. This beautifully innovative workshop guides participants into discussions on wether we can make use of letters to support relationships with the other-than-human or the more-than-human? Chris Goto-Jones (Canada/UK)

Workshop D) Discussions on Difference and Identity. Philosopher Gilles Deleuze suggests nothing has a stable identity and it is difference that precedes identity. Rolf and Todd discuss these astounding philosophical ideas and what they might mean to the practice of narrative therapy, going forward. 

Todd May (USA) & Rolf Sundet (Norway)

~ Lunch 11:45am – 1:15pm 


1:15pm – 4:15pm

Workshop A) Beyond Clinical Supervision: Narrative conversations with pain and suffering while inviting hope, strength, and transformation. Rosa shares her many years of experience and just narrative therapy approach supporting social services providers, counsellors, and other professionals who work in the social service field. She and her invited guests then discuss their experiences of supervision and support in their work as active witnesses and participants in the lives of people experiencing tremendous pain and suffering. Rosa Arteaga (Canada/Mexico), Sandra Suasnabar (Canada).

Workshop B) Identity and Meaningful Lives: Using tree of life narrative practices working with young people and identity. 

The workshop illustrates the intensive 60 hour workshop with ”ordinary” young people, who struggle to find meaningful futures and shaping a stronger understanding of themselves and their purposes of life, and shaping friendships. Get ready for a workshop full of energy and illustrative stories of young peoples lives and narrative practice with vitality, where you will be inspired with new narrative ideas, that have been tested in practise with many hundreds of young people.

Hanne Robenhagen (Denmark)

Workshop C) Collective narrative practice with families who have children struggling with drug use issues: In Hong Kong parents are usually blamed, seriously marginalized for their children's problems, and viewed as failures in society. Sharon outlines her narrative therapy informed interviews with volunteer parents in an audience of their peers who then developed a collective document about their knowledge, skills, and values on dealing with drug addiction and their children. The document they created has since been used to help enlighten/contribute to other parents, drug counsellors, and drug users throughout Hong Kong. Sharon Leung (Hong Kong/London UK)

Workshop D) Innovative Uses of Therapeutic Letters: Inviting Clients, Groups, and Supervisors to write letters too!

In this workshop you will learn how Julia and Rock have explored the practice of therapeutic letter writing in novel and innovative ways, including inviting clients to write letters to clients, using co-created narrative documents in place of group therapy, and the use of letters in supervision. Their aim is to inspire participants to try new ways of using letters in narrative practice by sharing examples of these letters, walking you through a step-by-step outline of the process, and highlighting narrative principles/theory underpinning these innovations.  Julia Gerlitz (Canada) & Rock Nylund (USA)

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