top of page
  • Writer's pictureVancouver School For Narrative Therapy VSNT

Almost Spring Madigan Narrative Newsletter

Image by Redd F. on unsplash

Hello Everyone.

Happy Springtime to those of you living in the northern hemisphere.

And Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all living on both sides of the equator.

Growing up my Irish immigrant father possessed building knowledge and skills for absolutely

everything and anything. From the age of 11 onwards, he regularly took me to work and paid

me the going union rate (what else would a passionate Union man do?). I believe his desire was to teach up his wide-ranging crafts and pass them onto me.

Although my father never ever weighed in on what he thought I should one day become as an adult worker, I do know he viewed my foray into early university consisted of a few fun filled ‘gap years’ where I would eventually return and learn a trade.

When I bought my house last spring on Bowen Island (20-minute car ferry from Vancouver), I

dedicated all my time, finances, and wonderment to renovating the interior. Tearing down

walls, ripping up carpets, laying down floors, painting top to bottom, hauling junk to recycling

depots, and replacing light fixtures, toilets, and counter tops.

What became evident during the reno was how little I’d remembered of my Father’s teachings.This forgetting to remember saddened me immensely and since he was no longer breathing, Icouldn’t ring him up for a Renovating for Dummies 101 refresher course (which he would havethoroughly enjoyed).

However, through the process of re-membering what I was failing to remember, an awakening of his beautiful presence was reactivated. Tender thought worthy and laugh out loud stories rushed in. Creating appreciative re-engagements and relational openings of our past being newly recreated, acknowledged, honoured, and embodied - in a living present.

One of the many gifts this house among the ancient cedars, Douglas-fir, and ocean views offers, is a re-awakening to actively living alongside the values and commitments of my dead parents who each day, feel very alive within these walls.

As my good friend and Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy resident philosopher Todd May reminds us – memory is not a photograph. Memories are not simply waiting there for us to discover and/or recover, as they always were.

Instead, what we have are rich histories to work with that through the course of time and

context will never and can never be the same. Memories provide us with countless creative

possibilities, new directions and lean us up towards tellings of preferred values, what we stand for, and care most about.

For those of you who are interested, Todd and I are creating a new narrative therapy course aspart of VSNT’s Advanced 5-day Level 3 Foundations training beginning in late March. We’ll be discussing fascinating theoretical topics new to narrative therapy and, what these new theories might look like in our practice of narrative therapy. Seriously tasty learning treats.

Therapeutic Conversations 22 Conference

November 7th - 9th, 2024

Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada


There has been much debate among the faithful as to what ‘number’ this upcoming VSNT

Therapeutic Conversations conference is? We settled on 22 – as in the 22nd TC conference.

We have also settled on hosting the conference at the Arts Umbrella Performing Arts Centre and the Granville Island Hotel conference rooms – on Granville Island – in Vancouver.

A Live Practice Learning Event

What wasn’t up for conference debate was unanimous feedback from a ton of participants and presenters that TC22 be the teaching platform for more Live practice workshops. Done.

One response to Live Workshops from our October 2023 conference:

Hi Stephen, for me personally, the most outstanding session of the whole Conference was your

workshop with (the client/couple) J and S. I loved the transparency that you enacted in such a

respectful manner, with both of them and their relationship being present to have a live voice.

Your multiple and collective vulnerabilities made it an unusually intimate experience for all of us

to witness and participate in. Many, many thanks to all of you and to your generative

relationships for that!

~Affectionately yours, Karl (Tomm)

Live demonstrations of a therapists practice are unique and become exceedingly rare beasts (if not extinct!) in modern day mental health conferences.

Demonstrations of Live practice therapy sessions provide deeply rich and long-lasting learning experiences. So – more live practice workshops is at the centre of our November 7-9th, 2024 conference plan.

All TC22 presenters (not offering theoretical/research workshops) are asked to focus on skills of practice presentations that involve live practice interview demonstrations (whenever possible). Alternatively, presenters choosing to demonstrate their practice work through videos and transcripts must bring along a supervisor to interrogate the purpose, direction, questions, and politic of their work in front of the live participant audience.

Public Call for Workshop Proposals*

VSNT call for workshop proposals on – theory, practice, supervision, and research. Due April 7th, 2024. So please get on these now!

*We encourage therapist dreamers, POC, veterans, researchers, theory makers, our next

generation and first nation presentations.

Questions: Please write to Sasha at

APA 3rd Edition (Narrative Therapy – theory and practice)

An American Psychological Association 3rd Edition publication of my book is almost complete. It’s getting down to the wire. Almost done.

A next edition for academic publication requires the edition add 25% new material. My next

edition exceeds 50% new material from the 2019 2nd edition publication. Yup. Arrives at bookstores and Amazon July 2024.

Fortunately, the American Psychological Association is putting a lot of oomph and oom-pa-pa

advertising and support behind the 3rd Edition. Absolutely fabulous news of support for our

ever growing international narrative therapy community.

If readers remember, the 2012 first Edition publication was part of Psychotherapy series

highlighting what APA considered the 11 most ‘influential’ practices of therapy.

The series found a large readership, became quite successful, and APA added another 10

practices, bringing the total number of different books to 21.

Based entirely on sales, of the 21 books in the series, I believe seven were invited to write a 2nd Edition. And, of the 21 only two have been invited into a 3rd Edition and Narrative Therapy is one of them.

*One last curious note, the book Narrative Therapy has engaged more sales than all the other books in the series, combined.

Insider Views

The 3rd Edition of Narrative Therapy (theory and practice) is guided by a fairly wide selection of reader feedback from senior and everyday practicing therapists, Graduate School Professors/students, and participants who trained and supervised with me in workshops across 5 continents.

Through a rich process of engaging (and enjoying!) this wide cultural grouping of students and therapists with questions regarding what they found most helpful and presently most desired from the 3rd Edition (after reading/using the previous two narrative book Editions) I decided to:

a) Provide more richly described close-up examinations/experiences of what it is like being

relationally engaged and interviewing clients inside the narrative therapy room

b) Include a series of short therapy session transcripts that explain and highlight the ecology

and context of narrative therapy’s unique non- individualist contextualizing questioning style

and use of therapeutic letters – throughout

c) Include hundreds more examples of narrative therapy informed therapeutic questions

throughout the book (readers appear to love reading about narrative questions the most!)

d) Include the latest (and most relevant) theory, research, and practice developments in

narrative therapy (I chose to focus and write up what I consider the 10 most relevant new

practice developments – since 2019)

e) Reflect back and describe what has most dramatically changed in the landscapes of learning within the theory and practice of narrative therapy since the books first publication in 2012

f) Write on where I feel the future of Narrative therapy is heading towards.

OK – I am currently writing another narrative newsletter that should be out rather shortly.

Have to run along.

Thanks so much.

Happy Springtime for those of you in the northern hemisphere.

Please contact me directly at:

Stephen x

PS: I have been speaking with some very close colleagues of VSNT in Norway and we are in the beginning stages of hosting the 4th Nordic Narrative Therapy Conference in Oslo in the Spring of 2025. More news upcoming.


53 views0 comments


bottom of page