** Michael White gave Stephen Madigan this particular unfinished document sometime between 1991-1992. The ‘handout’ below highlights his practice use and understanding of Unique Outcomes through family therapy session examples. Stephen is still unclear if Michael ever published or made this document/handout public. ** Note – this handout out takes 5 seconds to load.

The purpose of this Developing Questions Live session is to continue VSNT faculty Helene Grau & David Rock Nylund’s demonstration of a method of VSNT supervision with selected pieces/questions reviewing part two of Stephen Madigan’s 12 minute couple therapy consultation and unaltered transcript. The membership will also supervise by asking questions about the Relational Interviewing questions Stephen asks the couples relationship.

The 6th discussion in the Theoretical series begins with the recent death and response to George Floyd and systemic racism through a reading of Todd May’s recent New York Times Opinion piece. We discuss the article as a link to philosopher and historian Michel Foucault’s influential work on prisons, where he pointed out the following: We say that the prisons fail at their task, yet we keep them going. Perhaps we should be asking not why the prison fails but instead what it actually succeeds at. The series continues to highlight the influence Michel Foucault’s ideas had on the narrative therapy practice of Michael White.

This is a (very) brief glossary of Narrative Therapy terms. See it and use it as perhaps you would a street map or French/English dictionary (: VSNT.live will be adding to the glossary guide as we glide along with the membership. Thanks.

Read:  https://vsnt.live/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/GLOSSARY-OF-NARRATIVE-TERMS-Stephen-Madigan.pdf

 

 

The article was added so that Graduate Students might gain a clearer picture of the values and practice ethics Michel White stood for – and how it is the therapist who created Narrative Therapy – views narrative therapy. Enjoy.

Developing Questions #13 takes you into the couple therapy session that dramatically changed the way Stephen Madigan practiced and opened the door for the development of narrative therapy informed Relational Interviewing (he will explain why). After watching the first 16 minutes of the session together, VSNT faculty Helene Grau, David Rock Nylund’s and the membership begin the supervision of the unaltered transcript and discuss the ‘receiving context’ that shape Stephen’s questions.

We ask the membership to watch the video before Friday morning July 24th and consider 3 simple questions:

  1. What interview question grabbed your curiosity the most?
  2. Why do you think Stephen asked this question?
  3. Would you have asked the question differently?

Developing Questions #14 takes you into the couple therapy session that dramatically changed the way Stephen Madigan practiced and opened the door for the development of narrative therapy informed Relational Interviewing (he will explain why). After watching the second 12 minutes of the session together, VSNT faculty Helene Grau, David Rock Nylund’s and the membership begin the supervision of the unaltered transcript and discuss the ‘receiving context’ that shape Stephen’s questions.

We ask the membership to watch the video before Friday morning July 31st and consider 3 simple questions:

  1. What interview question grabbed your curiosity the most?
  2. Why do you think Stephen asked this question?
  3. Would you have asked the question differently?

On Friday November 6th: Interview with Harjeet Badwall.

An excerpt for Harjeet’s paper we will be discussing:

Theoretically, my research was anchored in race theory (critical race scholarship, post-colonial studies), post-structural feminism, and critical race scholars who utilize Foucauldian concepts of discourse, power, subject-formation, and governmentality.

These theoretical entry points enabled me to examine the racial foundations upon which social work as a profession is produced (Jeffery, 2002), in addition to exploring the experiences of social workers of colour as they negotiate both a racist profession and racist environments.

My central aim was to trace the ongoing mechanisms of whiteness in social work in order to reveal the ways in which racialized bodies are regulated through discourses that re-centre whiteness within the profession. Through the use of race scholarship I examined how racism is integral to modernity and the liberal project, the formation of the state, and white dominance in social work (Goldberg, 1993, Hesse, 2004; Jeffery, 2002).

Theoretically, Harjeet’s research was anchored in race theory (critical race scholarship, post-colonial studies), post-structural feminism, and critical race scholars who utilize Foucauldian concepts of discourse, power, subject-formation, and governmentality.

Harjeet writes:  central aim was to trace the ongoing mechanisms of whiteness in social work in order to reveal the ways in which racialized bodies are regulated through discourses that re-centre whiteness within the profession. Through the use of race scholarship I examined how racism is integral to modernity and the liberal project, the formation of the state, and white dominance in social work.

https://vsnt.live/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Harjeets-paper.pdf

The handout guides the Graduate Student through a series of categories and questions that may be important to consider and question on the subject of Unique Outcomes. And –  the question of what exactly the ecology of your relational receiving context is made up of that determines your understanding of unique outcome questions? And then – reflexively questioning if the unique outcome questions you ask accurately reflects, where you stand therapeutically, politically and ideologically in the practice of narrative therapy?

Norwegian therapist Anja Bjoroy was invited by VSNT faculty Stephen Madigan & David Nylund to write a stripped down, concise and easy to read introductory paper for Graduate Students  on narrative therapy theory and practice.

Stephen’s chapter entitled Destabilizing Chronic Identities of Depression and Retirement was written at the invitation of Professor Ian Parker (a post-structural theorist and critic of individualism Stephen and VSNT hold in great esteem) as a contribution to his book Deconstructing Psychotherapy.

Unique Outcomes 1992 Handout Michael White

Michael White’s paper on Addressing Personal Failure is one of his writings affecting the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy’s values and ways of reflecting on accountable practice. Considered in the top 5 articles Michael wrote. Read slowly and then read it again. In the picture he s standing with Stephen’s twin daughters Hannah and Tessa during a narrative conference in Oaxaca Mexico.

Reading:  Addressing personal failure Michael White

We all have our favourites – however in many ways and for many reasons – the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy considers this article by Michael White one of the most important narrative therapy articles ever written. Enjoy . . .

Graduate Student’s ask what is a good way to learn narrative therapy practice and theory.  The quick answer is – working in the area of dis-ordered eating. What Elliot Goldner and Stephen Madigan  had hoped to do in this chapter was not a catch-all theory, but rather putting forth sets of anti-individualist ideas and approaches that appear to be helpful to most of the people they had worked with who were struggling against anorexia and bulimia. Stephen’s  very good friend Elliot Goldner died suddenly and young in 2017. Elliot was the head psychiatrist in charge of Eating Disorders for the Province of British Columbia Canada. His therapeutic and political position was incredibly ‘pro-narrative therapy’ and without him using his power and position to pave the way much of what Stephen and the women of the the Anti-anorexia League were able to do – would not have been possible. We do miss Elliot Goldner a lot.

VSNT faculty member David Nylund suggests that most cultural diversity classes in social work are taught from a liberal or conservative multicultural perspective that precludes a power analysis and a critical discussion of whiteness. In order to undo this status quo, social educators and practitioners need to incorporate critical multiculturalism as a tool in subverting racism.

Reading:  Externalizing problems. Karl Tomm, 1989

Legendary Canadian psychiatrist Karl Tomm first discovered Michael White and brought his work to North America – a full four years before Michael’s practice was called Narrative Therapy. Karl’s beginning reflections and explanations on the practice of externalizing problems pulls back the curtain on this history.

Dr. Tomm is Professor of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary. He is also the Director of the Calgary Family Therapy Centre which he started in 1973.  Karl is deeply interested in the application of systems theory, narrative theory, social constructionism and second order cybernetics to therapy. He has developed a way of working with families that he has named bringforthism.  Currently he is focused on clarifying the effects of social injustice on families, the influence on therapists of the distinctions they make regarding their clients, and on explicating the possible therapeutic and counter therapeutic effects of the interviewing process itself.

Despair both embodies and engenders resistance while it affirms the insatiable desire for freedom and dignity. What a person despairs against points to what she hopes for. Sociopolitical violence committed in the context of totalitarianism cannot be equated with personalized violence such as sexualized assault and abuse, wife-assault, physical assault, verbal abuse or workplace harassment: The structural differences between the two cases are simply too pronounced  – one essential similarity, however, is that both types of violence rely on misrepresentation. In personalized violence misrepresentation has less to do with newspeak, an orchestrated campaign of propaganda complete with its own neologisms, prohibited terminology and odd grammar, than it does with oldspeak, the habitual use of obsolete terms, vague grammar and stale metaphors that (a) conceal violence, (b) mitigate perpetrators’ responsibility, (c) conceal victims’ responses and resistance and (d) blame or pathologize victims (Coates & Wade, 2004; Todd & Wade, 2003).

Canadian psychologist Jeff Sugarman presents us with three examples that reveal the ways in which psychologists are implicated in the neoliberal agenda: psychologists’ conception and treatment of social anxiety disorder, positive psychology, and educational psychology. It is hoped that presenting and discussing these cases broadens the context of consideration in which psychological ethics might be examined and more richly informed.

Neoliberalism-and-Psychological-Ethics-Final

VSNT first invited family therapist Dr. Makungu Akinyela to present his work on decolonizing practices of therapy back in 1996. Since that time he has guided, shaped and challenged a generation of narrative and family therapists.

Alan Jenkins first presented his work on the relationship of alcohol to mens’s violence at Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy in the late 1990’s. He has also presented and keynoted at numerous Therapeutic Conversations conferences (see his work throughout the site) for the over 2 decades.

Narrative therapist David Nylund & Julie Tilsen propose that modern gay rights engages in ‘homonormativity’ which seeks to limit the options for queer people, by having them replicate aspects of mainstream, neoliberal, heterosexual lifestyles. Instead of this approach, the authors propose a ‘queer utopia’ based on ideas of sexual freedom and honouring diversity.

Reading:  Resisting Normativity: Nylund & Tilsen, 2010

Poststructuralism slides (David Nylund, 2013)

In the mid-1990’s Stephen Madigan was able to stretch and build beyond David Epston’s initial League idea. Together with a group of women (and their communities of concern) who were suffering/rediscovering their lives back from anorexia and bulimia – we formed the Vancouver Anti-anorexia/bulimia League. There were many novel difference from the ideas first conception: The Vancouver Anti-anorexia/bulimia League met with each other as a group, in person for therapy; we presented workshops and wrote articles together, we established the League as a non-profit and had an office, we published a monthly magazine and working as a grass roots political organization League members often taught anti-anorexia ideology in primary and secondary level schools.

Everyday narrative therapy interviewing involves a process known as relative influence questioning which is comprised of three sets of questions. Michael White made efforts to point out the following 1) one set maps the influence of the problem on the person and losses experienced within this relationship, 2) another set encourages persons to map their own (and others) influence in the life of the problem, 3) the third set begins to map out the unique outcomes or the occasions where the person experienced some influence in their lives despite the discursive power of the problem.