Foucault Series Todd May #3: History is Contingent: Michel Foucault’s ideas and the narrative therapy practice of Michael White

About this Session

OIPThe 3rd discussion in this series continues to highlight the influence Michel Foucault’s ideas had on the narrative therapy practice of Michael White. Philosopher Todd May guides the discussion on the topics of essentialism, structuralism and the idea that history is contingent. The hour begins with a 7 minute workshop with Michael White and recent 4 minute VSNT training lecture with Todd.


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Comments (1)

  1. Emily Doyle says:

    Thank you so much for the discussion this morning!

    I’ve been reflecting on how I experience the tensions between a “single story” and “individual stories”. As a fan of narrative therapy, and systemic family therapy, I like to think I’m often able to hear individual stories in their contexts (including rich histories and focus on the how things came to be as they currently are). As a psychologist I’m likely to struggle between the single story (and stories) of the discipline and the individuals stories of the relationships I engage in (whether as a teacher, a supervisor, a clinician, or therapist). As Todd and Stephen pointed out, the inside (of a person) can’t be divided from the outside (contexts and histories), and we can’t remove the therapist and the therapeutic relationship from the practices of therapy – any more than we could remove the people (clients) that we work with – we work “with” them not “to” them. Yet, psychology is often practiced without the individual stories of how the lens we are viewing therapy through have come to be shaped and are currently held, as an ongoing conversation that is experience-near for therapists. My history of psychology course from years ago isn’t experience near to my practices today, unless I deliberately make it so, in ongoing ways.

    I’m challenged to keep an eye on the single stories and an ear on the individual stories when I am prompted at many turns to orient toward a single stories of practice, particularly in the ways I am called upon to account for my work. Gosh – thinking of it this way, the translation between single stories and individual stories – with clients, in the therapeutic relationship, in counselling education, in the practice of therapy, and for myself as a therapist sounds…overwhelming and exhausting!! And liberating.

    Thank you for the opportunity to do this work, in this community, at this time.

    🙂 Emily


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