What is Externalizing the Problem? Narrative Therapy comes to North America

About this Session

Karl and meReading:  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.


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