Dear colleagues and friends,

We (Shona, Rob and Maggie) have decided to close the chapter of our lives that has been Narrative Practices Adelaide, and to make a formal ending to what has been something very special to us. We had initially thought that we would continue in some sort of ‘advisory’ role to Terry, Lisa, Sarah and other associates here in Adelaide, but we have realised that because NPA was forged through our relationship and connection with Michael and his intentions for the work, and in the context of what was happening back then, that that particular connection passes with us leaving. It doesn’t mean the work is no longer relevant to us, or that we are not holding these practices and ideals so very closely in our hearts, but just that NPA in its form is no longer our vehicle for the expression of these ideals.

The folk who have been associated with NPA here in Adelaide are finding their own ways of continuing the work and putting their own intentions and commitments to doing that, and that is how it should be. Here is a link to Adelaide Narrative Counselling & Teaching, for those who are interested in local Narrative practice and teaching

Sarah Atkinson also offers a private online counselling service and supervision and can be contacted through her Narrative Connections website

We wish to acknowledge the partnerships that we as NPA have formed over many years with a number of groups across the world, in Mexico, India, Chile, Denmark, the US and Sweden and how significant this shared journey has been to us. In this last decade it has in many ways been what we were “about”.

It certainly feels very right to us to be doing this, but of course it then means that we are reflecting a lot on what has been, and there are many feelings that are coming from this! We want to thank you for the wonderful connections over the years and to wish you all the best in your own future explorations of this amazing approach to working with people.

Maggie, Shona and Rob.

  • Maggie Carey

  • Rob Hall

  • Shona Russell

  • Lisa Johnson

  • Terry Callahan

  • Sarah Atkinsonn

Maggie Carey

Maggie Carey has been involved in the practice of narrative therapy since the early 90's and in the teaching of it for the past 10 years. Maggie's therapeutic practice has seen her working alongside young people at risk, with women and children who live with the effects of violence and abuse, and with people having experienced trauma, particularly as refugees.

Since 1994, Maggie has participated with Michael White and others in a number of community projects relating to a range of issues in people's lives. These issues have included responding to grief and loss within Aboriginal communities, responding to people living with mental health issues and to homelessness, to people living with a disability and to women and children who have been subjected to violence.

Maggie currently enjoys a range of opportunities to teach narrative practice and is committed to making the ideas and practice of narrative therapy more generally available. She is one of a core of group of people who, in partnership with Aboriginal colleagues, are developing and facilitating training for a Diploma in Narrative Approaches for Aboriginal Workers. This initiative is sponsored by Nunkuwarrin Yunti in Adelaide. Maggie has taught narrative therapy in many local and international contexts.

Robert Hall

Rob has been working in the area of gender violence and abuse since 1980. He worked in an emergency counselling service with a team exploring new approaches to inviting men to take responsibility for their violence to and to find ways to ensure the safety and well being of people they had abused.

He then joined a colleague, Alan Jenkins, in the further development of work with men who have perpetrated abuse, and has more recently been focussing on approaches to working with adolescents who have sexually abused. Together with others, Rob and Alan formed an organization called Nada, and have developed a partnership, in this work, with Maxine Joy and Alison Newton.

Rob continues to seek ways of further ensuring that intervention with people who have perpetrated abuse is practiced in ways that are consistent with, and that promote, responsibility, respect, fairness and accountability. A counselling approach which is consistent with these ideas entails the development of practice as an ethical journey.

Rob has shared these explorations of practice in many seminars and workshops, and, as an associate of the Adelaide Narrative Therapy Centre, he looks forward to further collaboration in the development of these practices.

Shona Russell

Since beginning work as a family therapist in a non Government community based organization Shona has been enthused by the narrative approach. She went on to study narrative therapy and has made this the focus of her therapeutic work for over fifteen years. Shona’s therapeutic work spans a range of contexts including a specialist service working with the effects of historical sexual abuse, a family therapy team, and independent practice where Shona works with young people, women, men and couples in response to a wide range of concerns.

From 1992-1995 Shona was coordinator of a community mental health project run through Dulwich Centre, Adelaide. This community based mental health project was designed to provide an option for consumers who had been long term clients of the mental health system and who were searching for an alternative. Amongst other things contexts were created where consumers could come together to share stories of their lives and develop connections with each other as well as develop archives of the knowledge’s and skills they drew on to manage the mental health concerns they lived with.

Alongside her therapeutic work Shona is inspired through her work as a teacher of narrative therapy providing workshops both locally and internationally. She has worked for many years on the Dulwich Centre Teaching Faculty and through this work became very interested in exploring narrative practices in the context of trauma. Such explorations have enabled Shona to work with colleagues in a range of countries including Bangladesh, Columbia, Mongolia, Palestine and Zimbabwe. Shona is currently involved in year long courses in South America.

A key component of Shona’s work is the provision of supervision both for individual practitioners and teams. She is actively involved in rigorous reflection regarding the process of supervision and enjoys the possibilities that emerge in collaboration with others.

In the realms of therapeutic practice, teaching and supervision Shona treasures the connections she has with colleagues and the emergence of ideas that can come from these connections. She is up-lifted to join Maggie and Rob in the development of Narrative Practices Adelaide.

Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson is a psychologist and trained teacher using narrative practices in therapy and teaching contexts across community, private practise and education settings. Lisa's interest in narrative ideas began in the late 90's working with young people who found themselves navigating juvenile justice and foster care systems.

Lisa has continued to work with children, young people and families responding to a wide range of problems and dilemmas and currently works as a psychologist in school communities.

Lisa is keen to uncover creative ways with narrative practices and appreciates her involvement in teaching narrative practises locally and internationally and is involved in a writing project with David Epston (co-founder of Narrative Therapy, Unitec, NZ) and David Marsten (Uni Southern California, Director of Miracle Mile).

Terry Callahan

Terry has worked in non-government community settings in Melbourne and Adelaide for more than ten years, attending to a wide range of counselling needs, including depression, anxiety, work-related stress, and responding in particular to community concerns about violence in families and relationships. He has engaged over the years with community education for peace, small communities development, and collaborative work with writers, artists and actors to bring forward the stories of persons marginalised in our society.

His ongoing independent therapeutic work focuses on respectful and accountable ways of assisting men to address their use of tactics of violence, abuse and control in their relationships with partners, ex-partners and children. He is also interested in assisting those suffering the ongoing effects of violence and trauma. An emerging focus is work with adolescents and children who use violence/abuse against parents/siblings or carers.

Terry is also available for supervision, especially for those working with issues of violence and trauma.

Terry has a Masters of Social Work degree (University of South Australia), and postgraduate qualifications in Counselling and Human Services (La Trobe), Narrative Therapy (Dulwich Adelaide) and undergraduate degrees in Arts (Monash) and Theology (Melb College of Divinity).

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah is an emerging Narrative practitioner with a Social Work background who has been working in the Mental Health System for the past three years. She has a strong interest in trauma and the impacts it has in people’s lives and particularly the link between trauma and people’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Sarah is interested in exploring the impact on people’s sense of wellbeing when they are given a diagnosis by the psychiatric system, and how to develop stories of people’s own know-how about their mental health, that can then contribute to an experience of agency in life. Along with a solid Narrative foundation to her practice, Sarah has been working with the Hearing Voices approach for the past two years. She has also been attended training in the Open Dialogue approach and is interested in finding places where this approach can be used in responding to people in crisis situations. The importance of supporting people to connect with their own networks, and to have the opportunity for acknowledgement of their developing preferred stories, has stood out to Sarah as crucial in challenging the isolation that can come from any experience of trauma.

Narrative Practices Adelaide - A History

Narrative Practices Adelaide has its history based in the ADELAIDE NARRATIVE THERAPY CENTRE (ANTC), the centre that Michael White established in January 2008, a few months before his sad and untimely death in April 2008. From its inception Maggie Carey, Rob Hall and Shona Russell joined Michael in the formation and early development of ANTC.

Because of legal difficulties involved with Michael’s will in relation to the ANTC website, it then became necessary for us to establish a totally separate identity - NARRATIVE PRACTICES ADELAIDE (NPA).

Narrative Practices Adelaide has a strong desire to continue with Michael’s aims and intentions in a way that would fit with the sentiment of what he had proposed. We see ourselves as a small, vibrant centre that collaborates with other centres and that acknowledges the rich and varied history of Michael’s work.

When Michael announced in January 2008 the beginning of a new centre for narrative teaching and practice here in Adelaide, he described his intentions in this way:

The Adelaide Narrative Therapy Centre has been established for the further development of narrative practice. This centre will provide counselling services to the community, and training workshops on a range of topics relevant to work with individuals, couples, families, groups and communities.
It will also provide a context for exploring the implications, for counselling practice, of recent developments in the fields of social and human enquiry.
This website will be further developed over the coming months, and will include items of significance to practitioners who are responding to requests for assistance with a wide range of problems and predicaments.

Our response as Narrative Practices Adelaide:

Establishing a network of practitioners

One of Michael’s clear intentions was to further the links and connections with the many existing centres of Narrative practice. He had envisaged such a network being a support between centres for the work that was already being done, as well as being inspiration for the further development of narrative practice. We have established links with a range of centres and with other teachers of narrative practice to further support our ongoing work to put narrative ideas into practice.

Provision of therapy and counselling services

Shona, Rob and Maggie have a long history of providing counselling and therapeutic services in their local community. Their therapeutic work often links them with government and non-government community services and they value ongoing working relationship with a range of family and community agencies in Adelaide.
Shona and Maggie have consultation rooms at NADA Counselling, Consulting and Training, which is an independent therapy centre based at Hindmarsh in Adelaide. Rob also works from NADA, where he is one of the founding partners. For contact details, click here.

Training opportunities

Maggie and Shona have been involved in the teaching of narrative therapy and community work for many years, both in Australia and internationally. This is an aspect of their work that they value highly and that they look forward to continuing.
Maggie, Shona and Rob have all taught for many years as facilitators for the Diploma of Narrative Approaches for Aboriginal people (counselling, group and community work), a TAFE accredited diploma that is run through the Regional Centre at Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia. One of the last meetings in which Michael participated the day before he left Adelaide for teaching overseas was with the education team at Nunkuwarrin Yunti. At this meeting Michael and Maggie discussed with the team the possibilities of creating a more visible link between ANTC and the teaching that was taking place in this course. NPA will be continuing this link.

Narrative Skills based workshops in Adelaide

Maggie and Shona offer skills based workshops in Adelaide. Workshops are available for people new to narrative practice and for practitioners who wish to extend the skills they are already using. The focus of these workshops is in exploring the micro maps of Narrative practice as described by Michael White in the last book that he authored, Maps of Narrative Practice. The skills explored in the workshops will be relevant to working with individuals, families, groups and communities. Maggie and Shona have practical experience in each of these settings.

Responding to Violence

Michael had been looking forward to extending on the ways in which narrative practice might contribute to the work with men who use violence in their relationships. This has been the focus of Rob’s work for many years and he, Maggie and Shona have begun conversations about ways of progressing this initiative.

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