David Epston – Two day workshop in South Africa

What is a Good Story? And why do some stories trump others?

M. Coetzee, the South African Nobel Prize laureate for literature (2003) in The Good Story: Exchanges on truth, fiction and psychotherapy (2015) poses this question in his opening lines: “What are the qualities of a good (a plausible, even a compelling) story to live by?” This workshop will take this up, not in literary theory, put in the practice of narrative therapy. Surely Coetzee’s question lies at the heart of narrative therapy. Since this is not an English Lit class, how will we go about this? We will together watch the re-authoring of hopeless stories into dignifying and promising stories that reveal the moral character of its protagonists as they engage with Problems. We will begin watching edits of three meetings with 16 year old Justin and his parents. His prognosis by his medical advisors ‘promises’ him 5 more days to live. Our interest will be- ‘why did the counter-story that saw him ‘save’ his life ‘trump’ the unpromising story that he and his parents had lived according to for almost all his life? We will also ‘watch’ and explore what have come to be called ‘insider witnessing practices’ in which a counter-story is set against the Problem’s story so that the person might ‘see’ themselves differently.  And I hope we can do a live demonstration interview to ‘pull all this together’ into a viable practice for attendees to take home with them.


David Epston co-founded narrative therapy. He is known worldwide as a remarkably creative thinker and therapist. David’s improvisational skills in the art and craft of asking therapeutic questions is unsurpassed and – his therapeutic letter writing abilities are rather mind blowing.

David is the recipient of numerous international therapy awards and honorary doctorates. He is also the author of several books and articles about narrative therapy. When he isn’t away teaching therapy workshops around the globe, he splits his time between Auckland, New Zealand and his retreat on Waihiki Island (where he gardens and has been known to raise goats).

David will present the plenary address at the next American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Conference in United States. In addition, WW Norton (New York) will release Narrative Therapy in Wonderland: Connecting with Children’s Imaginative Know How co-authored with David Marsten and Laurie Markham. Another completed manuscript Taitohono: Stories of Traditional Maori Healing and Psychiatry by Wiremu Niania, Allister Bush and David Epston has been accepted for publication by Routledge.

Workshop in Somerset West sponsored by Elize Morkel

 Dates: Monday 6 & Tuesday 7 June 2016 (09h00 – 16h30)

Venue: DRC Helderberg, Somerset West

Workshop fees: R2 500   Students: R1 250 (Teas and lunches included)

Special rates for early registration before 30 April 2016: R2 200   Students: R1 100

Bank Details:  E. Morkel; Absa – Somerset West; Account: 2900 560 713; Branch Code: 334 712


Workshop in Benoni sponsored by Institute for Creative Conversation, Northfield Methodist Church

Dates: Thursday 2 & Friday 3 June 2016

Contact: i4cc@nfmc.org.za or 0101400217 Nicky or Jackie


Accredited by the HPCSA with 12 CEU’s.  SACSSP accreditation still pending.


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