Two-Day Conference: 20 & 21 August 2015

“Opening up Possibilities through Narrative Practice”

Information about Keynote addresses

Relational Mediation: Creating a readiness for separation when working with highly conflicted couples, presented by Stephen Madigan MSW, MSc, PhD

Canadian family therapist Stephen Madigan investigates a new ‘relation based’ narrative therapy practice. Relational Mediation is designed to emotionally prepare conflicted couples for their journey away from a problem based present orientation and towards a more preferred separated relationship orientation in the future.

stephen MadiganStephen Madigan is the Director of the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy, the first Narrative Therapy training site in the Northern Hemisphere. The American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA) recently honored Stephen with their Distinguished Award for Innovative Practice in Couple and Family Therapy Theory and Practice.

In 2011, the American Psychological Association published Stephen’s book Narrative Therapy – theory and practice as the primer textbook on Narrative Therapy for all APA graduate school programs. The book is now on the APA best sellers list (which could not have been predicted as Stephen’s book represents a full on critique of scientific modernist psychology!) Stephen hosts the annual Therapeutic Conversations conferences (, and currently teaches narrative therapy training workshops worldwide.


Narratives from the therapeutic journey of two psychologists, presented by Helen Malgas MA and Jennifer Githaiga PhD

In this paper two psychologists, Helen Malgas and Jennifer Githaiga will offer reflections on their five year therapeutic journey. They will highlight how the values of trust, creativity and hope afforded opportunities for movement and transformation for both the client (Jennifer) and the therapist (Helen). Jennifer moved from the isolation and despair of a broken marriage and being a foreign student in a hostile and competitive academic environment to a sense of freedom and connection as a divorced woman who has successfully completed her doctoral studies. The many conversations with Jennifer cemented Helen’s beliefs in the value of narrative therapy practices as it allowed her creativity and activist voice to come to the fore.

Helen malgas
Helen Malgas is a Counselling Psychologist in private practice in Plumstead, Cape Town. She is also employed as an independent contractor to the City of Cape Town Health Department where she facilitates groups for nurses and social workers employed at various primary healthcare facilities throughout Cape Town. Previously Helen worked as student counsellor at the University of Cape Town and as HIV/AIDS Counsellor at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Health Clinic. Helen has found her “therapeutic home” in Narrative Therapy and is an active member of the Narrative Therapy community in Cape Town. She remains committed to growing her skills as a narrative practitioner and to finding creative ways of sharing her expertise with others in her community.




Jennifer Githaiga
Jennifer Githaiga is a Kenyan national currently engaged in postdoctoral research in South Africa. She holds a PhD in Research Psychology (University of Cape Town), an MA in Counselling Psychology (United States International University – Africa), an MA in Communication (Daystar University, Kenya) and a B Ed Arts degree (Kenyatta University, Kenya). Her current research interests include reflexivity and the role of subjectivity (personal narratives) in academic writing, exploring the psychosocial dynamics of gendered family caregiving in chronic illness within Africa, adapting qualitative research approaches in psychology for contextual relevance.





Generating hope and possibilities in South Africa, presented by Elize Morkel DTh

When narrative therapy was introduced to South Africans in the early 90’s our country was in the midst of dramatic social and political changes. In this opening keynote address Elize Morkel will explore the ways in which Narrative Therapy provided new lenses through which to view the world to people who had the healing and transformation of our society at heart. Our history of apartheid, trauma and injustice left deep scars on our society. Today violence, prejudice, oppression, poverty and illness cast a dark shadow over our people. Amidst all of this, narrative practitioners share stories about the generation of hope and possibilities on a personal, professional and political level. Our community of like-minded colleagues have learnt to do hope in a range of contexts facing a wide variety of challenges. This, we believe, is our contribution to the field of narrative therapy in the world.
Elize morkelElize Morkel is a psychologist in private practice in Somerset West. Narrative therapy has become a focus of study in the early 1990’s. She has travelled extensively to attend training and to present papers and workshops in other parts of the country and abroad. Since 1999 Elize has been offering training and supervision to colleagues and masters students from various disciplines working in a diversity of contexts in South Africa. Her training commitment includes invitations to and the hosting of workshops for colleagues from overseas. Her doctoral dissertation in Practical Theology reflects on narrative therapy as a transformative participatory praxis within the South African context.





Addressing Sexuality and Gender in Narrative Therapy Conferences, presented by David Nylund LCSW, PhD

In this lecture, David Nylund will share some of his ideas on examining cultural discourses on sexuality and gender. Post-structuralist theory as a theoretical tool along with narrative therapy practices that assist us in interrogating sexual identity and gender norms will be discussed. David will argue that deconstructing dominant discourses of gender and sexuality create opportunities to examine, challenge, and resist normativity in all locations and spheres of life and identity.
david nylundDavid Nylund, LCSW, PhD is a professor of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento and a faculty member of the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy. David is the Clinical Director of the Gender Health Center, an agency serving the needs of the LGBT community. He is the author of several articles and books on narrative therapy, gender theory, and cultural studies.




A Neuro-Narrative Therapy for Today’s World: Bringing Emotion and Mindfulness into Narrative Work, presented by Jeff Zimmerman PhD

Technology has inadvertently supported left brain functioning at the expense of the right brain mastery we were intended to operate from, leading to new challenges for psychotherapists. Using ideas from Jeff’s Neuro-Narrative Therapy, (neuroscience influenced Narrative Therapy), we will look at why emotion has become so important again, and why mindfulness practices have become a growing part of all of our lives
JeffJeff was part of the original North American group trained by Michael White (mid to late 80’s). He has published extensively and given countless workshops in Narrative Therapy, recently combining these ideas with Interpersonal Neurobiology and Affective Neuroscience. Jeff lives in San Francisco, where he goes to lots of live music, restaurants, movies, and baseball games.