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  • David Epston & Tom Carlson Workshop
     June 15, 2017
     8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Insider Witness Practices (IWP) represent a dramatic re-imagination of narrative therapy practice through the use of performance. As the counterpoint to Michael White’s Outsider Witness Practices, these practices return narrative therapy to its very beginnings; a history for the future. Through a one-session performance, clients become witnesses to a hope-biased portrayal of their lives as performed by their therapist. This portrayal is intended to situate the significant events of clients’ lives within rich story lines that serve as a revelation of their moral character as persons. As a result, clients become both an insider and outsider to their own lived experiences and are afforded the unusual opportunity to experience their own selves as if they were an ‘other.’ From this insider/outsider vantage point, they are able to experience heightened levels of meaning making, self-compassion and self-appreciation.

The results in this experimental IWP approach have so far have exceeded participants’ wildest expectations. Given that this practice has to be seen to be believed,  David and Tom will do more showing than telling during this one day workshop.   Through performance of client videos and transcripts, they will use an immersive experiential learning process to convey what clients, therapists, and others have described as the dramatic and even magical potential of this practice. The presentation will also include the performance of a verbatim play that attempts to capture one client’s transformative experience of Insider Witness Practices.

Registration opens at 8:30. Workshop is from 9am-5pm.

  • Regular registration: $155 (regular) or $125 (student/fixed income)
  • For an additional $20, sign up for 7  Continuing Education credits from Alliant International University


David Epston

David Epston

David Epston (Auckland, New Zealand) is the co-originator with Michael White of what has come to be known as ‘narrative therapy and community work’. The collaboration between David and Michael began in the late 1970s, as continued for many years. David’s best known publications are White and Epston(1990), Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends; Freeman, Epston and Lobovits(1997), Playful Approaches to Serious Problems: Narrative Therapy with Children and their Families and Maisel, Epston and Borden(2004), Biting The Hand That Starves You: Inspiring Resistance to Anorexia/Bulimia; and Narrative Therapy in Wonderland: Connecting with children’s imaginative know-how (with David Marsten & Laurie Markham) along with other collections of papers and book chapters.

David has given several Vermont workshops and masterclasses on the poetics of inquiry: What is a good question? Where do questions come from? How are good questions related to good stories? What guides inquiry in narrative therapy?  He is an eagerly anticipated guest presenter on The Collab Salon.  For further info about David and his work, please visit our newly created Curated Resource Page: David Epston: Where the buses don’t run yet.

Tom Carlson

Tom Carlson

Tom Carlson, Ph.D. is a professor and director of the Couple and Family Therapy Doctoral Program at North Dakota State University and is the co-editor (along with David Epston) of a new journal dedicated to the reimagination of narrative practice called the Journal of Narrative Family Therapy. Tom has been practicing and teaching narrative ideas for over 20 years and has published several articles on narrative therapy that focus on helping therapists and the people that we work with to live out the spirit, values, and ethics of narrative ideas in their personal and professional lives. Tom is the developer of an alternative approach to narrative couples therapy called Relational Accountability (published in the International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work) which invites couples to nurture stories of love and compassion in one another through the intentional living out of narrative ethics in their lives and relationships. Most recently Tom partnered with his friend and colleague David Epston in developing an emerging performance based narrative therapy practice called Insider Witnessing Practices that seek bring forth the beauty and dignification of people’s lives in dramatic ways.


Venue Phone: 802.985.3819

Venue Website:

291 Bostwick Farm Road, Shelburne, Vermont, 05482


All Souls Gathering is a beautiful retreat center in Shelburne, Vermont. Their indoor and outdoor space is available for weddings, workshops, life events, memorials, classes, and retreats. Burlington, Vermont is about 30 minutes away, with the closest airport.

Where do participants stay?

Nearby accommodation in Shelburne, Charlotte, Ferrisburgh, Burlington, Bristol and Vergennes includes Inns, B&Bs, state parks, rooms in private homes and Lake Champlain cottage rentals. Please send your accommodation inquiry to Contact @ Re-authoring Teaching, and we will do our best to help you find just the right place.