Peggy Sax

Peggy Sax

Hey, who here has experience teaching narrative practice: Giving workshops or university/graduate courses? We are your witnesses. We’d love to hear some of your experiences! What’s exciting? Whats nerve-wracking? How can we help?


March 25, 2014: Don McGillivray  

Don Mcgillivray

Don Mcgillivray

Hello everyone,

I just finsihed giving a mini-inservice at the Alberta College of Social Workers Annual Conference in Edmonton 2014. There were 42 participants that came to this in-service entitled : THE BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END STORIES IN MOTION.

Orginally, this was to be a two day narrative practices training for these folks. A communication mix up was resolved with a 3 hour morning session instead. Anxiety began to visit me immediately. How was I going to do this without overwhelming everyone and creating confusion that just did not have to be there?

Being overcome with my passion for sharing narrative practices helped anxiety go into hiding.

I decided to use very little of my power point presentation. Instead, I would have an interactive conversation that would be ” just different”!

I always have a picture of Michael or Michael and David or at times other persons who have influenced my work with narrative practices when I do trainings. This particular morning I had Michael’s picture up on the screen. As I began to speak and share with the audience I felt Michael’s presence. The language of narrative came pouring out in ways that were so joining with the audience in an invigorating way for everyone. The energy in the room was infectious!

In that 3 hours I managed to interview a volunteer from the audience to demonstrate the influence of a story this person had heard about themselves many times that had created a positive identity for this person which, in this case, had influenced this person’s work with High School students.

The feedback I got from both the volunteer and the audience confirmed for me and the others the power of these conversations. I usually do live interviews in my trainings and every time I do this I experience a learning for myself which supports my growth as a therapist and the audience has their own experiences which they share with me are “just different” from other conversations they are involved in and listen too.

I was able to get a listening with a NARRATIVE EAR exercise completed that Scot J. Cooper introduced to me last year.

The verbal and written feedback I got after this experience was quite positive which is useful to me and anyone engaged in this type of experience. One’s smile becomes larger!

I have been fortunate to be able to do many narrative practices trainings over the last couple of years. Practice has certainly eroded “self-doubt” replacing it with “more confidence” yet those ” butterflies” that visit my stomach prior to workshops like to have their pre-visits. I think of these ” butterflies” as a positive indicator that my ” EGO” has not taken over!

March 25, 2014

Peggy Sax

Peggy Sax

Hi Don!
Wow. What a magical day! I hope the glow lasts and lasts. Can you tell us more about Scot Cooper’s Narrative Ear exercise? I don’t think I know it.

I really appreciate the reminder about making the effort to do live interviews. Sometimes you really have to grab the moment, and overcome a kind of shy inertia…but your description is a testimony to why it is worth taking the risk.

Reading about your butterflies reminds me of stories I have read about famous experienced actors (maybe even Meryl Streep) who still – after decades – can feel really nervous before performances. I will also never forget being in the audience of a reading by a favorite author/poet, Terry Tempest Williams- you could have heard a pin drop…we were all swept away together into an extraordinary experience. At the end, the room broke out into applause. She looked out into the crowd (we had filled a chapel), and then made a weeping/embracing movement with her arms as though to envelope us all; she then lifted her arms upward, acknowledging we were all sharing together in a kind of amazing grace; Terry then sat down on the step, holding her head in her hands, eyes to the floor. All of these motions conveyed a sense that we all together shared a sacred moment in time.

Sounds to me like you were a conduit for one of those kinds of moments, Don?

Enjoy the glow- and thanks for sharing this. I’m hoping others too will share teaching stories here.


March 26, 2014: Don McGillivray

Don Mcgillivray

Don Mcgillivray

Thanks Peggy for the words of encouragement they are much appreciated!

I would encourage anyone interested in Scot’s work to check out his website:

Scot and Michael joined with the First Nations people during the 2006 Grand River land dispute which happened in Caledonia Ontario. The First Nations People ( the Seneca and Onedia) were protesting against a major development that was beginning to take shape on these First Nations lands.

This is a very interesting read for those that are interested in the different ways these three Masters practiced.


June 30, 2015: Regina Jardim

Regina Jardim

Regina Jardim

Hi Don

Nice to meet you. My name is Regina Jardim. I am a member of the collab since long time but I´ve been quite silente lately.
Excuse my English and a few possible mistakes. I am from Brazil, Rio de Janeiro and although I used to have very good English (as I did my postgrad in England), the lack of practice may slow me down sometimes.
I am a clinical psychologist and a university teacher here in Rio. I have been running a course on Introduction to Narrative therapy in the regular psychology graduation.
I am very interested in joining conversations on teaching and learning narrative practices.

In fact, this next saturday, July 4th, I shall give a “talk” on exactly this subject for a group of professional psychologists. (3 to 4 hours talk).

I can feel the butterflies on my belly already. Why? I use to talk about narrative practices in my courses, but this time I will talk about the teaching and the learning of narrative practices. The chalenges of risking to change from an epistemology of self like in psychoanalyses to one of social constructions.

I was so interested on this NARRATIVE EAR exercise by Scot J. Cooper that you mentioned in your post. I looked in Scotts´site but I did not a find a description of the exercise. Thank you to introduce me to Scott. If you could possibly give some more details about this narrative ear I will be so gratefull.

If you have tips and any good ideas of videos, papers or exercises on the topic of teaching and learning please let me know.

At this very moment I am writing to you from a hotel room in Manaus, the capital of the Amazon State. Another sensational place on Earth. Latter this week I hope to visit a reserve of native indians.

Let´s keep in touch.

warm regards

Regina Jardim