Michael White (psychotherapist)

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Michael White
Michael White photo.jpg
Michael White, October 2006; photograph by Jill Freedman
Born29 December 1948
Died4 April 2008(2008-04-04) (aged 59)
Occupationfamily therapist, author

Michael White (29 December 1948 4 April 2008) [1] was an Australian social worker and family therapist. He is known as the founder of narrative therapy, and for his significant contribution to psychotherapy and family therapy, which have been a source of techniques adopted by other approaches.

Contents

Biography

Michael Kingsley White was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. His first professional job was as a probation and welfare worker. He earned an undergraduate social work degree from the University of South Australia in 1979 and worked as a psychiatric social worker at the Adelaide Children's Hospital. He founded the Dulwich Centre in 1983 and began a private practice as a family therapist. He continued to be associated with Dulwich Centre until his death.

White was a practicing social worker and co-director of the Dulwich Centre [2] in Adelaide, South Australia, and was author of several books of importance in the field of family therapy and narrative therapy.

In January 2008, White set up the Adelaide Narrative Therapy Centre [3] to provide counselling services and training workshops relevant to work with individuals, couples, families, groups and communities and to provide a context for exploring recent developments relevant to narrative practice." [4]

Michael White was also particularly known for his work with children and Indigenous Aboriginal communities, as well as with schizophrenia, anorexia/bulimia, men's violence, and trauma.

He received the following awards, honours, invitations:

Work

Influences

While early influences included those of systems theory and cybernetics (Gregory Bateson), [6] White's main work drew on a wide range of sources, including literary theory (Jerome Bruner), cultural anthropology (Clifford Geertz, Barbara Myerhoff, Victor Turner), non-structuralist psychology (William James, Lev Vygotsky) and French critical / post-structuralist philosophy (Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault). [7]

Theoretical and practice innovations

Key therapeutic ideas developed by White include 'externalizing the problem', [8] commonly summarised as 'the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem'; 're-authoring' the dominant stories of people's lives; and the idea of 'double-listening' to accounts of trauma: not only the accounts of trauma itself, but how people have responded to trauma.

Key practices of narrative therapy and 'maps' of narrative practice include:

Publications

Michael White's books have also been published in Danish, Spanish, Japanese, Swedish, Italian, German, Chinese, Finnish, French and Portuguese.

Magazine articles and radio features

Related Research Articles

Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction with adults, to help a person change behavior and overcome problems in desired ways. Psychotherapy aims to improve an individual's well-being and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions, and to improve relationships and social skills. There is also a range of psychotherapies designed for children and adolescents, which typically involve play, such as sandplay. Certain psychotherapies are considered evidence-based for treating some diagnosed mental disorders. Others have been criticized as pseudoscience.

Music therapy

Music therapy, an allied health profession, "is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program."

Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy which emphasizes personal responsibility, and focuses upon the individual's experience in the present moment, the therapist–client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person's life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation. It was developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman in the 1940s and 1950s, and was first described in the 1951 book Gestalt Therapy.

Counseling psychology is a psychological specialty that encompasses research and applied work in several broad domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; and prevention and health. Some unifying themes among counseling psychologists include a focus on assets and strengths, person–environment interactions, educational and career development, brief interactions, and a focus on intact personalities.

Art therapy

Art therapy is a distinct discipline that incorporates creative methods of expression through visual art media. Art therapy, as a creative arts therapy profession, originated in the fields of art and psychotherapy and may vary in definition.

Solution-focused (brief) therapy (SFBT) is a goal-directed collaborative approach to psychotherapeutic change that is conducted through direct observation of clients' responses to a series of precisely constructed questions. Based upon social constructionist thinking and Wittgensteinian philosophy, SFBT focuses on addressing what clients want to achieve without exploring the history and provenance of problem(s). SF therapy sessions typically focus on the present and future, focusing on the past only to the degree necessary for communicating empathy and accurate understanding of the client's concerns.

Narrative therapy

Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to help patients identify their values and the skills associated with them. It provides the patient with knowledge of their ability to live these values so they can effectively confront current and future problems. The therapist seeks to help the patient co-author a new narrative about themselves by investigating the history of those values. Narrative therapy claims to be a social justice approach to therapeutic conversations, seeking to challenge dominant discourses that it claims shape people's lives in destructive ways. While narrative work is typically located within the field of family therapy, many authors and practitioners report using these ideas and practices in community work, schools and higher education. Narrative therapy has come to be associated with collaborative as well as person-centered therapy.

The Internal Family Systems Model (IFS) is an integrative approach to individual psychotherapy developed by Richard C. Schwartz in the 1980s. It combines systems thinking with the view that the mind is made up of relatively discrete subpersonalities, each with its own unique viewpoint and qualities. IFS uses family systems theory to understand how these collections of subpersonalities are organized.

Play therapy childrens mental health therapy method

Play therapy refers to a range of methods of capitalising on children's natural urge to explore and harnessing it to meet and respond to the developmental and later also their mental health needs. It is also used for forensic or psychological assessment purposes where the individual is too young or too traumatised to give a verbal account of adverse, abusive or potentially criminal circumstances in their life.

Dyadic developmental psychotherapy is a psychotherapeutic treatment method for families that have children with symptoms of emotional disorders, including complex trauma and disorders of attachment. It was originally developed by Daniel Hughes as an intervention for children whose emotional distress resulted from earlier separation from familiar caregivers. Hughes cites attachment theory and particularly the work of John Bowlby as theoretical motivations for dyadic developmental psychotherapy.

Carl Whitaker

Carl Alanson Whitaker (1912–1995) was an American physician and psychotherapy pioneer family therapist.

David Epston

David Epston is a New Zealand therapist, co-director of the Family Therapy Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy University, an honorary clinical lecturer in the Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne, and an affiliate faculty member in the Ph.D program in Couple and Family Therapy at North Dakota State University. Epston and his late friend and colleague Michael White are known as originators of narrative therapy.

Body-centred countertransference involves a psychotherapist's experiencing the physical state of the patient in a clinical context. Also known as somatic countertransference, it can incorporate the therapist's gut feelings, as well as changes to breathing, to heart rate and to tension in muscles.

Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy, marriage and family therapy, family systems therapy, and family counseling, is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members.

The Houston Galveston Institute is a non-profit organization that offers a method of collaborative counseling and postmodern therapy to individuals, families and communities of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The Institute is strongly associated with collaborative language systems, a type of postmodern therapy that works with clients within a cooperative partnership that holds their expertise in high regard, and that encourages them to access their own natural resources to develop solutions to their problems. The Houston Galveston Institute is a sponsor of the International Journal of Collaborative Practices.

Vincenzo Di Nicola Italian-Canadian psychologist

Vincenzo Di Nicola is an Italian-Canadian psychologist, psychiatrist and family therapist, and philosopher of mind.

Collaborative language systems is a therapeutic approach largely based in contemporary hermeneutics, the study of interpretation as a way to produce understanding, while considering both context and cognition, as well as social constructionism. This approach involves a reciprocal relationship between both the therapist and client, through which the client works through his or her clinical problems using dialogical conversation with the therapist. The therapist and client work together, utilizing their own, individual knowledge and understanding of the issues, to conceptualize and illuminate the client’s problems and provide new context, meaning and comprehension to those problems based on the collaboration.

Trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy or counselling that aims at addressing the needs of children and adolescents with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other difficulties related to traumatic life events. The goal of TF-CBT is to provide psychoeducation to both the child and the non-offending caregivers and help them to identify and cope with emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Research has shown TF-CBT to be effective in treating childhood PTSD and with children who have experienced traumatic events.

Accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP) is a mind-body psychotherapy that is informed by research in the areas of attachment theory, emotion theory, and neuroscience of change. This model of psychotherapy incorporates techniques from experiential therapies and ISTDP.

Diana Fosha is a Romanian-American psychologist, known for developing accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP) and for her work on the psychotherapy of adults suffering the effects of childhood attachment trauma and abuse.

References

  1. Pearce, Jeremy (28 April 2008). "Michael White, 59, Dies; Used Stories as Therapy". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  2. Dulwich Centre
  3. Dulwich Centre Email News, January 2008 Issue # 25
  4. Adelaide Narrative Therapy Centre Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. AFTA Awards page Accessed 6 May 2008. Archived 20 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. White, M. & Epston, D. (1990). Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends, pp. 1-2.
  7. White, M. (2007). Maps of Narrative Practice. (New York: W.W. Norton)
  8. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends, pp. 54-56.
  9. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends; Maps of Narrative Practice; White, M. (2000). Reflections on Narrative Practice Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications