›› A working partnership
Gaye and Marilyn met almost 21 years ago working in community psychiatry. They joined forces in their excitement about the then fairly new re-authoring ideas of Michael White and David Epston later to become known as Narrative ideas. By the end of the 1980's they were exploring and researching the usefulness of these ideas for their work in community psychiatry. See Worthy of Discussion: a collaborative group therapy.
Marilyn and Gaye had shared histories as registered Nurses Gaye in the UK. and Marilyn in Australia. They were both mothers and had each had community experiences working with young families. Their explorations of narrative approaches in their work in psychiatry included the provision of multiple family support groups, community consultation, individual therapy and rehabilitation services.
›› Relationship with Narrative ideas
The publication of Gaye and Marilyn’s research on the changes that narrative approaches brought to the Worthy of Discussion Groups for psychiatric rehabilitation led to requests for them to provide training and supervision for colleagues wanting to bring narrative ideas to many diverse areas of community health and welfare areas. One invitation was to bring the group work to residents and staff off a forensic, maximum security unit at Long Bay prison in Sydney. This venture was recorded in an interview by David Denborough written by him as in Beyond the Prison: Gathering Dreams of Freedom. Ed. Denborough. D. 1996. Part 3,ch.14, (b) Reclaiming stories of self. Dulwich Publications Adelaide.
›› Moving forward
Marilyn and Gaye stayed working in community psychiatry till 1995. During that time Marilyn was involved with the rehabilitation team in the development of a new model of practice (narrative) for their work and Gaye took the narrative ideas to the crisis intervention team and incorporated them in her practice there. Outside requests for training and supervision increased and informed a difficult decision to move into independent practice in order to support many more workers in the development of Narrative Approaches for their work.
Before leaving psychiatry Gaye and Marilyn were requested by management and supported by David Epston to implement a large co-research project on behalf of Community Mental Health Services that has been written up as Conference presentation on co-research project “Bridging the Gap” in Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference Collected Papers. Ed. Denborough. D.1991 Dulwich Publications. Adelaide.
›› Privileged friendship, support and learning
The relationship of Gaye and Marilyn with Michael White and David Epston grew during those years as they attended many of their trainings and were supported by them in the developments in their own work. They were delighted to be invited to offer training to the workers for the Dulwich Centre's alternative mental health project in the early 1990's and make a small contribution to what became the 'power to our journeys' group.
Michael and David came to support Marilyn and Gaye at their very first conference presentation which was at the inaugural national mental health services conference, THEMES in Adelaide. After that presentation Michael took a copy of the video tape they had made of their work to share with workers in mental health in the United States and David supported an invitation for them to present an introduction to Narrative work at the first International Narrative Conference in Vancouver in 1991. Their support remains appreciated as those were just the beginnings encouraging us to really develop our knowledge of narrative perspectives and for years of conference and training presentations internationally and throughout much of Australia.
›› Teaching and conferences
As well as introductions to narrative ideas and developments in narrative practice Gaye and Marilyn have presented on; becoming a narrative therapist, co researching ethics for narrative therapy, mediating conversations, narrative group work, narrative supervision, working with people experiencing suicidal thoughts, self harm, mental illness’, community conversations and more.
They have taught, supervised and workshoped often together but also separately with NGO’s and government health and welfare agencies in the areas of: community health, mental health, multi cultural mental health, drug and alcohol, anti anorexia, chronic illness and hope, sexual abuse, child welfare, domestic violence, homelessness, family support and workers sustainability. They have also developed courses and taught in the Masters of Cultural Psychologies and Masters of Counselling at Western Sydney University. They have been guest lecturers in the Masters in family Therapy and BA Social Work course at The University of NSW amongst others.
During these years of teaching and developing ideas for the application of narrative and post structural thinking Marilyn and Gaye have had their own clinical practice working with individuals, couples, families’, workers and teams. They consult regularly and wildly with their colleagues and value the contributions from those they consult with in the development of their own ideas and practices. In February last year David Epston invited Marilyn and Gaye with a small group of long time Narrative teachers to take their teaching to workers in Havana Cuba this was an amazing chance to be part of a community of Narrative teachers exchanging experience with the community of workers in Cuba.
Early this year we had to farewell our dear Michael White friend, teacher, mentor and inspiration. We were only sustained in our loss by the legacy of ideas and ways of thinking that he left us with. The commitment to continue the support and further development of narrative and post structural ways of approaching therapy and community work has been strengthened. Marilyn has concentrated on offering training in Sydney and regional areas and has met with fellow teachers to consider how to honor the ideas of Michael and not restrict their development.
Gaye joined with Peggy Sax a colleague and teacher from the USA to present at a workshop in Venice that sadly Michael was not able to make due to his sudden and untimely death. There are plans for that to occur again in June 2009.
Michael White’s contribution to their lives and work and his friendship is sorely missed since his death earlier this year but Marilyn and Gaye are determined to keep the seeds he has sewn with David Epston germinating and growing in their own life and work with others.
Please use our contact page for more information.
Practices at Paddington and Crows Nest.
Marilyn O'Neill Counsellor/Family & Couple therapist
Marilyn and Gaye have been involved in presenting Narrative Therapy Workshops in many parts of Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. They work in private practice, and meet with individuals, couples and families and provide group and agency supervision.
Gaye Stockell MA, MAPS (Psychologist).