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Empowering Excellence: Introduction to Narrative Therapy and Community Work

Event Details
Date: Ongoing
Venue: Online
CPD hrs: 2
CPD Category: 2 - Skills and Knowledge

Refer to listing

Organiser: AASW


This engaging online course introduces the key principles and practices of Narrative Therapy and Community Work. It is delivered by leading Narrative practitioner and academic Dr. David Denborough, co-Director of the Dulwich Centre and co-ordinator of the Master of Narrative Therapy at the University of Melbourne. Topics include:

  • An introduction to the histories of these approaches
  • Summary of key aspects of the narrative approach, such as externalising conversations, the use of documentation, and the Team of Life metaphoric practice
  • Discussion of community projects informed by narrative principles.

This course is relevant to social workers (and other counsellors and allied health professionals) working with individuals, families, groups and/or wider communities, including within clinical mental health settings.

Course objectives

Participants will:

  • Develop an awareness of the histories of Narrative Therapy and Community Work
  • Develop an understanding of the story metaphor and its implications for practice
  • Develop an understanding of externalising conversations (the person is not the problem; the problem is the problem, and the solution is not only personal) and their application in a range of contexts
  • Develop an understanding of the significance of documentation (the written word, song, video) in supporting people to reclaim their lives from problems
  • Learn about the Team of Life and Tree of Life narrative approaches and other metaphoric practices
  • Develop an appreciation of the diverse work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander narrative practitioners
  • Gain knowledge of a range of narrative practice community projects.

Presenter details

David Denborough (PhD) works as a community worker, teacher and writer/editor for the Dulwich Centre. He is particularly interested in cross-cultural partnerships which limit the chances of psychological colonisation and create possibilities for cross-cultural inventions, such as the Team of Life narrative approach and Tree of Life (with Ncazelo Ncube-Mlilo). These collective narrative methodologies seek to assist people to address the effects of traumatic experiences without having to speak directly about them.

David is also vitally interested in how collective narrative practices can spark and/or sustain social movement and in projects that respond to racism and seek to strengthen social inclusion. His recent teaching and community assignments have included Rwanda, Brazil, Palestine, Singapore, Austria, Hong Kong, Kurdistan (Iraq), India, Canada, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Chile and a number of Aboriginal Australian communities.

David is a co-ordinator of the Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work at the University of Melbourne, where he is also involved in supervising graduate researchers. His songs in response to current social issues have received airplay throughout Australia and Canada. His publications include:

  • Retelling the stories of our lives: Everyday narrative therapy to draw inspiration and transform experience
  • Collective narrative practice: Responding to individuals, groups, and communities who have experienced trauma
  • Working with memory in the shadow of genocide: The narrative practices of Ibuka trauma counsellors
  • Beyond the prison: Gathering dreams of freedom
  • Family therapy: Exploring the field's past, present and possible futures (editor)
  • Trauma: Narrative responses to traumatic experience (editor).

Method of delivery

Once you have registered for this course, all online content is available to view at your convenience via the AASW SWOT Platform.

Please ensure that your email address is accurate and updated when you register.


The online workshop duration is 2 hours. An additional 2 hours of external links are also included via the Dulwich Centre website

CPD for Credentials

This course can be claimed under Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS), Mental Health and Clinical for CPD purposes, consistent with the CPD Goals and Hours Requirements.

Find out more today about opportunities to have your specialised social work skills recognised.


AASW member price: $149
AASW student price: $75
Non-member price: $224


  1. Register for this course by following the link to the right
  2. Upon registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing all access instructions.

For further information regarding the Empowering Excellence Program, please contact us on [email protected].

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers