Unfolding the Hidden Story

University to host national conference on the practice of narrative therapy

The School of Applied Social Studies will play host to a national conference early next month that will focus on the applications of narrative therapy to people with mental health and drug misuse problems.

The conference, which will be attended by around 75 invited health and social care professionals from across Scotland and led by an internationally-renowned speaker, will take place on Monday 1 November at the Faculty of Health and Social Care on the University's Garthdee campus.

Narrative therapy involves working with and reconstructing the personal stories of people to identify trends and issues that affect the way they perceive and live their lives.  Through a series of in-depth discussions with their therapist, people are encouraged to share their personal stories or 'narratives'
of their experiences and reflect on what is important to them.

Through this process, people are helped to take charge of their own recovery and look at their perceived problems from above in an objective manner. This process of 'externalisation' is a key method used in narrative therapy to help people realise that they can change the relationships they have with their difficulties and have more autonomy and a better life.

This innovative conference aims to bring together people from across Scotland to discuss and consider the contribution and applications of narrative therapy to contemporary policy and practice with mental health and drug misuse patients. It has been designed to be relevant to a broad spectrum of professionals and groups including service users, informal carers, social workers, clinical psychologists, community workers, nurses and family therapists.

Internationally renowned thought-leader on the subject of narrative therapy, Allan Holmgren, who is the Director of Dispuk - a Danish narrative centre - will lead the event as keynote speaker.

Rob Mackay, a lecturer at the University's School of Applied Social Studies, has coordinated the conference. Mental health issues, stigma and recovery are, among others, particular areas of interest and research for Rob.  He said:

"I am delighted to be coordinating a national conference for what I believe to be an innovative approach to helping people with mental health and drug misuse problems to pursue their own individual journeys of recovery. The applications of narrative therapy are widespread as is becoming more generally recognised across the professions.

"Choice, respect and collaboration are the foundations of this way of understanding real experiences and of supporting people to take charge of their own lives in ways that are unique to each person, group or community.  I expect the conference to spark wide and most welcome discussion on how this therapeutic approach can be further used in contemporary practice."


Andrew Youngson
Communications Officer

Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389