David Epston is a New Zealand therapist, co-director of the Family Therapy Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, and Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy University. Epston and his late friend and colleague Michael White are originators of narrative therapy.


In New Zealand, Epston started working as a senior social worker in an Auckland hospital. From 1981 to 1987 he worked as consultant family therapist at the Leslie Centre, run by Presbyterian Support Services in Auckland. From 1987 to the present he has been co-director of The Family Therapy Centre in Auckland.[1]

In the late 1970s Epston and Michael White led the flowering of familytherapy within Australia and New Zealand.[1] Together they started developing their ideas, continuing during the 1980s, and eventually in 1990 published Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends, the first major text in what came to be known as narrative therapy. In 1997 following the publication of Playful Approaches to Serious Problems Epston, along with his co-authors Dean Lobovits and Jennifer Freeman, initiated the website Narrative Approaches. The website includes  publication of a series of authored and co-authored papers, artwork, and poetry in the form of an “Archive of Resistance: Anti-Anorexia/anti-Bulimia.”



Some quotes by Epston:


Every time we ask a question, we’re generating a possible version of a life.

– David Epston

“I am like a butterfly catcher, waiting for the metaphor to rise up, so I can net it and display it to the clients, who if not gratified by the first attempt to have a concrete way to describe concerns that re plaguing them, usually satisfy themselves with some version. What is made concrete in the session itself is made doubly concrete in the letter.”

David Epston, “Extending the conversation.” Family Therapy Networker, November/December, 1994.

David Epston will be at The Room Full of Stories through a video  presentation to narrate his Key Note Address. David’s talk is titled “This isn’t Adelaide or Auckland! Re-Imagining Narrative Therapy Elsewhere”

David says “Since the 1970s and 80s and what was referred to as ‘the cultural turn’ first in the social sciences and then in some professions, translation from one language to another and from one culture to another has led to considerable debate e.g. domestication versus foreignization of the source text(language) in to the target text(language). In fact, some critical voices in ‘translation studies’ have come up with terms such as ‘ethnocentric reduction’ that does ‘violence’ and has opposed it with ‘resistant translations’. In research, similar concerns have been registered in terms of ‘colonizing’ and ‘decolonizing’ methodologies’. Narrative Therapy has always valorized the local and particular. How then does narrative therapy travel abroad? Are there any alternatives to a ‘Coca Cola’ or ‘McDonalds’ narrative therapy that is invariant and instantly recognizable no matter where? I propose, along with others, that indeed there are. Here we might turn to ‘translation studies’ for guidance and Marcela Polanco’s translations of narrative therapy in to Colombian Spanish as a specific ‘study’ to consider ‘re-imagining’ narrative therapy in other languages, socio-political contexts and cultures.”



We are honoured to have David as a storyteller at the Room Full of Stories sharing his thoughts around Re-Imagining Narrative Therapy elsewhere. You can find out more about the Room Full of Stories at http://www.narrativeconference2016.in. You can also contact Ami Damani our conference coordinator at +91 9930 555019 or at ami.damani@ummeed.org.

Next week we will introduce Maggie Carrie, Shona Russell and Peggy Sax; and  the story they will be sharing at The Room Full of Stories.

Till then waiting to hear from you.


Stories, Hopes & Dreams,

Mental Health Team,

Ummeed Child Development Center.

Mumbai, India.