Michael White (psychotherapist)

Michael White (psychotherapist)
Michael White

Michael White, October 2006; photograph by Jill Freedman
Born 29 December 1948
Adelaide, South Australia
Died 4 April 2008(2008-04-04) (aged 59)
San Diego, California
Occupation family therapist, author

Michael White (b. 29 December 1948 - d. 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.



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:

  • International Fellow, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Masters Interview, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Conference, San Francisco, 1989.
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, California.
  • Distinguished Contribution to Family Therapy Theory & Practice Award, American Family Therapy Academy, 1999.[5]



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:

  • The statement of position map / externalising conversations map
  • Re-authoring conversations
  • Re-membering conversations
  • Definitional ceremonies
  • Scaffolding conversations
  • The absent but implicit
  • Responding to personal failure conversations[9]


  • 1989. Literate Means to Therapeutic Ends. With David Epston. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications.
  • 1990. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. With David Epston. (WW Norton & Company, New York).
  • 1995. Re-Authoring Lives: Interviews and Essays. Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications. ISBN 0-646-22735-1
  • 1995. Narratives of Therapists' Lives. Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.
  • 2000. Reflections on Narrative Practice. Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.
  • 2004. Narrative Practice and Exotic Lives: Resurrecting diversity in everyday life. Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.
  • 1992. Experience, Contradiction, Narrative and Imagination: Selected papers of David Epston & Michael White, 1989-1991. With David Epston. Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.
  • 2006. Narrative Therapy with Children and their Families. With Alice Morgan. Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.
  • 2007. Maps of Narrative Practice. (WW Norton & Company, New York)

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

Magazine articles and radio features


  1. ^ Pearce, Jeremy (28 April 2008). "Michael White, 59, Dies; Used Stories as Therapy". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/us/28white.html. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Dulwich Centre
  3. ^ Dulwich Centre Email News, January 2008 Issue # 25
  4. ^ Adelaide Narrative Therapy Centre
  5. ^ AFTA Awards page Accessed 6 May 2008.[dead link]
  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

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Michael white — Traduction à relire Michael White (psychotherapist) → …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Michael White — or Mike White may refer to: Contents 1 Academics 2 Journalism and literature 3 Music …   Wikipedia

  • Michael White — Traduction à relire Michael White (psychotherapist) → …   Wikipédia en Français

  • 1948 in Australia — Infobox Australian year monarch = George VI governor general = William McKell pm =Ben Chifley population = 7,708,761 australian = elections =TAS See also: 1947 in Australia, other events of 1948, 1949 in Australia and the Timeline of Australian… …   Wikipedia

  • David Epston — (30 August 1944) 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 known as… …   Wikipedia

  • State University of New York at Binghamton — Infobox University name = Binghamton University State University of New York size = 300px motto = From breadth through depth to perspective established = 1946 type = Public Faculty = 551 (full time only) employees = 5,000+ endowment = $68.9… …   Wikipedia

  • Binghamton University — Motto From breadth through depth to perspective [1] Establi …   Wikipedia

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • List of Dartmouth College alumni — This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries. The Dartmouth College class of 1920, posing in the Bema …   Wikipedia

  • Law, Crime, and Law Enforcement — ▪ 2006 Introduction Trials of former heads of state, U.S. Supreme Court rulings on eminent domain and the death penalty, and high profile cases against former executives of large corporations were leading legal and criminal issues in 2005.… …   Universalium

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.