Publication: “First steps towards an alternative suicide risk screening tool”

Carly Forster and Rina Taub have published this interesting article: “First steps towards an alternative suicide risk screening tool: Navigating risk assessment and encouraging life-sustaining conversations”. It can be found here.

Abstract: This paper explores preferred ways of working in relation to suicide screening in situations where this is a requirement of professional practice. We describe our concerns about how approaches to ‘suicide risk assessment’ were affecting our work and the young people we were required to assess. We came to see the assessment process as an intervention of itself, with the potential for negative consequences for young people, workers and the therapeutic relationship. In response, we drew on a narrative and post-structuralist framework to develop an alternative set of assessment questions. Our questionnaire is intended to scaffold conversations that externalise the problem, elicit people’s life-sustaining practices, and enable assessment of distress and suicidal thoughts. The questionnaire has so far been trialled by a young person and psychologist in Sydney, and an adult and mental health worker in Singapore. We present our findings about these insiders’ experiences of the questionnaire. We hope this article will invite readers to connect to curiosity about ways of having conversations that open up space for people to speak of despair, and questions about living, in ways that are respectful and encouraging of life-sustaining steps.

Key words: assessment, questionnaires, risk, suicide, externalising, narrative therapy,
youth, young people

On the authors:

Carly Forster completed her Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) in 2004. After travelling, teaching English, and volunteering for the United Nations abroad, Carly completed her psychologist supervision registration program in 2011. During her internship, Carly worked with Aboriginal children in out-of-home care and with homeless and disadvantaged youth. Carly is currently working with children and young people in out-of-home care. Carly can be contacted at

Rina Taub is a narrative counselling psychologist. She has engaged in narrative practices with young people, adults, couples and families in community settings, as well as in her private practice, In-Sight Narrative Therapy, and as a registered clinical supervisor. She enjoys the curious and respectful stance of narrative therapy, and enjoys sharing the intentions that inform this framework, and the craft of the questions, through facilitating reflective practice groups and workshops for various health and welfare agencies. Rina is currently the convener of the Narrative Theory and Practice in Psychology interest group of the Australian Psychological Society and is involved in shining some light on the narrative paradigm and encouraging research and training opportunities. Rina would like to acknowledge Gaye Stockell as her ongoing mentor. Rina can be contacted at

Workshop on Artfully Enriching Therapeutic Conversations

If you are looking to extend your practice and further connect with accountability, collaboration and authenticity, this workshop has been tailored for you!

This interactive and practice-based workshop will allow you the opportunity to develop new innovative and creative ways of working.

You will be further exposed to Narrative therapy techniques as well as connecting back and refreshing the theory that underpins this approach. You will be provided with demonstrations and have the opportunity to practice these narrative lines of enquiry and concepts.

The training process mirrors the therapy itself and will encourage you to further investigate the intentions behind your questioning, your hopes for your own work practices, and the chance to unpack stumbling blocks that may be experienced as we explore these exciting ways of working.

Feel free to bring examples from your practice or in your work alongside colleagues/in supervision, so we can use this through the day. Come and explore what is sustaining you in your work and what you are noticing in response to applying these principles.

Date: Sunday March 19

Time: 10am – 4pm (morning tea provided)


$115 for students in non-paid placements (inclusive of GST)
$165 early bird before March 1st (inclusive of GST)
$230 after March 1st (inclusive of GST)
Location: The Little Space, Bondi Junction next to the train station

(Note: numbers limited)

Book now:

About the Presenter:

Rina Taub is a Counselling Psychologist with over 20 years of professional experience. She is Director of In-Sight Narrative Therapy and has engaged in Narrative practices in community Mental Health settings, as well as with young people, adults, couples and families in private practice, and as a registered clinical supervisor. She has enjoyed sharing the intentions that inform this framework, and the craft of the questions, through facilitating reflective practice groups, and workshops for various health and welfare agencies.

Workshop, Feb 22–23: Phenomenology, Narrative, and the Philosophy of Medicine

The Philosophy Program and The Narrative Practices in Therapy Initiative are hosting a two-day workshop on

Phenomenology, Narrative, and the Philosophy of Medicine
February 22-23 2017

All talks will be held in building 25, room 150 on the University of Wollongong’s main campus
For a campus map, go to:

Phenomenological and narrative approaches to health and illness focus on the subjective experience of well-being, and the ways in which illnesses and their treatments can impact on self-experience. Such accounts raise a variety of philosophical questions. To what extent can features of phenomenology and narrative be used to characterise different disorders? What problems do we face in relying on such first-person accounts, and what insights can we gain? Can such characterisations be integrated with naturalistic accounts of health and illness? How should we understand the role of phenomenology and narrative in treatment, as in narrative therapy?

This workshop will examine the role of phenomenological and narrative approaches across a range of cases. The goal is to develop a clearer account of the distinctive character of such approaches, the philosophical challenges they face, and the increased understanding they might provide.


Wednesday, February 22nd

13:00-14:30 Shaun Gallagher (Memphis/UOW), “Empathy: Pain, trial and tribulation”
14:30-15:30 Philip Gerrans (Adelaide), “Keeping reality at bay, the role of narrative in mental health”
15:30-16:00 Coffee/Tea
16:00-17:00 Jeanette Kennett (Macquarie), “Narrative and agency in addiction”

Thursday, February 23rd

10:30-11:30 Marc Slors (Radboud), “Bodily continuity, narrative autobiographical coherence and therapy”
11:30-12:30 Dominic Murphy (Sydney), “Can the sea eagle make you sick?”
12:30-14:30 Lunch
14:30-15:30 Jonathan Cole (Poole General Hospital, UK), “Narrative approaches to neurological impairment”
15:30-16:30 Roundtable discussion on the role of phenomenology and narrative in medicine: Claire Hooker (Sydney), Jonathan Cole (Poole General Hospital), Shaun Gallagher (Memphis/UOW)

All are welcome. Registration is free. To register, please contact Patrick McGivern at


Workshop: Therapy’s Choice: Narrative Practices, Cognitive Neuroscience or Both?

Therapy’s Choice: Narrative Practices, Cognitive Neuroscience or Both?

Tuesday 16th February 2016
Northfield’s Campus, University of Wollongong
Lecture Theatre 21.G08, Early Start, Building 21. Map:

On the 25th of November 2015 the Australian Government announced that “Reform starts today” in response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services. Our workshop will take a hard look a tough choice the mental health field faces between two competing and seemingly incompatible ways of understanding mental disorders. The folk psychology view puts our everyday normative conceptual scheme in the driver’s seat – on the assumption that it, and it only, tells us what mental disorders are (Graham 2009). Opposing this, the scientific image view (Murphy 2006, Gerrans 2014) holds that our understanding of mental disorders must come, wholly and solely, from the sciences of the mind, unfettered by folk psychological assumptions about the mind.

This workshop marks the launch of the Narrative Practices in Therapy (NPT) Initiative, which is funded by the Faculty of Humanities, Law and the Arts, University of Wollongong –


08.45-09.00 Welcome and opening words

09.00-10.15 The Place of Narrative in Psychiatric Theory and Practice
Laurence Kirmayer, M.D., FRCPC, James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University.


10.30-11.45 Levels of explanation, Folk Psychology and Psychiatric Disorder: Explaining the (in?) effectiveness of SSRIs in the Treatment of Depression.
Philip Gerrans, Professor of Philosophy, University of Adelaide and an associate of the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences in Geneva.

11.45-13.00 Changing Minds: Narrative Practice and the 4 Es
Glenda Satne, Vice Chancellor’s Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Wollongong.

Lunch (Non-NPT attendees to make own arrangements)

14.00-15.15 A Reconciliation for the Future of Psychiatry: Both Folk Psychology and Cognitive Science
Daniel D. Hutto, Professor of Philosophical Psychology, University of Wollongong.

15.15-16.30 Culture, Cognition and Explanation
Dominic Murphy, Associate Professor, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney.


16.45-18.00 Patterns of the Narrative Self in Therapeutic Contexts
Shaun Gallagher, Moss Chair in Philosophy, University of Memphis, Humboldt Anneliese Maier Research Fellow, Professorial Fellow in Philosophy, University of Wollongong.

Drinks @ Dagwood –

19.30- late
Conference Dinner @ Hanoi Vietnamese restaurant – (Non-NPT attendees are very welcome to join – and please notify the organiser if you intend do so – but only speaker meals will be covered by event funding)

All are welcome to attend. There is no registration fee, but places may be limited due to restrictions on space. Please RSVP to secure a place by inserting the subject line ‘Registration for TC Workshop, 16 Feb 2016’.

NPT Pre-Workshop Launch Meeting

NPT Pre-Workshop Launch Meeting
LHA Research Hub seminar room, 2-5pm, Monday 15th Feb 2016

This will be an internal event to launch our initiative. The team will discuss future plans. A main item of business will be to discuss the timing and focus of the second workshop NPT workshop in 2016/2017. It is is likely to focus on how narratives play their part in therapy – looking at the nature of narrative practices, how they are used in different cultures and how we should understand the way they transform the way we think about ourselves – and thus live our lives. Special attention will be given to contributions from indigenous studies, media studies and literature. Speakers: We will invite David Denborough, Dulwich Centre, and Marc Slors (Radboud University Nijmegen) to deliver keynotes. Prof Slors eads the “The Management of the Self: A Humanities Approach to Self-Management in Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine”project – This second NPT workshop could aim at presenting any new developments in the field that are relevant to NPT and which might for the basis for future projects and publications.

New project on Managing the Self

Prof. Marc Slors receives EUR739,678 for a project on “Management of the Self: a Humanities Approach to Self-Management in Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine”. Our own Prof. Hutto is part of the project. For more information go to:

Academy of Finland funds…

Professor Mari Hatavara receives funding from the Academy of Finland for the project “Making Sense in Literature and Social Life”. Our own Prof. Hutto is the international investigator of the project. For more information on the project go to: