Michael White (psychotherapist)

Michael White (born 29 December 1948 in Adelaide, † 4th or 5th April, 2008 San Diego, California ) was an Australian social worker and psychotherapist. He was considered a pioneer of the narrative approach to systemic therapy.

Life and work

After a first experience in child protection work and Probation Michael White began in 1973 in the context of substance use and schizophrenia to work with groups and families. His work was characterized by its strong community orientation. In 1980 he moved to the free practice and developed a family therapeutic training concept, without having even enjoyed a psychotherapeutic training. In 1983 he founded - together with Cheryl White - The Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, a center of narrative therapy, which both launched together. White stood in academic exchange with his New Zealand counterpart, David Epston - with him he shared the interest in cultural anthropology, critical philosophy and philosophy of language. Epston and White have co-authored several books.

In White's theory concept, the term narrative assumed a central role. Narratives - seen as narrative structures that allow individuals and systems to organize one hand, experience and perception of reality, on the other hand, action and interaction - based on constructivism. Influenced by the solution -oriented approach Goolishian, de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg and hypnotherapy approaches by Stephen Gilligan, but also by Gregory Bateson and Michel Foucault, the Australian therapist developed his independent approach, questioned the traditional role distribution in therapy and pleaded for co-authorship of therapist and client. The limiting power of social expectations and hierarchical structures he opposed the liberating effect of the narrative and encouraged his clients to new life and solutions narratives. " Commonly accepted definition of the problem to allow " and " externalizing problems " are the main foreign currency of narrative therapy.

White often spoke at conferences and taught again and again in North America and Europe. In April 2008, Michael White held in San Diego from a three-day seminar. During a meal, he suffered a severe heart attack, the consequences of which he died three days later. He was 59 years old.

German -language publications

  • Taming the Monster. Together with David Epston. Heidelberg: Carl Auer 1992, 2006 ( 5th edition ). ISBN 978-3-89670-528-0
  • Therapy as deconstruction. In: Swiss / Retzer / Fischer ( ed.): Systemic therapy and postmodernism. Frankfurt / Main 1992, 39-63

Original editions

  • Literate Means to Therapeutic Ends. Together with David Epston. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications, 1989
  • Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. Together with David Epston. New York: W. W. Norton, 1990 ISBN 0-393-70098-4.
  • Experience, Contradiction, Narrative and Imagination. Selected papers of David Epston & Michael White, 1989-1991. Adelaide: Dulwich Publ, 1992
  • Re - Authoring Lives: Interviews and Essays Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications, 1995 ISBN 0-646-22735-1.
  • Narratives of Therapists ' Lives Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications, 1997
  • Reflections on Narrative Practice Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications, 2000
  • Narrative Practice and Exotic Lives: Resurrecting diversity in everyday life Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications, 2004, ISBN 0-9577929-9-9.
  • Maps of Narrative Practice. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007