BANTR#8: Katherine Moore, MFT on Child Protective Services


Katherine Moore, MFT

On this episode I interview Katherine Moore, MFT from San Francisco, CA on her new book Connecting the Dots: Positive intentions, negative impacts; My Journey Through CPS.

Listen in below:

Katherine and I discuss her stories and perspectives from working 17 years in child protective services. Katherine can be reached through her website,


[3:40] “It is my hope that in reading this book people can have a serious dialogue about what can be done to minimize the pain to both clients and those that work in the field.”

[9:29] “I realized that the institution of CPS is racist. It’s not racist by intent, it’s racist by how the practices were developed and the group that was targeted.”

[12:40] “In graduate school I learned about the world of pathology. I also learned about the bias I saw in the teaching of pathology. The psychological worldview that I was taught in school did not make sense to me.”

[21:05] “The interesting thing about love is that different people love differently.”

[36:50] “I was always faced with wondering whether I was making the right decision.”

[57:00] “If you’re walking around drinking this magical thinking potion, you want to believe that you’re wearing the white hat. It is not a binary world.”

[1:12:49] “What do you think would need to happen for there to be a change in CPS moving in the direction of better services for children and families?”

[1:17:34] “There is a price that every change agent makes.”

“Ain’t Got No. . . I’ve Got Life” song analysis

Written by Will Sherwin, MFT

One of the songs that I use as a touchstone in my life is Nina Simone’s cover of “Ain’t Go No. . . I’ve Got Life”, originally written for the 1960s musical Hair.

In the first part of the song, Nina sings a list of things she doesn’t have: no home, shoes, money, class, skirts, sweater, perfume, bed, mind, mother, culture, friends, schooling, love, name, ticket, token, or God. Can you imagine not having any of these things? Can you imagine living your life as a list of things you don’t have? What effect do you think this would have on you?

If you can imagine living like that, I don’t think you are alone. Kenneth Gergen writes, “the vocabulary of human deficit has undergone enormous expansion with the present century [the 20th century]. We have countless ways of locating faults within ourselves and others that were unavailable to even our great-grandfathers.” Gergen writes that with the increase in the vocabulary of human deficit “a spiraling cycle of enfeeblement is set into motion.”

When people are recruited into living their life as a list of things they don’t have, they can get disconnected from what they can do and ways of living that give them “alivenessness”.

Are there alternatives to this deficit-lifing of people to death?

In the bridge of “Ain’t Got No. . . I’ve Got Life”, Nina Simone asks three questions: “But what have I got? Why am I alive anyway? What have I got nobody can take away?”

She answers these questions: her hair, head, brains, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, smile, tongue, chin, neck, boobies, heart, soul, back, sex, arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, liver, blood, life, laughs, headaches, toothaches, bad times, life, freedom, life.

I hear her taking a stand for what she does have rather than sing only about she does not have. Deficit-lifing can disqualify as insignificant all the things she sings about but Simone takes a stand that these things are why she’s alive. These are things that nobody can take away. She takes a stand and sings them to significance.

“The point of life is to know what’s enough.” – Gensei, 17th c.

BANTR7: Inside Out Film Discussion with Dr. Marc Komori-Stager

In this episode of BANTR Radio, Marc Komori-Stager, PhD. and Will Sherwin, MFT discuss the playful metaphors of the mind, imagination and emotions illustrated in the Pixar film Inside Out. We discuss the film using a variety of common narrative terms like externalization, agency, and values and examine cultural discourses on emotions.

Dr. Marc is creatively referencing the characters in the film in psychotherapy with children in his private practice at in Walnut Creek, CA.

Also, check out Narrative Therapy India’s article on Inside Out, “Externalising, the Pixar Way”.

Marc Komori-Stager, PhD.

Marc Komori-Stager, PhD.

Listen in below!

Download episode here.  (Right-click and save link as).

BANTR#6: Peggy Sax, Ph.D.

Peggy Sax, Ph.d. and Will Sherwin, MFT discuss Peggy’s history with narrative therapy, reclaiming community from personal catastrophe, and the new design of her website for online narrative learning

Download episode here.  (Right-click and save link as).

Peggy is actively involved in the study of dialogic and narrative approaches through therapeutic conversations, teaching activities and online learning communities. First and foremost, Peggy is a practitioner. Her work as an international workshop presenter, consultant and online study group host is imbued with learning from firsthand experiences as a family therapist and licensed psychologist in her small town New England community.

Peggy Sax can be contacted at and you can get involved in her learning community at

BANTR#5: Zemeira Singer, MFT

Zemeira Photo

Zemeira Singer, MFT reads her writing “The Game of Life” about her experiences working in community mental health in Alameda County California.  We discuss some of the personal, political, and professional dimensions of doing psychotherapy with families living in poverty.

Download episode here.

Zemeira currently does psychotherapy in private practice in Berkeley, CA.  She works with Adult Individuals and Couples, Children, Teens and Families on a variety of concerns including Adult Relationship Concerns, Blended Family Issues, Parenting Challenges, Teen-Parent Communication Issues, School Related Behavioral Problems and mood and attentional concerns like ADHD, Anger, Depression and Anxiety.

For more information on Zemeira Singer visit her website,

BANTR#4: Jeffrey Jamerson, MA

Jeffrey Jamerson Bio Detail

Jeffrey Jamerson, MA and Will Sherwin, MFT discuss Mr. Jamerson’s work with:

  • his history developing Expressive Remix with narrative therapy, expressive arts, and digital media arts with foster youth
  • the influence of Hip Hop and remix as a metaphor for change work
  • using digital media to develop pathways out of poverty

Download episode here.

Jeffrey Jamerson, MA in counseling psychology, PhD candidate at CIIS, has worked with foster youth for eighteen years. He is an assistant director of a foster care agency in Southern California. His early work as a filmmaker, DJ, and break-dancer showed him the power of story and creative self-expression. Hoping to create a shift in therapy with children, he has integrated narrative and expressive arts modalities with digital art, which he calls remix therapy. The objective of remix therapy is to re-vision a life story utilizing digital cameras, pictures, music, and voice-over.

Email Jeffrey Jamerson at


Expressive Remix’s Animated Mask activity

Expressive Remix’s digital story “Fostercare Blues”:

PeersTV interview with Beats Rhymes and Life co-founder Tomas Alvarez III and Domantae Wilson:


BANTR#3: The Musical Narrative Salon

On this episode of BANTR Radio, narrative therapists and social workers including Will Sherwin, Zemeira Singer, Scott Ralston, and Terry Becker discuss five songs that are evocative of narrative therapy principles.  Give a listen below.

Download episode here.

Nina Simone — “Ain’t Got No. . . I’ve Got Life”

Sixto Rodriguez — “This is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: or The Establishment Blues”

Eric Clapton — “Tears in Heaven”

Dar Williams and Joan Baez — “You’re Aging Well”

Solomon Burke — “Don’t Give Up on Me”

BANTR#2: Shoshana Simons, PhD, RDT

Download episode here.

Will Sherwin sat down with Shoshana Simons, PhD, RDT to discuss :

  • How she got involved with narrative therapy and drama therapy.
  • How she goes about teaching students in the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) Expressive Arts Therapy Program.
  • Her work using the Tree of Life and her newly co-developed “Laundry of Life”.
  • What keeps us inspired.

Shoshana Simons PhD, RDT is Chair of CIIS’s Expressive Arts Therapy Program. Shoshana has a rich background in integrating performance and expressive arts structures into multiple contexts of work with children and adults in educational, therapeutic and larger systems.

Over the last several years, Shoshana has focused on developing an expressive arts-centered approach to narrative therapy. In particular, she has co-developed an innovative narrative collective practice with EXA faculty member, Danielle Drake Burnette called “Laundry of Life” which they have been using locally and globally with groups and communities facing serious life issues and challenges.

Shoshana’s current interests include: narrative expressive arts therapy practices, the use of expressive arts modalities for promoting and maintaining mental health for therapists and human service workers, the role of expressive arts in leadership & social change, and arts-based research methods, especially Cooperative Inquiry methodology. Her personal arts practices include improvisational theater, sacred chanting, creative writing and poetry. She’s currently learning to play the didgeridoo. She is particularly interested in creating opportunities for students in the Expressive Arts Therapy program to be of joyful, creative service to under-served populations in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Jan. 24, 2015 Peggy Sax Training in SF!

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BANTR and BAFTTA are very excited to bring Peggy Sax, PhD. to San Francisco for a training entitled:

Reclaiming community out of  personal catastrophe:  Communal practices that build on naturally sustaining webs.

When:  Saturday Jan. 24th from 10am-6pm.

Location:  Bayside SF at 450 Sutter Street (btw. Stockton St. and Powell St.), Suite 300 in San Francisco 94108.

Six CEUs available for MFTs, MSWs, and PhDs.

Workshop Description:

Built on ethical foundations of collaborative, relationally responsible practices and choice, this workshop will engage participants in ‘communal’ ways of working with others that challenge traditional assumptions of therapy as an individualized experience. Through video, audio, storytelling and group experiential work, registrants will explore and engage therapeutic practices that assist clients suffering from psychological catastrophe – worst nightmare scenarios – through supportive operations of community engagement, peer-to-peer sustainability, and transformative actions of giving back to others.

Peggy Sax, PhD practices as a licensed psychologist, family therapist and clinical supervisor in Middlebury, Vermont. Her teaching is imbued with learning from firsthand experiences as a therapist in her small town New England community. Dr. Sax is also an international consultant and workshop presenter and Executive Director of Re-authoring Teaching, Inc – a global learning community. She is author of the book, Re-authoring Teaching: Creating a Collaboratory, and the article, Re-claiming Community Out Of Catastrophe: Communal Practices That Build on Naturally Sustaining Webs. Her passion is in facilitating transformative dialogues that build communities, strengthen naturally sustaining webs of support, and transcend the barriers of geography, professional status, and other culturally-imposed experiences of difference.

Workshop Learning Objectives

1. Registrants will critically assess assumptions and practices that challenge notions of therapy as an isolated experience, through deconstructing real-life examples of catastrophe and subsequent responses of restoration and healing.

2. Registrants will explore ways to attend to their clients’ naturally sustaining webs of connection, and to apply these practices in their own work, lives and communities;

3. Registrants will learn specific lines of inquiry to foster social connectedness, not only within the family, but toward restoring a person’s sense of community-mindedness, solidarity and purpose.

Evaluation Criteria:

Attendance at workshop

Participation in discussions and practice exercises

Reading of assigned article

Fill out Evaluation Form at end of workshop

“Peggy Sax’s presentation in Vancouver at TC X a couple years ago was inspiring then and I’ve thought about since.  Her work with people whose children have died from overdose and suicide was so different than a standard therapeutic approach.  She was honoring and connecting in ways that cultivated hope and respect.  She also brought videos and they weren’t in offices — often they were shot with people in their homes and gardens.  I wanted to bring her here because of the lasting influence her work has had on me.”  — Julia Wallace

This workshop is geared to those with at least a basic foundation in narrative therapy.

When:  Saturday Jan. 24th from 10am-6pm.

Location:  Bayside SF, 450 Sutter Suite 300 in San Francisco.

Six CEUs available for MFTs, MSWs, and PhDs.

$150 if registered before December 15th, $175 if after December 15th.

$100 for interns and students before December 15th, $125 after December 15th.

if check:

Julia Wallace

(on memo line please write: BANTR Training)

110 Gough St. Suite 402.

San Francisco, CA 94102.

if paypal, go to and send money to:

BAFTTA is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing professional education for psychologists. BAFTTA maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

BANTR Radio #1: Julia Wallace and Will Sherwin

Will Sherwin is producing an internet radio show, BANTR Radio,  conversing with narrative therapists and community workers around the world.

For the first episode, Will compiled a list of quotations that have been helpful in his work.  He discussed these quotations with  BANTR co-organizer and co-instructor, Julia Wallace, LCSW, a narrative therapist in private practice in San Francisco. For more information on Julia Wallace go to

Download BANTR Radio episode #1

Julia Wallace, LCSW

Will Sherwin, MFT

1)  “People are profoundly influenced by the discourses around them.” — AATBS Study Guide for 2010 MFT licensing exam.

2)  ” …the postmodern argument is not against the various schools of therapy, only against their posture of authoritative truth.” — Kenneth Gergen

3)  “Therapy tends to privilege the individual rather than the set of relationships in which that individual lives.” — Kenneth Gergen

4)   “Where there is power, there is resistance.” — Michel Foucault

5)   “The narrative approach is characterized by an unshakable belief in the incomplete nature of all oppressions.” — John Winslade and Lorraine Hedtke, Narrative Therapy in Practice:  The archaeology of hope.

6)   “All of us are weirdly-abled.” — Stephen Madigan and David Epston


What is the theory of change from this narrative perspective?  One of my responses would be that the rich development of a subordinate storyline provides a foundation for people to address the problems and predicaments of their life.  It makes it possible to engage in actions that are healing in response to the traumas of their past.  It is this rich story development that provides that foundation.  People become aware of some actions they could take that would be more in harmony with what they’re learning about what’s important to them, about what they give value to, and about what they intend for their life.

It’s through this rich story development that some of these other conclusions become more visible and become more  influential in the shaping life.  There’s quite a focus on establishing a context in which people are able to give voice to what it is they do give value to that’s been continuous through their live; that’s represented in a range of responses to their predicaments.  And what it is that people intend for their lives.  It’s the rich development of these conclusions about one’s intentions and what one gives value to that provides a wonderful foundation for people to proceed with their life.  Suddenly people become aware of a whole range of options that would be in harmony with what they give value to and what they intend for their life.

— Michael White, Trauma and Narrative Therapy Part 1, 27 min.

8)   “. . . restoring the dignity and honor of young people and their families.”

“. . . shame, indignity, and dishonor dissolve in rich stories.”

— David Epston