Category Archives: Uncategorized

#14: Danielle Drake, MA

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On this episode Will Sherwin talks with Danielle Drake, MA from the San Francisco Bay Area.  Danielle performs two of her spoken word poems, we discuss African-centered psychologies, her journey to becoming a clinical psychologist, song lyrics evocative of therapeutic principles, teaching narrative and expressive arts practices at CIIS, sky-diving and more!

Danielle is on the core faculty of the California Institute of Integral Studies’ Expressive Arts Program in San Francisco, CA.  She is also a PhD. candidate at the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara.  Her dissertation is entitled, “Spirituality and Creativity Among Culturally Empowered African-Americans: A Legacy of Empowered Community Liberation.”

Danielle Drake can be reached at and she would love to hear your reflections.

Show Notes:

[35:19} “The challenge mindset” from the book:

The Triumph of the Soul:  Cultural and Psychological Aspects of African American Music

by Ferdinand Jones, Arthur C. Jones, ed.


[39:36]  “I feel the other, I dance the other, therefore I am.” — Leopold Sedar Senghor.

[47:32}  Gregory Porter — “Painted on Canvas”


[1:10:27]  “The will to adorn”

[1:11:48]  Outkast — “So Fresh, So Clean”


[1:16:01]  Carolyn Malachi — “Beautiful Dreamer”

#13: Art Fisher and Nancy MacDonald

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On this episode Will Sherwin and Scott Ralston talk with Art Fisher and Nancy MacDonald, co-founders of the Nova Scotia Trauma-Informed Network and Directors of the Family Service Agencies of Western and Eastern Nova Scotia respectively.  We discuss honoring people’s response-skills to violence, thinking critically about the language of trauma-informed care, the social determinants of health, “going rogue” and more.

Art Fisher can be reached at

Nancy MacDonald can be reached


Will Sherwin, LMFT works in Irvine, CA and can be reached at

Scott Ralston, LCSW works in Oakland, CA and can be reached at


Show References:

CHNET-WORKS! Webinar #437 Family Violence Prevention – Building Trauma Informed Communities with Nancy McDonald and Art Fisher.

Health, Illness, Men and Masculinities (HIMM): a theoretical framework for understanding men and their health” by Dr. Blye Frank.

Decolonizing Trauma Work by Renee Linklater.

#12: Painted Brain — Let’s Bridge Communities

illustration by Larry Rozner

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On this episode Will Sherwin talked with contributors of Painted BrainKazuki Takizawa, James Giaquinto, Tristan Scremin, Naomi Barrett, and Angela Tuckerman.  Painted Brain is a Los Angeles-based organization that creates lasting community-based solutions to mental health challenges and the impact of social injustice through arts, advocacy, and enterprise.


We discuss Painted Brain‘s history, personal stories of navigating mental health systems, principles and practices of making a “cool place to hangout”, and lots more.


Painted Brain‘s new headquarters is located at 5980 W Pico Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90035.


Visit their website at


(L to R) James, Will, Angela, Tristan, Kazuki, (Naomi left early)


Show links:


[28:30] “My Brain” by Morphine


[57:30] “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” (Cheers TV Theme Song)


[1:17:22] “I Do Myself” by The Evens


Glossary of acronyms used in the episode:
DMH — Department of Mental Health
MSW — Master’s of Social Work
OT — Occupational Therapy
VA — Veteran Affairs
YBCA — Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

#11: Dr. Travis Heath on Hip Hop and Narrative Therapy

Travis Heath and Will Sherwin sat down at’s 2017 Narrative Camp to discuss Travis’s work using hip hop and narrative therapy, subverting the systems of academia, police murder of young people of color in the United States, and more. Dr. Travis Heath is a psychologist in private practice, associate professor of psychology at MSU Denver and has served as a team consultant in the NBA. He can be reached at

Listen here:

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Show Notes:

[23:54] Oli — “Closer to My Dreams

[45:18] Public Enemy – “We Got Game”

“We Got Game” lyrics here.

[48:50] Lauryn Hill – “Black Rage”

“Black Rage” lyrics here.

[50:34] J Cole – “Be Free”

“Be Free” lyrics here.

[1:32:36] Narrativa-Mente Podcast by Luigi Frezza

[1:34:17]Saas – “Lonely Conscious”

Facebook: WolfSasuke

All instrumental tracks were produced by The Passion HiFi.

BANTR#10: LA PoMo Gathering Song Discussion

Picture by Lucy Cotter, 1994

Will Sherwin facilitated and recorded a conversation about songs evocative of narrative practice principles at the Los Angeles PoMo Gathering, April 9th, 2017 with five other therapists from Los Angeles: Charley Lang, Pritika Sehgal, Kerry Thorne, Lucy Cotter, and Larry Zucker.

Send questions, comments, or suggestions to

Listen here:

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The songs:

[3:24] “Sweet Inspiration” by The Sweet Inspirations, 1967 (written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, Muscle Shoals, AL USA).

Song lyrics here. 

[14:41] “The Words Don’t Fit the Picture” by Willie Nelson, 1972 (Texas, USA).

Song lyrics here. 

[30:00] “A Song of Survival” by David Denborough, Dulwich Centre (Adelaide, Australia).

[41:46] “Rose From the Concrete” by artists involved with Beats, Rhymes, and Life Inc.,  2015 (Oakland, CA USA)

[54:03] “Powerful Man” by Hop Along, 2015 (Philadelphia, PA USA).

Song lyrics here.

[1:17:36] “Done It Again” by Friendly Males, Los Angeles, 2015. 

BANTR#9: Collective Audio Bouquet

On this episode Will Sherwin compiled short excerpts from existing podcasts and radio shows from 2005-2015 featuring the voices of narrative therapists.  See below for show notes and links to the full original episodes.

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Show Notes

[1:33]  Michael White (Adelaide, South Australia)
Listen to the full episode on the “All in the Mind” radio program
October 2005 interview by Gretchen Miller on narrative therapy principles, katharsis, the story of Frederick, stream of consciousness, memory and trauma.

“There are often storylines that contradict the dominant storyline and I sometimes think about them as the subordinate stories of life. We can play a part in helping people to redevelop these stories of life and to elevate them and they provide a foundation for possibility in life.”

“If in some way they were moved on account of witnessing this performance then it was kathartic. The word moved was generally meant in much broader terms like if on account of witnessing this, the person had new understandings about aspects of their own history or if they’d re-engaged with values that had been precious to them that they had forsaken. or if they had new ideas for conversations with members of their own family etc. then it was kathartic, it had been literally transporting of them.”

[9:27]  Donald Bubenzer, PhD. (Kent, Ohio)
Listen to the full episode on the Counselor Audio Source podcast and read the show notes.
June 2006 interview by Tom Newman discussing narrative therapy principles, letter-writing, Michael White, and more.  Dr. Bubenzer is a Professor at Kent State University.

[19:31]  Walter Bera, PhD. (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Listen to the full episode on The Secular Buddhist podcast
June 2010 interview discussing ideas of self in Buddhism and Western psychology.
Dr. Walter Bera is the Director of the Kenwood Therapy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

[27:03]  Pamela Smithbell, MA, LLPC, NCC, SPADA (Suttons Bay, Michigan)
Listen to the full episode on Harm Reduction Radio.
May 2012 interview by Kenneth Anderson on postmodern and collaborative approaches to addiction treatments, meditation groups, and guided imagery.

[31:41]  Jay S. Levy, MSW, LICSW (Western Massachusetts)
Listen to the full episode on Harm Reduction Radio.
July 2012 interview by Kenneth Anderson on Levy’s book, “Homeless Narratives and Pretreatment Pathways: From Words to Housing”.  For more information visit Jay Levy’s website.

[35:50]  Chené Swart, PhD. (South Africa)
Listen to the full episode on the Tamarack Institute podcast.
January 2014 interview by The Tamarack Institute on the power of community in storytelling and the power of storytelling in community.
Dr. Chene Swart is based out of South Africa and does international training, coaching, and consulting applying a re-authoring approach to co-constructing alternative narratives that guide communal and individual agency.  For more information on Chené Swart visit her website here.

[39:04]  Art Fisher and Nancy McDonald (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Listen to the full episode at CHNET-Works! #437 Family Violence Prevention webinar
February 2015 webinar on trauma-informed counseling including a critical discussion of the dominant ways of talking about trauma and new definitions of trauma. Nancy MacDonald is Director of Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia and Art Fisher is Director of Family Service of Western Nova Scotia.   Visit their website at

[46:08]  Lorraine Hedtke, PhD. (Santa Barbara, California)
Listen to the full episode on the Good Grief Voice America podcast.
August 12, 2015 interview by Cheryl Jones on narrative-informed principles of grief based on “saying hullo again” instead of saying goodbye.

Lorraine Hedtke MSW, ACSW, LCSW, Ph.D. is the program coordinator and an associate professor of counseling and guidance & PPS Credential program, San. She is also the proprietor of The Fabula Center a counseling and training center in Redlands, California.  For more information visit her website at

[53:14] Ana Louise Keating, PhD. (Dallas, Texas)
Listen to the full episode on The Radical Therapist podcast.
August 23, 2015 interview by Dr. Chris Hoff on her book “Transformation Now! Toward a Post-Oppositional Politics of Change”. They discuss both oppositional approaches to change along with alternatives to opposition.

The Radical Therapist has many great episodes exploring the intersections of collaborative therapy, philosophy, art, and science & technology in a post-Freud, post-psychology world. Chris Hoff has recently started The Radical Therapist YouTube channel as well.


Email Will Sherwin at with comments or questions.

–Collective Audio Bouquet photo taken by Will Sherwin in San Francisco, CA.

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.

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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!

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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

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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