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The Systemic Way

Author: Sezer and Julie

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This podcast gives the listener an opportunity to hear conversations with people from the field of systemic psychotherapy. Host Sezer and Julie, two systemic psychotherapists, discuss a wide range of topics, theories, practices and experiences with their guests, giving the listener an insight into this disciplines contribution to social change.Artwork by Arai Drake Creative: by Rena Paid
49 Episodes
In this episode we speak with systemic  and narrative psychotherapist, Sabine Vermeire who discusses in detail her approach to working with children, young people and their families and carers using an attachment narrative approach to nurture belonging and open up therapeutic possibilities. We discuss Sabine's  wonderful paper "No child is an island: from attachment narratives towards a sense of belonging" (2021) and take a deeper look at her process, hearing about her approach, theory, case examples and her passion and joy for her inspiring work. Paper reference:Vermeire, S. (2021). No child is an island: from attachment narratives towards a sense of belonging. Journal of Family Therapy, 43(3), 414-425.New book link: Trauma and Weaving Resilience with Systemic and Narrative Therapy: Playful Collaborations with Children, Families and Networks (The Systemic Thinking and Practice Series) Bio:Sabine Vermeire has a Master’s degree in Psychological and Educational Sciences and graduated as a Systemic Psychotherapist (Interactie-Academie) and as a Narrative Therapist (Institute of Narrative Therapy). As a member of staff at the Interactie-Academie, a training center for systemic psychotherapy and counseling in Antwerp (Belgium), she works as a trainer, psychotherapist and supervisor in systemic, narrative and collaborative therapy. She is experienced in working with children, youngsters and families in challenging contexts like attachment problems, violence, abuse, psychiatric problems and trauma. She wrote several articles and book chapters on these subjects.For more than thirty years she worked with disadvantaged children, youngsters and their families. She strongly believes in the values they hold and together with them keeps on searching for ways to go on. What challenges her is to talk and work with young people and their parents or carers without reproducing abuse or violence in the conversations and still create possibilities in a collaborative way when speaking becomes difficult. This brought her the previous years on a quest finding ways of “talking off the beaten track” and work in creative ways. She use both interviews, reflecting team processes, witnesses and footage in her work.She is president of the Narrative, Dialogical and Collaborative Collective of The Low Lands (Belgium and The Netherlands) that organizes international conferences, workshops and other activities to share, develop and expand narrative, dialogical and collaborative practices, theory and gathering together as a community.Sabine wrote several books and articles (in English and in Dutch). A few of them in collaborations with the children or families she works with.
In this episode we focus on the special issue in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (JMFT) which reviews the efficacy and effectiveness of couple and family therapy from the last decade. We speak with editors of the review Dr Andrea Wittenborn and Dr Kendal Holtrop who share their process and insights into collaborating on the reviews creation, the value of research in family therapy and using research to connect to real life practice. Wittenborn, A. K., &  Holtrop, K. (2022).  Introduction to the special issue on the efficacy and effectiveness of couple and family interventions: Evidence base update 2010–2019. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy,  48,  5– 22. Andrea Wittenborn is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies. She also holds an appointment in the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Wittenborn obtained her Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2007, served on the faculty at Virginia Tech for seven years, and joined Michigan State University in 2014. Her research evaluates the process and outcomes of interventions for depression, including methods for personalizing treatment. As a clinical researcher, she tests interventions that target interpersonal mechanisms of depression with the goal of decreasing depressive symptoms and enhancing close relationships. Her work has been funded by federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as state, foundation, and intramural awards. Dr. Wittenborn has served in multiple leadership positions including Director of Graduate Studies, Governor-appointed member of the Michigan Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, National Institutes of Health grant reviewer, editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy effectiveness in couple and family therapy decade review issue, and Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, and Contemporary Family Therapy. She is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and an AAMFT Approved Clinical Supervisor. Dr. Wittenborn has received several awards for her research and mentoring of graduate students.Dr. Kendal Holtrop is an associate professor of human development and family studies. She obtained her PhD from Michigan State University in 2011, served on the faculty at Florida State University for six years, and then returned to MSU in 2017. Dr. Holtrop’s program of research focuses on parenting and parenting interventions, with the goal of addressing mental health disparities by expanding the reach of evidence-based parenting interventions among underserved populations. Her research activities include adapting and implementing evidence-based interventions in community settings as well as examining parenting practices and family processes to inform intervention work. Dr. Holtrop completed a Child Intervention, Prevention, and Services (CHIPS) training fellowship, funded by the national Institute for Mental Health, from 2015-2016. She is an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (term ending 2017) and an Advisory Editor for Family Process. She is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.
In this episode we speak with Kam Kaur (senior social worker/systemic practitioner) and Claire Field (social care consultant and managing director) as they share with us details of The Parenting Apart Programme. We hear about their personal and professional connections in developing  the programme and in working with separated parents in conflict. They share their wisdom and experience of how to support parents during these challenging and difficult processes as we get an insightful walk through the 7 steps of the programme; examples of the positive impact their work has had on families and; we talk through some of the systemic ideas that have influenced their work. Claire and Kam take us to the heart of their work with their passion and commitment to supporting families and achieving a positive social impact.You can find out more about their work on their website: can also watch their short film on there approach on:
In this episode we talk to systemic psychotherapist, consultant and filmmaker Charlotte Burck about her inspiration and process of making this personal film about the development of systemic family psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic, UK. Charlotte shares  professional and personal stories about this unique time and the joys and challenges of bringing this story to film. The film Working from the Margins. The development of systemic psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic can be viewed for free here: Charlotte Burck's Bio (taken from The Taos Institute):Charlotte is an honorary consultant systemic psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, and is director of the Family Therapy and Systemic Research Centre, a resource for systemic, social constructionist, narrative, dialogical therapists and researchers and the public. The FTSRC website, which is hosted on the Tavistock & Portman website, holds a database of research references pertinent to the field, of qualitative and process research, of effectiveness and outcome research, and of links to researchers and their websites.Charlotte worked for 25 years as a consultant systemic psychotherapist, trainer, supervisor and researcher in the child and adolescent mental health department of the Tavistock Clinic, where she did clinical work, carried out research and trained systemic clinicians at all levels. With David Campbell, she designed and then ran the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy, a research programme for systemic psychotherapists to explore clinical and organisational questions close to their heart. She had a special clinical interest in working with families who have experienced violence or high parental conflict.With her colleague Gillian Hughes, Charlotte set up a small team, Refugee Resilience Collective in March 2016, offering weekly narrative-systemic psychosocial and political resilience-based support to refugees and volunteers, in the Calais area, which continues offering weekly support to volunteers in Calais and to voluntary organisations working with refugees in Greece.Charlotte is the author of Multilingual Living. Explorations of Language and Subjectivity, based on her Phd research, and is co-author (with Gwyn Daniel) of Gender and Family Therapy, co-editor (with Gwyn Daniel) of Mirrors and Reflections: Processes in Systemic Supervision, co-editor (with Ellie Kavner & Sara Barratt) of Positions and Polarities in Contemporary Systemic Practice. The legacy of David Campbell, co-editor (with Bebe Speed) of Gender, Power and Relationships, She is the series editor (with Gwyn Daniel) of the Routledge Systemic Thinking and Practice Series, which commissions books from systemic and narrative psychotherapists, organisational consultants and others, relevant to the systemic, narrative and dialogical fields. Other publications can be located at: recently trained as a documentary film-maker, and to date has made two films featuring refugees. It remains crucial to her to develop and sustain connections with other systemic, social constructionist, narrative, and dialogical professionals, as well as to critical theorists and psychosocial colleagues, in order to sustain solidarity and creativit
In this episode Professor Vernon Cronen shares his journey in developing CMM. Professor Cronen talks about his relationship with Barnet Pearce, introducing the ideas in the UK and the current developments of CMM theory and practice. Vernon weaves his experiences with stories from his life giving us a colourful and intricate walk through his relationship with CMM. Prof. Vernon Cronen has been a member of the faculty of the University of Massachusetts, Department of Communication since 1970. He was for many years Senior Consultant at the KCC Foundation (Kensington Consultation Centre, London). He is also an Associate of CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution. Professor Cronen is best known for his work on the communication theory Coordinated Management of Meaning which he co-authored with Barnett Pearce. He has lectured and presented workshop in many places in the US and through Europe. Vernon Cronen is Co-author with Barnett Pearce of the book Communication, Action and Meaning: The Creation of Social realities . Cronen describes CMM as a “practical theory” that can also be put to critical purposes. As a practical theory it provides a grammar of action for joining with others to create new possibilities for joint action. He is author or co-author of numerous articles and book chapters in communication, psychology, and consultation. 
In this episode we meet with Consultant systemic psychotherapist Carol Halliwell as she shares her personal and professional connections with the Just Therapy team at the Family Centre in New Zealand.We explore the Just Therapy approach and hear how the guiding principles that underpin their work has influenced and guided Carol's practice for over 20 years. 
In this episode we meet with the one and only Monica McGoldrick as she takes us through her career and journey in using family genograms in her clinical work. We hear how Monica has developed her ideas throughout the years and the use of symbols, patterns and the importance of exploring life cycles. This is a unique opportunity of hearing a master therapist share her insights into the application of this integral tool in systemic family therapy. Monica McGoldrick, MSW, PhD (h.c.),  Director of the Multicultural Family InstituteTeacher, author and family therapist. She has an international reputation as a trainer and author. She is on the Clinical Faculty of the Psychiatry Department of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Her books include Ethnicity and Family Therapy (3rd ed), The Expanded Family Life Cycle (5th ed. 2017), Genograms (3rd ed), Living Beyond Loss (2nd ed), Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Race, Culture and Gender in Clinical Practice (2nd ed), Women in Families, and The Genogram Journey: Reconnecting with Your Family (2nd ed of You Can Go Home Again, 2011).  Her newest book the Genogram Casebook was published by W.W. Norton in 2016.  She is also the author of a number of clinical videos available through more of Monica's work at:
In this episode we discuss the mother and daughter relationship with Rosjke Hasseldine. Rosjke has spent almost 30 years working therapeutically with mothers and daughters and researching the factors that contribute to the complexity of this relationship. Rosjke has trained over1000 therapists and coaches from 20 different countries in her   Mother-Daughter Attachment training.In this conversation, Rosjke  some of her experiences, therapeutic interventions and the model she has developed (the mother and daughter attachment model) which is a very important contribution to this often ignored area of clinical research. Find out more about Rosjke;'s work at
In this episode we talk with systemic psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer Karen Partridge about the role of creativity and improvisation in systemic supervision. Karen takes us on a journey of metaphors through "swampy lowlands", "constructive awkwardness", "positioning compass" and her "rememberall".Karen shares her ideas of connecting to our creative selves and how to embrace it within the supervision process.
Welcome back after a short summer break.In this episode we reflect on the wonderful AFT 2022 Conference entitled: Transgenerational stories of hope across cultures; old wisdoms and new truths which was host by the West Yorkshire AFT at the Queens Hotel in Leeds.We share our reflections, highlights and the experience of the conference and also speak to attendees, presenters and organisers about their favourite moments and what the conference meant to them.Massive thank you for everyone who took their time to speak with us and in this episode we feature:Carole HuntHugh PalmerPaul WaltonDiane Holdsworth Kevin SimmonsDiane MorrisonMichaela Wickham-HillsMarian DixonHannah SherberskyApologies for those we spoke with at the conference but could not include due to some audio issues. 
In this episode we meet with the filmmakers of the documentary film "KCC Stories Lived and Stories Told" which was premiered at the AFT conference 2021.  We meet with the creators, Rick Murphy, Helen Mahaffey, Ayesha Aslam, Mark Chidgey and Karen Partridge as they share their reflections on key moments from the film, their thoughts on making the film and their memories of the KCC and what it means to them. We invite you to all watch the film (if you haven't already) and  share in  reflecting about the memory and legacy of the KCC.You can watch the full film here: do share with us your reflections, memories and thoughts about the KCC, the documentary and this episode at
Dr Imelda McCarthy PhD. joins us to share the story, development and practice of the Fifth Province. Imelda talk with us about how the Fifth Province evolved within the context of Ireland, the wider systemic community and the connections it has with spirituality. She gives us examples of using the myth  in practice and how the model invites space into the therapy room. We also hear about thematic diamonds and to work with oppositional positions. Dr Imelda  McCarthy, PhD. is a systemic/social constructionist therapist, supervisor and consultant.   She has affiliations with School of Applied Social Science at University College Dublin where she was a director of the PhD program in families and systemic therapies and a senior university lecturer. She currently works in private practice while she teaches and consults nationally and internationally.  Imelda is also affiliated with Kensington Consultation Centre (London, UK), is on the faculty of the TAOS institute PhD programme. She has written and presented both nationally and internationally in over 20 countries on the topics of Women, Child Sexualised Abuse, Poverty and Spirituality and Therapy. From 1981 – 1995 Imelda was a member of a clinical team, the Fifth Province Associates whose work along with her own has been translated into eight languages. She is also a co-founder of the Irish Family Therapy Association and Ireland’s first professional training programme in family therapy at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin.Check out Imelda's
Introducing our new podcast adventure - The Systemic Lens. We are a group of systemic therapist with a love for film, TV, music, literature and theatre and will be using systemic theory to share our reflections, thoughts and resonances on some our our favourites. Through these podcast we hope to expand the bounds of systemic application and offer alternative forms of analysis to film, TV, Music, literature etc. We also hope to provide new ways for people to connect with systemic ideas.We begin with an a systemic exploration of the classic Wizard of Oz and discuss issues of gender, power and the discovery of self through relationships. Enjoy. 
In this episode we talk with Dr Ged Smith about his ideas on taking a 1.5 order position in therapy. Ged introduces us to the meaning of the 1.5 order position and shows us ways to operate within and between first and second order positions from his own experience. In this podcast we discuss the therapeutic conundrums and tensions between the therapists  position as expert and collaborator; having certainty and exploring and knowing and not-knowing.
Nick Pendry is a social worker and family therapist. He is currently employed as the deputy director of children's services at the London Borough of Wandsworth. He identifies as a Brown-Indian man. Nick has worked in various roles in the NHS and local authority children’s services. He is particularly interested in embedding systemic ideas and practices into children’s social care and in the construction of race and racism.In this conversation Nick Pendry shares his thoughts and reflections on race and racism and how they inform and shape his practice. Nick invites us to consider our own positions and how together we can open the door to more authentic, meaningful and transformative conversations about race and racism. 
In this episode we hear about Inga-Britt Krause's professional life with a focus on race and equity - the importance of teaching it and the nuances that need to be held in mind. The conversation is framed around her paper "Can we teach race and equity? (2022)" and we hope it invites a lens of curiosity and reflection on where we are at with race and equity as a systemic community.Inga-Britt Krause is Training and Development Consultant with special reference to race and equity at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust where she also worked as a Consultant Systemic Psychotherapist in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. She first trained as a Social Anthropologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science and teaches widely, nationally and internationally, on the subject of social science and psychotherapy and about the place of culture and race in clinical practice and theory.Paper discussed in this episode:Krause, I. B. (2022). Can we teach race and equity?. Journal of Family Therapy, 44(1), 157-170.New publication:Barbetta, P., Cavagnis, M. E., Krause, I. B., & Telfener, U. (2022). Ethical and aesthetic explorations of systemic practice: New critical reflections. Taylor & Francis.
Dr Victor Yalom, founder of joins the Systemic Way in a conversation about developing your best therapeutic self. We hear about his experiences of becoming a therapist, creating and also tips on developing a more dynamic, authentic self so that you can better connect with and support your clients along their therapeutic journey. Being self-aware, comfortable sitting with difficult emotions, and truly present for our clients are essential skills that cannot be learned from books and classes. Yet these are key to forming strong therapeutic alliances and promoting meaningful growth and change.Dr Victor Yalom shares his ideas on continuing professional development beyond the books whether you’re an established clinician with years of experience or a new practitioner just starting out.
In this episode, Julie and Sezer speak with Gwyn Daniel about her connection to politics and systemic thinking and how she navigates the two in the systemic community. Gwyn talks about gender, power, class and geography in this rich and insightful episode.Gwyn Daniel is a Systemic Family Therapist, Trainer, Clinical Supervisor  and co-founder of the Oxford Family Institute. She has authored or co-authored many professional books and articles and we welcome Gwyn back to talk to us about this important topic.
In this episode we explore the personal and professional journey of Hesther Selbeck, a Dutch Systemic Psychotherapist and developer of Contextual Equine Therapy. Hesther takes us on a ride through the development, theory and practice that underpins her model. Contextual Equine Therapy is a form of systemic therapy in which horses are used as co-therapists. The interaction with the horses provides a (deep) experiential form of therapy in which clients come into contact with their emotions and are mirrored in their behavior. During the treatment, two psychotherapeutic methods are united: equine therapy (Eagala Model) and systemic therapy. The Eagala Model sees the horse as a sensitive co-therapist, the team facilitates. Equine therapy focuses on the emotional experience and giving meaning to the behavior of the animals in response to client(s).Hesther Selbeck has developed this treatment based on her background and expertise as a systems therapist in Child and Youth Mental Health Care. There she encountered a challenge in changing patterns between family members and generating hope and perspective. She questioned the context of the clinic on the psychiatric behavior of young people. While traveling on horseback through Mongolia, she discovered a process of interaction between her and the horse. There was an interaction going on. These insights and experiences became the basis for the approach. 
In this episode we are honoured to speak with Ncazelo Ncube-Mlilo, where we discuss her work with a focus on the COURRAGE approach that she has developed with women who have experienced trauma.  COURRAGE is a collective narrative way of working that privileges the alternative stories of women who have faced significant hardships. It honours the strengths, skills and courage women show and use in the face of sorrow and grief.Ncazelo talks us through the different stages of the model and shares stories about how it was co-created and reflections in the women's experiences.  This is an inspiring and insightful talk with a practitioner who takes us into the heart of her practice. Ncazelo Ncube-Mlilo, the pioneer of Tree of Life through her organisation PHOLA  provides training and supervision in many countries where the methodology is used to support practitioners to remain rooted to the values and principles that inform it. The trainings offered seek to ensure fidelity in the use, application and adaptation of the methodology and contribute towards promoting culturally sensitive therapies.She developed other culturally sensitive counselling tools namely; COURRAGE Methodology and NARRATIVES IN THE SUITCASE Project. Find out more about Ncazelo and PHOLA at: 
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