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A Narrative Revolution: Conversations with Steve Gaddis
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A Narrative Revolution: Conversations with Steve Gaddis

Author: Narrative Therapy Initiative

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Steve Gaddis was a highly skilled marriage and family therapist, teacher, and mentor who was captured by narrative therapy ideas early in his training and became one of Narrative’s greatest fans. In 2020, Steve was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. At the time, he was working to complete a book he had been writing for 10 years. Steve’s dream was to share his passion for narrative ideas and practices — and what they can make possible for people’s lives — with everyone and anyone, not just therapists. He founded the Narrative Therapy Initiative in Salem, Massachusetts, which provides trainings in narrative and supports a growing community of narrative practitioners.

In December 2021, it became clear that Steve’s treatments were not working, and that he likely would not finish his book. His dear friend, colleague, and writing partner Sarah Beth Hughes arranged and recorded four conversations between Steve and some of his closest narrative friends and colleagues. In this 4-part series, Steve discusses major themes from his book, and talks about how narrative ideas and practices saved his life — and helped him continue to live a life of joy and purpose after his cancer diagnosis. You will learn about his vision of a Narrative Revolution, of a world where people help each other give problem stories less power, help each other become more clear about what we care about, and help each other create new and preferred stories about ourselves that fit with our values and beliefs.

To learn more about Steve Gaddis or narrative therapy, visit the Narrative Therapy Initiative website at:

To support Steve’s Narrative Revolution, consider making a donation to the Narrative Therapy Initiative:

We would like to thank Will Sherwin for writing and providing the music for this series. Will wrote this song as a tribute to Steve following a 24-hour narrative, global story-a-thon that Steve conceived and produced to bring people together virtually during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

We would also like to thank Will Gaddis for creating the artwork and Laurel Gaddis for helping with production.

5 Episodes
Episode 4: Hello Cancer

Episode 4: Hello Cancer


How do you manage a terminal cancer diagnosis? How do you continue to live a meaningful, joyful life without fear and anxiety paralyzing you? In this episode, Steve talks with Darcey Surette, a narrative  therapist living and working in the Boston area and the Executive Director of the Narrative Therapy Initiative. You will also hear briefly from Steve’s wife, Ashley. In this conversation, Darcey and Steve discuss how the narrative community he had created through his teaching and training held him and his family tightly through his diagnosis and treatment. And how this community —  through skillful curiosity and tender care — helped him create a preferred relationship with cancer that allowed him to actively live with meaning and purpose and love, even as he was dying. 
Nothing was more important to Steve than creating intimate relationships with people. To him, everyone mattered, and everyone deserved to know they mattered. In this episode, Steve talks with Greg Bodine, a narrative therapist living and working in the Boston area, and the Community Relations Director at the Narrative Therapy Initiative. Greg first met Steve as a student, and in this episode, they discuss their first meeting, how Steve’s way of relating to his students impacted Greg, and how helping people know they matter requires curiosity, a deep appreciation for what the person cares about, and community. 
How do we know what is true about ourselves and our lives? Who decides what is true, for us and for others? How can we learn to create our own preferred truths? In this episode, Steve talks with Suzanne Gazzolo, a narrative therapist and Narrative Therapy Initiative faculty member living and working in Chicago. She and Steve explore the chapter of his book where he questions what is true, and how important it is to uncover the sneakiness of culturally powerful truths. They discuss the difference between facts and truths, and the urgency of helping people to make their own meanings — or preferred truths — about events and relationships in their lives. 
What is narrative therapy and what is a Narrative Worldview? In this episode, Steve talks with Amy Druker, a narrative therapist who lives and works in Toronto and is on the teaching faculty at the Narrative Therapy Initiative. Steve describes how he first learned about narrative therapy in his graduate studies, why he was immediately drawn to its ethics of curiosity and accountability when helping people, and how the Narrative Worldview became the guiding principle of how he worked and how he lived.
Welcome to A Narrative Revolution: Conversations with Steve Gaddis. In this 4-episode series, you will meet Steve and some of his closest friends and colleagues. After Steve was diagnosed with cancer, he met weekly on Zoom with these friends, who provided valuable feedback and encouragement on his book, as well as love, curiosity, and tenderness as he navigated cancer. This group met on Sundays and playfully became known as Steve’s church group. This trailer provides a short introduction to Steve, this series, and his dream of a Narrative Revolution.
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