Practice to make a difference.

Narrative Therapy in Wonderland: Connecting With Children's Imaginative Know-How

Recognizing the power of children’s imaginations in narrative therapy.

Therapists may marvel at children's imaginative triumphs, but how often do they recognize such talents as vital to the therapy hour? Should therapists reserve a space for make-believe only when nothing is at stake, or might it be precisely those moments when something truly matters that imagination is most urgently needed?

This book offers an alternative to therapeutic perspectives that treat children as vulnerable and helpless. It invites readers to consider how the imaginative gifts and knowledge of children, when supported by the therapist and family, can bring about dramatic change.

The book begins with an account of the foundations of narrative theory. It explains how such elements as language, characterization, and suspense contribute to the coherence of a story and bring young people into focus.

Each subsequent chapter provides specific suggestions for the practice of narrative therapy. Examples of the difficulties children face are offered, along with narrative interventions and tips for overcoming common barriers that can arise along the way. Readers will learn a variety of ready-to-implement strategies, including how to personify problems, compose letters to affirm children's identities, summon fairies to lend a helping hand, and many more. Sample dialogues between the authors, children, and their parents bring the application of each practice to life, illuminating how even the most stubborn problem can be outwitted, sometimes by mischievous means.

With robust professional insight, Narrative Therapy in Wonderland will aid any practitioner in calling on children's imaginative know-how. How often can a young person be spotted diving headlong into a world of fantasy? This book explores the extraordinary fact that these young people may, upon arrival in Wonderland, be far better equipped to take on even dire challenges than when they remain "up above."


  • Introduction: Kindling Our Imaginations: Down the Rabbit Hole We Go!
  • Chapter 1. Elements of Narrative: The Plot Thickens
  • Chapter 2. In Pursuit of Children's Virtues: The Wonderfulness Interview
  • Chapter 3. Meeting Problems in Wonderland
  • Chapter 4. Where's the Fun in It?
  • Chapter 5. The Therapist's Imagination Lends Inspiration
  • Chapter 6. The Relational Composition of Identity: Letters, Testimony, and Ritual
  • Chapter 7. Weird Science: Imagination Lost
  • Chapter 8. It's All Mom's Fault! A Figment of the Imagination
  • Chapter 9. Grow Me Up—Grow Me Down: Travails with Sneaky Poo and Sneaky Wee
  • Chapter 10. "Somebody Needs to Pay!" A Young Man's Coming of Age in a Culture of Male Domination and Entitlement
  • Chapter 11. Making Progress Toward Progress
  • Epilogue. Imagination Revived

Author Bio:

David Marsten, LCSW, is the director of the Miracle Mile Community Practice in Los Angeles.

David Epston, M.A., C.Q.S.W. is co-author of Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends (1990) and Playful Approaches to Serious Problems (1997). He is a visiting professor at the School of Community Studies, UNITEC Institute of Technology in Auckland, and is the co-director of the Family Therapy Centre in Auckland, NZ.

Laurie Markham, MA, MFT, is a practicing therapist and teaches in master’s programs at Cal State University San Bernardino and Pepperdine University.


Narrative Therapy in Wonderland: Connecting With Children's Imaginative Know-How

Author: Marsten, Epston & Markham

$55.95 Add to Cart

Customers who Purchased this item also purchased

  • Stopping the Pain

    Stopping the Pain

    by Lawrence E. Shapiro

    Stopping the Pain: A Workbook for Teens Who Cut and Self Injure If you're cutting or hurting yourself you're not alone. Thousands of teens across the country think that hurting themselves is the only way they can feel better, even though they continue to feel alone and out of control. There are a lot of reasons why teens hurt themselves. None of them are your fault. You can't change your past, but there is a lot you can do, right now, to make your future a place you'd like... More info

    $38.95 Add to Cart
  • When Someone you Love has Depression

    When Someone you Love has Depression

    by Barbara Baker

    Supporting a family member or friend with depression can be demanding and draining. This book looks at the sometimes forgotten population involved in depression, and emphasises that if someone in the family is suffering, it’s not your fault. *Topics include:* Types of depression  Treatments - counselling Dealing with health professionals Diet and exercise Looking after yourself without feeling guilty A New section on mindfulness–based cognitive therapy Antidepressant drugs Making space for your own needs Further resources *Author Bio:* *Barbara Baker *is a therapist and lives in Truro,... More info

    $17.99 Add to Cart
  • Genograms Assessment and Intervention

    Genograms Assessment and Intervention

    by McGoldrick, Gerson and Petry

    Widely used by both family therapists and all health care professionals, the genogram is a graphic way of organizing the mass of information gathered during a family assessment and finding patterns in the family system for more targeted treatment. Now updated and expanded in its third edition, and featuring revised genograms for easier reading, reflecting the growing and widespread use of genograms for clinical intervention, this best-selling text provides a standard method for constructing a genogram, doing a genogram interview, and interpreting the results. Genograms of famous families—Sigmund Freud, Woody Allen... More info

    $59.95 Add to Cart