Hello from beautiful Vancouver. I just wrapped up the daylong workshop with Bill Madsen titled Collaborative Helping: A Simple Map to Transform Relational Positioning. I first became a fan of Bill Madsen's work when I was introduced to his outstanding book Collaborative Therapy With Multi-Stressed Families in grad school. It was one of the few books from grad school that I re-visit again and again.
In today's workshop Madsen attempted to introduce us all to what he called disciplined improvisation through the use of a collaborative helping map he developed in an effort to operationalize family-centered values and principles to the often messy work of family therapy. His MAP or line of inquiry consisted of four parts (simplified considerably for this blog post):
Organizing Vision: Where do you want to be headed in your life?
Obstacles: What gets in the way? Supports: What supports you?
Plan: What needs to happen?
Madsen believes that through this MAP our relational stance, or how we are with people, will be transformed to a more collaborative approach. Our conceptual maps, or how we think of people and problems will shift, and our helping practices or what we do with people will be more ethical.
Anybody familiar with appreciative inquiry would find much to appreciate in Madsen's approach. Borrowing from the four D's of AI Madsen in his MAP rearranges the AI Dream phase to Vision and the AI Design phase to Plan. However, unlike appreciative inquiry's strength based focus, Madsen holds on to his poststructuralist cred by shifting the language of strengths and needs to one of supports and obstacles. All in an effort to move from the internal view of strengths as characteristics, to a more intentional view of strengths as skills of living, intentions, purposes, values, and hopes and dreams. It is in this shift that Madsen believes more interesting conversations can happen.
I was quite happy that I had the opportunity to spend the day learning from Bill Madsen. His presentation gave me much to think about. It was interesting to see how someone is integrating the principles of appreciative inquiry into narrative practice and how that may look. The conference is off to a great start for me, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the week. More later, but until then enjoy this Vancouver sunset I caught last night.