Congratulations Dr. Colin Sanders on your successful doctoral defense Monday, September 15 at Tilburg University in the Netherlands

On Monday, September 15 Colin successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at Tilburg University, the Netherlands in conjunction with the Taos Institute – Colin’s defense was witnessed by, amongst others, his mother Noreen, and two of his eight siblings, Shauna and Kevin, and Colin’s companion of many years, Gail Marie Boivin. Colin informs me the spirit of his father, Rocky, was omnipresent throughout the proceedings and the celebration. Described as ‘irreverent, creative and brilliant’ Colin’s dissertation is entitled Narrative Poetics of Resistance: Towards An Aesthetics of Engagement. In Colin’s inimical, poetic and erudite style, Narrative Poetics describes the multiple influences expressed in the creation and co-evolution of a residential community for young persons’ struggling with substance use dilemmas called Peak House, now in its 27th year of continuous operation.

photoThe dissertation also represents a compelling tapestry of insights and ideas originating from Michael White, David Epston, Sheila McNamee, Harlene Anderson, Imelda McCarthy and the writing/thinking/practices of others taken up in Colin’s uniquely sensitive, scholarly and mellifluous way. Within the body of the dissertation, Colin articulates his vision of therapeutic practice as a sacred act, and also traces the history of family therapy in North America and Western Europe, highlighting the convergences between theoretical perspectives and philosophies. No doubt this original work will soon find its way into book form.

Included in Colin’s Taos Institute dissertation committee were co-founder of The Taos Institute, Sheila McNamee, along with Jeff Chang and Harlene Anderson, among the most well-known scholar/practitioners of our times. Drs. John B. Rijsman, J. Goedee and Ottar Ness represented Tilburg University.

Committed to the belief that social constructionist ideas have powerful and positive implications for human life and well-being, a group of scholars and practitioners came together to found the Taos Institute 20 years ago. The co-founders were Sheila McNamee and Kenneth Gergen, along with Harlene Anderson, David Cooperrider, Mary Gergen, Suresh Srivastva and Diana Whitney. All of whom met through various relational connections and had such an affinity towards the ideas of social construction that they wanted to create a space to explore these theoretical ideas and how they were living out in practice. Colin is now an Associate with The Taos Institute, and plans on remaining involved with this group, and contributing to the intriguing research and generative ideas and practices long associated with the institute and social constructionist, narrative, and collaborative work in the areas of pedagogy and therapeutic practice.

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Congratulations Colin!