Stephen  Andrew Author of Evaluating Organization Development
FEATURED AUTHOR

Stephen Andrew

Senior Lecturer
Cairnmillar Institute

Stephen Andrew has taught counselling and psychology at La Trobe, Swinburne and Monash universities, at the Melbourne Institute for Creative Arts Therapy and Phoenix Institute. He is currently a Senior Lecture at the Cairnmillar Institute in Melbourne and sees individuals, couples and supervisees in his private practice. He lives with his partner Zoe and their two cats, Sigmund and Carl.

Biography

Since I was a very small boy, I have always been captivated by stories.
I remember my mother walking me down to the end of our street where, once a fortnight, the municipal library bus would bestill its rumbling diesel engine and hiss open its hydraulic doors. Through these doors were more tales than could be read in a lifetime. Deliciously overwhelming.  I was generally a quiet kid, but I do recall hassling repeatedly for an upgrade from my ‘child’ library ticket to an ‘adult’ one. Following a number of knockbacks (due to the trifling matter of my age) my nagging finally paid off and a deal was struck. I remember the heady power I felt the day all the big people’s books were finally unlocked and available to me.
Along with the library tickets, I also coveted my Uncle Will’s huge, two volume, leather-bound "Enquire Within" encyclopaedia set. These books smelled wise and musty. I don’t know how they came into my uncle’s possession, but there was an otherworldly quality about these volumes that suggested that the physicality of the books was a story in itself. The cream coloured pages held grainy, black and white photos and words and phrases that I didn’t understand. This only made these tomes more mysterious and interesting.
One day, possibly inspired by a couple of door-to-door spruikers, my father decided to buy the twenty-one volume "World Book" encyclopaedia. This was an expensive purchase and I didn’t actually believe he was telling the truth about them until the boxes of books actually arrived at our house. We kids had to wash our hands before we removed any of the snazzy, green-spined volumes from the bookshelf.
To me these encyclopaedias held the stories of the world. I remember reading the entries to every American president, from George Washington to the then incumbent Richard Nixon. President by president, I chronologically charted my own nine-year-old course in American political history. When the Watergate scandal broke, I KNEW that Nixon was innocent. He was The President. I’d read his story. What they said about him just couldn’t be true.
Nearly fifty years on, my work life is split between listening to stories and telling stories. I trained as a psychologist and spend half my working day sitting in a chair, listening, tracking, reflecting and seeking to understand the stories of my clients. In this role I’m an archaeologist, a midwife, a translator, a demolition worker, a detective and a novelist. Kind of like the Village People, but with only one person on stage. It is challenging, satisfying work. There is something mysterious, universal and eternal about the act of voicing a story. This courageous tale-telling is deeply therapeutic. It is an act that opens the possibility of change. My position description (‘to sit and listen’) describes a deeply rewarding occupation.
The other half of my work life is spent as a teacher educating trainee counsellors ‘to sit and listen’ to stories. I know of no better way of offering the curriculum of psychotherapy than to turn its concepts and theories into stories about the psyche. I toss tales of Freud, Jung, Rogers, science, art, literature, mystery, doubt, failure and triumph into the circle of students and wait for their stories in return. If I get nothing back I have probably failed to convey the facts and spirit that sit behind and within the theories. Alternatively, if I hear the students’ narratives rebound dynamically around the classroom I know some of them, at least, have made a connection and have understood. I learn a lot about what I am teaching when I listen to the students’ stories too.
Last year I wrote a book about telling, writing and disseminating stories. Autoethnography, memoir, life writing, biography, personal/social/political narratives of the lebenswelt, the dasein. Words of the ‘I’ speaking of the ‘me’, the ‘us’ and the ‘we’. The book is not so much about how to write or tell a story; more a guide for those who care about themselves and the people that they are writing about.
Sometimes stories get too much. Like that second or third glass of dessert wine. So I tell myself a tale of ‘enough’ and retreat to a quiet corner and take out my guitar. I tune it up, pick out little melodies and strum the strings. Sooner or later, however, the instrument is accompanied by me pulling a tune from within the chords. Inevitably, it’s not long before I’m singing: snatches of lyrics and phrases, sometimes whole songs. It’s the same, inescapable story, inhabiting another form.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    I am a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience working with individuals and couples. This work dovetails perfectly with my career as a lecturer and supervisor. I am deeply interested in person-centred psychotherapy, existential concerns, workplace burnout, and the demystification of psychological science. I have come to believe that psychotherapy and pedagogy are fields that depend primarily on the interpersonal relationship between all parties if these endeavours are to be successful.

Personal Interests

    My great passion (aside from psychotherapy and teaching) is playing, singing, performing and writing about music. I play a number of instruments and write my own material. I am musical director of the Stereo Stories musical troupe and have a number of stories published on their website, www.stereostories.com

Books

Featured Title
 Featured Title - Searching for an Autoethnographic Ethic - 1st Edition book cover

Articles

Psychotherapy in Australia, 21, (1), 101.

A broader, deeper practice


Published: Jan 01, 2014 by Psychotherapy in Australia, 21, (1), 101.
Authors: S. D. Andrew

Every person and every system has an Achilles heel - its point of greatest weakness and vulnerability. In the field of psychology this anatomical analogy might be applied to the discipline's often insistent claims of being a science. Drawing on the ideas of Wilber (2000), this article suggests that rather than clinging to a single and questionable epistemology, psychologists might do well to embrace a more humble and integral approach to their work.

Psychotherapy in Australia, 19, (1), 42-47.

The politics of self-care


Published: Jan 01, 2012 by Psychotherapy in Australia, 19, (1), 42-47.
Authors: S. D. Andrew & Z. Krupka

Person-centred counsellors face considerable challenges when confronted with the outcome-centred world that typifies modern organisational structures. In the language of the outcome-centred world, concepts such as 'work practices', 'outcomes', 'accountability', 'risk management' and 'quality' are valued. How does the person-centred counsellor, who speaks a language that values 'empathy', 'congruence' and 'unconditional positive regard', work in an outcome-centred world?

Psychotherapy in Australia, 18, (1), 52-56.

The person-centred counsellor and educator in an outcome-centred world.


Published: Jan 01, 2011 by Psychotherapy in Australia, 18, (1), 52-56.
Authors: S. D. Andrew
Subjects: Business, Management and Accounting

Person-centred counsellors face considerable challenges when confronted with the outcome-centred world that typifies modern organisational structures. In the language of the outcome-centred world, concepts such as 'work practices', 'outcomes', 'accountability', 'risk management' and 'quality' are valued. How does the person-centred counsellor, who speaks a language that values 'empathy', 'congruence' and 'unconditional positive regard', work in an outcome-centred world?

Psychotherapy in Australia, 17, (1), 61-62.

Therapeutic failure


Published: Jan 01, 2010 by Psychotherapy in Australia, 17, (1), 61-62.
Authors: S. D. Andrew

Some of the major everyday psychotherapeutic failures include the failure to listen, and the failure to understand. The feeling of being misunderstood tends to isolate individuals and alienate them from the rest of humanity leading to various mental health problems causing a feeling of failure, which needs to be addressed by psychotherapists.

WellBeing, 125, 108-113

Firestorm reflections


Published: Jan 01, 2010 by WellBeing, 125, 108-113
Authors: S. D. Andrew
Subjects: Social Psychology

On February 7th 2009 a series of large scale bushfires began a devastating course through large tracts of Victorian land. Originally created spontaneously as a cathartic/auto-therapeutic response to the fires, this series of written reflections became a first person, autoethnographic account of experiences in the wake of this disaster.

Psychotherapy in Australia, 16, (2), 55-56.

In search of odd wisdom


Published: Jan 01, 2010 by Psychotherapy in Australia, 16, (2), 55-56.
Authors: S. D. Andrew

Despite many decades of searching for a the perfect psychotherapeutic toolkit, this quest has so far had little positive impact on effective therapeutic outcomes. This article questions the basic concept that underlies the toolkit metaphor.

Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology

A challenge to the accuracy and efficacy of the concept of 'addiction'....


Published: Jan 01, 2000 by Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology
Authors: S. D. Andrew
Subjects: Sport Psychology

In the short time that problem gambling has been a major social and psychological concern, people suffering form this condition have accrued a sizable collection of labels aimed at accurately describing their situation. This paper will discuss two issues central to the acceptance or rejection of the words "addiction" and "addict" in the problem gambling field, namely the accuracy and efficacy of these terms. The importance of words and language in psychotherapy is also discussed.