Assessment and narrative practice by Jake Peterson

This video explores the danger of a single story in traditional mental health assessments, and presents an alternative assessment tool that seeks to contribute to rich story development while satisfying organisational requirements. This double-storied assessment tool elicits stories of strength and hope alongside stories of difficulty. The work draws on the maps of narrative practice and discusses six aspects of the assessment tool: structuring safety, externalising conversations, re-membering conversations, unique outcomes, deconstruction and documentation. Transcripts from case examples are used to demonstrate the use of the assessment tool. The tool can be used by narrative practitioners and other mental health professionals who are required to administer assessments and wish to resist pathologising approaches and to invite practices of accountability into their work.

You can also read Jake Peterson’s paper, Moving beyond the single story: using a double-storied assessment tool in narrative practice, published in the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community work, 2021.

Subscribe to the journal for access to the rest of this issue and all of the other papers that have been published.

Author biography
Jake Peterson (he/him) is a narrative therapist, supervisor and community worker based in Melbourne. He has worked as a community worker for over 10 years in Australia and the US across different communities, including in child protection and mental health contexts. He is currently working with sex, sexuality and gender diverse communities in a counselling setting. Jake is particularly interested in queer-affirming narrative practices, moving beyond the single story and resisting pathologising practices. In 2021, Jake completed a Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work at The University of Melbourne. His writing is available at

Published on December 16, 2022

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Sarah

    Thank you, Jake for your insight.

    This has given me a different perspective on what assessment should look like in terms of developing rich story lines. I will be taking this into consideration when it comes to engaging with the people I am privileged to work with.


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