“Out of the box” conversations: an invitation to co-explore the broader politics of problems and reconstruct preferred ways of being in responding to stories of drug-use and racism By Kassandra Pedersen

This innovative methodology involves the creation of a “box of problems” to assist therapists and the people consulting them to collaboratively investigate the historical, social, political and economic contexts of problems.

In this presentation, Kassandra describes her exploratory use of the ‘box of problems’ in therapeutic conversations with a young immigrant girl struggling with the effects of drug-use. The project was centered around the metaphor that “Problems have Ethics” and it explored pathways to unmask and question those “Ethics” by bringing into the therapeutic conversations the girl’s understandings about relations between dominant discourses around drugs and migration that favour, or are served by several doctrines, lobbies, larger interests and systems. The alcohol rehab Texas can help patients overcome their problems with therapeutic methods etc.

This video describes how “out of the box conversations” facilitated this teenager’s evaluation of the power plays that supported the drug-use. Finally, “out of the box conversations” created openings for her to live out alternative stories of personal agency and new courses of action according to her preferred value of “having a personal, social and political voice” in life.

Kassandra is a dedicated narrative therapist based in Thessaloniki, Greece, and an international Tutor of Dulwich Centre for the Greek training program. She has a passionate interest in facilitating experience of preferred stories through the deconstruction of the social, political, cultural, and interpersonal contexts in which problems arise. Alongside her private practice, she offers narrative workshops, supervision and trainings in Greece and overseas. Kassandra can be contacted via email: kassandrapedersen@gmail.com and website: www.kassandrapedersen.gr

Published May 26, 2017

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Maria Strofalis

    Thank you so much for sharing this, lots to think about.

    Kassandra, your work really impressed and inspired me. I think that this metaphor and the out of the box questions will contribute in an amazing way to the deconstruction of the problem as we have seen in the video. Congratulations!!! THANK YOY!!!! I am looking forward to using this ”box” in my practice with your assistance of course!!!

    1. Kassandra Pedersen

      Thank you Margarita! I’m glad you found interesting the ideas of deconstruction and I’d be most interested to hear what difference might your exploration with the use of the box make to your own practice!It’s a project in process, so I’m curious how other practitioners, like you, can adapt this practice in their own contexts of work, so that I can learn from the possibilities that their ways might open up for this project.

  3. Daniil D.

    This is a very inspiring video! I really liked how Kassandra with the use of the idea that “problems have ethics” brought in the therapeutic conversation wider political, social and economical dominant interests and discources that support these ineterests. I was also impressed by the way she scaffolded the “out of the box questions” and assisted her client to distance herself from “hellblame” and to position herself in relation to the problem and the dominant discourses that support it. One the other hand this process assisted her to be in closer touch with her values and to be involved in her prefered social action. Thank you Kassandra!

    1. Kassandra Pedersen

      This is a very accurate description of what this “out of the box” project was all about Daniil! I wonder if there is something that resonates with you in this work and if there are ways you might be interested to carry this idea/practice back into your work. Thank you for watching the video with such care and attention Daniil!


    Thank you Kassandra!I love this possibility to create and make something touchable to represent stories, questions, solutions and alternative solutions. The ethics of problem is a gentle way to identify values.

    Nice video, also! 🙂


    1. Kassandra Pedersen

      Hi Francesca!

      Thanks for your comments!I agree with you, co-creating something touchable with the people to capture the outcomes of our co-investigations open up possibilities in therapy. My project was focused on deconstructing the “ethics” of the problems represented in the “box of problems”. I really liked you idea to co-create something touchable that would represent the preferred stories..perhaps a box of local knowledges, skills, values, hopes etc? Sounds like a new avenue to explore! Thank you!

  5. Yorgos

    Dear Kassandra,

    Many congratulations for this special work that you have done! I remember following your presentation at the Barcelona Narrative Conference, but I also remember having the feeling that I was “not getting it”: What is the box, and why think “out of it”? In this video, you addressed this question very clearly: You get the person out of one box and put him/her in another, so that there is a new point of reference to use. Thanks for this explanation!

    One point that is still not clear in my mind concerning the box is, do you really have boxes and cards in the therapy room? Or did you use boxes in your presentation for illustrative purposes? And if you use them in the therapy room, do you write and draw on them with the person in therapy or do you prepare it yourself?

    Many thanks for the inspiring presentation!


    1. Kassandra Pedersen

      Dear Yorgos,

      oh yes, I do remember the query look on your face after my presentation in Barcelona!I’m so happy that this video provided a clearer picture of the process occurred.

      I find your questions very thoughtful and important to clarify them as well. This specific box was created for illustrative purposes by me and then it was shown to Anna to have her confirmation. The picture of Hell-blame is Anna’s, the rest are mines. However, while I was creating this box for illustrative purposes I felt uncomfortable doing it by-myself so that is how emerged the idea to use actual boxes in therapy during conversations of deconstruction, that will be co-created with the people we work with. Unfortunately this idea came in the end of my work with Anna but now I do have some available boxes in my office which are ready to be drawn and used in collaboration with the person in therapy.

      Thank you very much for your lovely feedback Yorgos!

  6. Jeanette

    *Inspiring! How do you keep in touch with asking “small questions” in therapy?
    I was thinking how powerful the knowledge óf language is both as regards including and excluding practices. This could be a great exercise for children

    1. Kassandra Pedersen

      Dear Jeanette,

      “small questions”…to be honest, especially when it comes to questions that seek to make visible power relations or structures or the power plays of individualism/patriarchy/neo-liberalism etc I find it particularly challenging, but also exciting, to scaffold my questions in a way that ground them to people’s daily life-experiences. I think that having a box in front of us, with different sides that represent different aspects of the broader contexts that sustain the problem make it easier for me to offer “smaller” questions and it also enhance the idea of co-research.

      Is’s great to hear you having this idea to translate this practice as an exercise for children. Is that an area you are working in? It would be awesome to see what would this exercise look like and how children would respond to it!


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