This paper describes a practice developed at a large secondary school in Auckland whereby students’ experiences of overcoming problems are made available to others in the form of insider brochures. These students are thus able to share their insights and strategies in support of peers who may be experiencing similar problems. Drawing on narrative counselling conversations as well as narrative community work, a school counsellor facilitates the process. This paper describes how insider voices contribute to the brochures and provides detail from one case example. In keeping with narrative approaches to problems, the goals are to de-privatise and de-individualise young people’s experiences of difficulties, and to reposition these students from ‘sufferers’ of problems to ‘experts’ on how to overcome them. In the process not only are students’ preferred identities developed, but also collective knowledge is created, and students are empowered to support one another.

Read the paper

Nigel Pizzini and Helen Gremillion (2017). Counsellor Clients as Insider Experts in a School Community. Unitec ePress Occasional and Discussion Paper Series (2017:8).

About this series:

Unitec ePress periodically publishes occasional and discussion papers that discuss current and ongoing research authored by members of staff and their research associates. All papers are blind reviewed. For more papers in this series please visit: