Dr. Laura Beres

Dr. Laura Beres

(on sabattical)

Dr. Laura Beres

Full Professor

Phone: 4575
Email: lberes2@uwo.ca


I graduated with my MSW over 30 years ago and have worked in direct practice to some extent ever since then. I continued working part-time in front-line counselling settings while I completed my PhD in Critical Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, and continue to offer counselling services on a limited part time basis and offer narrative therapy consultation. I recently completed an additional MA, in Christian Spirituality, in the UK, as I was interested in a rigorous academic grounding in this area as I have begun integrating spirituality into social work practice and research. In addition to my formal university education I also completed advanced training in Narrative Therapy with Michael White at the Dulwich Centre in Australia. These experiences, combined with my ongoing collaboration with Jan Fook in the area of Critical Reflection on Practice, has led to my current interests in my research and teaching within social work.

I am a clinical social worker and academic committed to the practitioner-researcher model, critical reflection on practice, and anti-oppressive, post-modern and social constructionist ways of engaging with people. These commitments infuse my research, writing, counselling and teaching practices. I invite students to engage in these ways of working in my courses, which has resulted in students presenting and publishing their work with me in international settings, journals and edited books. 


  • York University – BA (Hons)
  • University of Toronto – MSW
  • Sarum College, University of Winchester, UK, MA with distinction
  • University of Toronto – PhD


Narrative therapy; Spirituality; Critical reflection on Practice

Selected Publications


Béres, L. (2022). The Language of the Soul in Narrative Therapy: Spirituality in Clinical Theory and Practice. Routledge

Béres, L. & Fook, J. (Eds). (2020). Learning Critical Reflection: Experiences of the Transformative Learning Process. Routledge.

Béres, L. (Ed). (2017). Practicing Spirituality: Reflecting on Meaning-making in Personal and Professional Contexts. Palgrave MacMillan.

Béres, L. (2014). The Narrative Practitioner. Palgrave MacMillan.

Duvall, J. & Béres, L. (2011). Innovations in Narrative Therapy: Connecting Practice, Training, and Research. W. W. Norton.


Béres, L. (2023). Narrative therapy ideas and practices for working with addictions. In R. Csiernik, W.S. Rowe & G. Novotna (Eds). Responding to the oppression of addiction: Canadian social work perspectives, 4th Edition. Canadian Scholars Press.

Béres, L. & Baird, S. with contributions from Bedggood, J., Bodkin, K., Britton-deJeu, H., Cadotte, E., Elsie-McKendrick, A & Roger, D. (2021). Developing and Sustaining Critical Reflection on Social Work Practice. In Fook, J. (Ed). Practicing Critical Reflection in Social Care Organisations. Routledge.

Béres, L. (2021) Teaching and Learning Critical Reflection of Practice. In R. Csiernik & S.  Hillock (Eds). Teaching Social Work: Pedagogy and Practice. University of Toronto Press.

Béres, L. (2021) Edith Stein’s contributions to understandings of the soul for postmodern therapeutic practices. In K. Klueting & E. Klueting (Eds). Edith Stein’s Itinerary: Phenomenology, Christian Philosophy, and Carmelite Spirituality. Aschendorf.

Béres, L. (2019). Valuing critical reflection and narratives of practice wisdom. In J. Higgs (Ed.). Practice Wisdom. Brill Sense.

Gardner, F. & Béres, L. (2018). Social work and spiritual care. In L.B. Carey & B.A. Mathisen (Eds). Spiritual care for allied health; A person-centered approach. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Béres, L. (2017). Celtic spirituality: Exploring the fascination across time and place. In B. Crisp (Ed.). The Routledge handbook of religion, spirituality and social work. Routledge.

Rogers, M. & Béres, L. (2017). How two practitioners conceptualise spiritually competent practice. In J. Wattis, S. Curan & M. Rogers (Eds). Spiritually competent practice in health care. CRC Press.


Béres, L. & Foneska, T., Unsettling conceptions of power through teaching and learning critical reflection on social work practice, Canadian Social Work Review. In press.

Baird, S. L., Béres, L., Sanders, J. E., Vito, R., & Lewis, V. (2023). The role of groups in teaching critical reflection on practice to MSW students. Social Work with Groups, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/01609513.2023.2203729

Foneska, T. & Béres, L. (2023). Professional Power in Social Work Education and Practice: A Process of Critical Reflection and Learning, Social Work Education, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2023.2181329

Smith-Carrier, T., Béres, L., Johnson, K., Blake, C. & Howard, J. (2019). Digging into the experiences of therapeutic gardening for people with dementia: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 0 (0): 1-18.

Béres, L. (2018). How travel might become more like pilgrimage: an auto-ethnographic study, Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 8 (2): 160-172.

Béres, L. (2017). Maintaining the ability to be unsettled and learn afresh: What philosophy contributes to our understanding of ‘reflection’ and ‘experience’. Reflective Practice: Multidisciplinary and International Perspectives, 18(2): 280-290.

Béres, L. (2013). Celtic spirituality and postmodern geography: Narratives of engagement with place, Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 2 (2); 170-185.

Béres, L. (2012). A thin place: Narratives of space and place, Celtic spirituality and meaning, The Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Social Work, 31 (4): 394-413.

Béres, L., Bowles, K. & Fook, J. (2011). Narrative therapy and critical reflection of practice: A conversation with Jan Fook, Journal of Systemic Therapies, 30(2), 81-97.

Béres, L. & Page Nichols, M. (2010). Narrative therapy group interventions with men who have used abusive behaviors, Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 91(1), 60-66.


Béres, L., Getchell, L., Perera, A, Jones, T. & Johnstone-Way, V. Journey through Words: A Narrative Therapy and Narrative Medicine Creative Writing Group for People affected by Cancer. International Association of Social Work with Groups. Online conference, June 2023.

Béres, L. & Crawley, D. Critically reflecting on the language of the soul in narrative therapy and spiritual direction. (May 2023). The International Network for Studies in Spirituality bi-annual conference. Waterford, Ireland, May 2023.

Béres, L., Getchell, L., Perera, A & Johnstone-Way, V. (April 2023). Journey through Words: A Transdisciplinary and Therapeutic Creative Writing Group for People Affected by a Cancer Diagnosis. Canada’s Annual Health Humanities Conference, Quebec City.

Baird, S., Béres, L., Sanders, J. & Vito, R. (June 2022). The Role of Groups in Teaching Critical Reflection on Practice to MSW students. The International Association for Social Work with Groups conference, online.

Béres, L. (July, 2021). The night-symbol and nothingness as journey towards wholeness. Thinking about nothing conference. Liverpool Hope University, UK, online via zoom.

Bothelo, N., Béres, L. & Carothers, E. (June, 2021). Therapists’ perspectives of how spirituality has shaped resilience across the Covid-19 pandemic. Spirituality in Research, Professional Practice and Education conference. York St John University, UK, online via zoom.

Béres, L. (November 2020). Spirituality in Critical Reflection on Practice: A Requirement of the Direct Practice MSW Program, Spirituality in Education for the Health and Helping Professions: An Interprofessional Symposium, University of Calgary, online via Zoom.

Béres, L. (August 2019). In the borderlands of psychological modernity and postmodernity: what Stein’s conceptions of the soul may contribute to postmodern therapeutic practitioners, 5th Biannual International Conference of the International Association for the Study of Edith Stein, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Béres, L. & Saxby, C. (June 2019). Critical reflection and transformative pedagogy. CASWE, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.

Lenet, J., Wilson, T., Béres, L., Mulvale, J., & Smith Carrier, T. (June 2019).  How might the importance of relationship for dialogue be honoured and celebrated in academia? CASWE, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.

Béres, L. (May 2018). Reconciling the language of the soul with narrative therapy. 6th European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health, and the 5th International Conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, Coventry University, Coventry, England

Béres, L. (May 2018). Postmodern therapeutic practices and the language of the soul. Iterations: Spirituality in post-Christian times. Sarum College, Salisbury, England

Béres, L. (March 2018). A critical analysis of the extent to which everyday travel experiences can be understood as pilgrimage: An auto-ethnographic study. Pilgrimage and the Evolution of Spiritual Tourism, Waterford, Ireland

Béres, L. (May 2016). Reflections on witnessing the maintenance of traditional cultural practices within Roman Catholic Indigenous communities in northern Canada.  The 4th International British Association of Studies in Spirituality conference, Manchester, in England.

Béres, L. (2014). Listening to the ‘little sacraments of daily living’ and developing preferred storylines. The 3rd International British Association for Studies in Spirituality Conference, Berkhamsted, England.

Béres, L. (2013). The conversational maps of narrative practice as structures of ethical engagement: Privileging people’s values, hopes, and dreams. A Narrative Future for Health Care, Narrative Medicine Conference, London, England.

Béres, L. (2012). Narratives of 'thin places': Learning from the traditions of Celtic spirituality, The Canadian Association for Studies in Spirituality and Social Work, Thunder Bay, Canada.

Béres, L. (2012). Celtic spirituality and post-modern geography: Narratives of engagement with place.  The British Association for Studies in Spirituality Conference, Northampton, England.


Béres, L. & Elkassem, S.  (December 2019). Tree of Life Adaptation for Yazidi population. Invited to assist with training to practitioners from Vanier Child Services, Muslim Resource Centre, and other local agencies offering services to Yazidi people.

Béres, L. (October 2019). Bringing spirituality into counselling services. Invited to present at a staff team meeting/staff development, for Addiction Services Thames Valley, London, Ontario.

Béres, L. (July 2019). Narrative Practices: Possibilities for working with people with addictions. Invited to conduct a day-long workshop at the 60th annual Institute on Addiction Studies, London, Ontario.

Béres, L. (May 2019). Narrative Therapy and Transformative Social Work. Invited to conduct 1 ½ days of training and a further ½ day of consultation for the School of Social Work, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA.

Béres, L. CFS Retreat (April 2019). How to bring spirituality into the therapy room. Invited to facilitate a half-day workshop to Catholic Family Services of Toronto on their staff retreat day.

Béres, L. (March 2019). Humanizing our work with newcomers. Invited to provide a day-long workshop to representatives from Vanier Children’s Services, Craigwood, Ways, Muslim Resource Centre, and LHSC, on the narrative therapeutic posture and critical reflection on practice.

Béres, L. (February 2018). Tree of life, as a narrative practice. Invited to provide staff development at Vanier Children's Services, London, Ontario.

Béres, L. and Rogers, D. (October 2016). Narrative Practices in Child Welfare. Invited to co-facilitate a day-long workshop at London CAS, London, Ontario.