Yuk King Lau brings together narrative therapy and systemic family therapy in her practice with students encountering difficulties in school attendance. This integration includes: (1) Shifting from privileged systemic ‘assessment’ to co-researching; (2) Moving from giving consultation to a ‘rite of exchange’; (3) Exploring the active participation of problems in ‘family dynamics’; (4) Collaboratively re-authoring identities and developing alternative relational practice; (5) Creating mutual witnessing processes among family members; and (6) moving from clinical intervention to collective practice.
The integration of these two approaches facilitates a clear construction of how problems lead to provocative relational practices among people, including family members. It takes the blame away from the family when highlighting how the family members engage in negative relational practices that escalate the problem. It also facilitates changes at two levels: changes in the persons’ narrative including their self-narratives and family-narratives, and changes in their relational practices.
Yuk King Lau is a Professional Consultant in the Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is a committed and enthusiastic scholar in family studies and practice research, as well as a dedicated practitioner and trainer in family-centered practice. Having been trained both in structural family therapy and narrative therapy, she is now innovating family-centered social work practice with post-divorce families and families with young people who have dropped out of school in the Chinese context of Hong Kong. Her work reflects her great concern for not only the special challenges encountered by individuals and families in a changing society, but also the structural and ideological change and service development necessary to help them to meet these challenges.