2003: Issue 2
This edition of the journal focuses on the issue of community practice. How can narrative ideas be engaged with in work with communities of people?
The first three papers included here all address this question. The first, ‘The same in difference’, relates to a community of experience: those people who live with physical disabilities or visual impairments. This paper describes the work of the Peer Counsellors of the Irish Wheelchair Association and the National Council for the Blind of Ireland. Their work questions many taken-for-granted assumptions and offers practitioners new ways of responding to the experience of disability.
The second paper, ‘Narrative practice and community assignments’ by Michael White, explores the relevance of narrative practices to working with communities which are facing various predicaments and describes the principles that have informed a range of recent community assignments.
The paper pays particular attention to addressing the psychological pain and emotional distress that is the outcome of trauma, as well as describing the consultation phase and the community-wide gathering phase of these community assignments.
The third paper is by Yvonne Sliep and is titled ‘Building partnerships in responding to vulnerable children: A rural African community context’. This paper documents a project in rural Malawi and describes some emerging principles to assist community workers who are seeking to respond to vulnerable children in poverty-stricken environments.
We are pleased to publish these three diverse papers on the theme of community practice.
The second section of this journal edition contains a paper that we are very excited about: ‘Feminism, therapy and narrative ideas’. This paper, compiled by Shona Russell and Maggie Carey, is the result of considerable collaboration over the past six months. We hope the publication of this piece will stimulate thinking, ideas and conversation. So much so, that we are requesting that readers join us in engaging in an ongoing project around this theme. Upon reading this paper, if you have any thoughts or reflections we would very much like to hear from you. More information about the ongoing project can be found at the end of Shona and Maggie’s paper.
Putting together this journal issue has stretched our thinking and seeing it published is invigorating. We look forward to hearing from you about the experience of reading it and grappling with the ideas contained within.
Dulwich Centre Publications.
The Same in Difference: The Work of the Peer Counsellors of the Irish Wheelchair Association and the National Council of the Blind of Ireland—
This paper describes the work and insider knowledges of the Peer Counsellors of the Irish Wheelchair Association and the National Council of the Blind of Ireland. Crafted from a series of interviews, this paper consists of four parts: ‘History’, ‘Why we are involved in this work’, ‘Insider knowledges’, and ‘Principles of practice’. By questioning many taken-for-granted assumptions, it is hoped that this paper will offer practitioners alternative ways of responding to the experience of disability.
Narrative Practice and Community Assignments— Michael White
This paper describes explorations of the relevance of narrative practices to working with communities which are facing various concerns and predicaments. These explorations have been undertaken in the context of community assignments that have been initiated in response to approaches from communities. In describing these explorations, this paper highlights the assumptions that have oriented our participation in these initiatives and some of the principles of narrative practice that we have found to be of particular importance in them. As well, this paper presents some special considerations in regard to addressing the psychological pain and emotional distress that is the outcome of trauma; discusses the priority given to the development of partnerships between the members of our team and between team members and community members; and provides an account of the structure of the community-wide gathering phase of these assignments.
Building Partnerships in Responding to Vulnerable Children: A Rural African Community Context— Yvonne Sliep
The question of how to respond to vulnerable children continues to confront us in Southern Africa today. This article documents a project in rural Malawi and describes some emerging principles to assist community workers who are seeking to respond to vulnerable children in poverty-stricken environments. A key focus involves the building of partnerships with all concerned.
Feminism, Therapy and Narrative Ideas: Exploring Some Not So Commonly Asked Questions— compiled by Shona Russell & Maggie Carey
In this paper we have been interested to engage with some not so commonly asked questions about feminism, therapy and narrative ideas. So we asked a number of therapists who are engaged with narrative ideas some questions about what feminism means to them, how it influences their work and what feminist issues they are currently grappling with. What followed was an invigorating and challenging process.
Many of the people we approached expressed that they wished they could spend more time thinking about these sorts of questions. Some people spoke of regret that these sorts of conversations are not more common.
In response, we would like to invite all readers to become involved in an ongoing project around these issues. In future editions of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work we will be organising a regular column on the theme ‘feminism, therapy and narrative ideas’. At the end of this piece we have listed a number of different themes about which we would love to hear from practitioners. We hope that the following questions and answers will spark your imagination and that you will then write to us with your thoughts and reflections.
But first, on with the questions – and perhaps the first one is the most difficult … What is feminism?