2004: Issue 3

Dear Reader,

Welcome to this special issue on the theme of ‘love’. It’s been a real pleasure to put this edition together. Inspired by a paper by Elena Smith entitled: ‘The narratives of love: Addressing the issue of love in a therapeutic context’, this journal now consists of writings about considerations of love in therapy from Denmark, Hong Kong, Colombia, Mexico and Australia. These pieces are thoughtful, practice-based and wide-ranging. They consider the use of narrative practices in deconstructing jealousy; in working with male partners of women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse; and in examining and deconstructing how certain philosophies of love are influencing couple relationships. These pieces also consider how children respond to family tragedies; ways of assisting parents to reclaim their knowledge and pride in their children’s differences; and how to assist therapists to respond to the confusion that some women who have been subject to childhood sexual abuse experience in relation to understandings of love. Also included here are discussions about ways of acknowledging and honouring lesbian and gay and other relations of love; and ways of using the written word to link migrants with their home communities. It is a diverse collection!

Even with such a diversity of papers, it is of course not possible to touch upon all of the myriad of ways in which considerations of love shape the practice of therapy and community work. If these writings evoke certain stories from your own life or practice we would be delighted to hear from you.

Part Two of this journal consists of the second instalment of a series of papers on narrative therapy and research. This collection consists of a moving piece of co-research with young people on ‘suicidal thoughts’; explorations on the use of definitional ceremony as a research method; ways of decentring research practice; and considerations of ethics within research work. These papers are from authors from the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Part Three consists of continuing correspondence in relation to feminism and transgender issues. Here, Joan Laird, from the USA, replies to a letter in the last issue of this journal by Arthemis Rodhanthy, from Belgium.

We also have an exciting announcement to make in this issue. Each week we receive emails, phone calls or faxes from narrative practitioners from different parts of Australia and around the world who are hoping to make connections with other people who are interested in narrative ideas in their city or state, or are seeking information about a narrative therapist elsewhere to whom they can refer someone they know. Up until now we have done the best we could with such requests in an informal manner, but it seems time to create a new process to link people together. This is what ‘Narrative Connections: an international network of narrative practitioners’ is going to be all about. We hope you will become a member! Please see page 69 for more information.

We trust you will enjoy this special issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work on the theme of ‘love’. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

Warm regards,

Cheryl White
Jane Hales
David Denborough
Virginia Leake
Dulwich Centre Publications.


Showing 1–10 of 14 results

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    The Narratives of Love: Addressing the Issue of Love in a Therapeutic Context— Elena Smith

    This paper explores the effect of addressing the issue of love in a therapeutic context. I have no intention of drawing any conclusions about the phenomena of love as such, but I intend to describe what happened when I purposely chose to address the question of love in therapeutic conversations. I was curious to explore these questions: What are people’s stories of love? What are the practices of love in people’s lives? What are the meanings they ascribe to love? And how does a person’s concept of love shape their thoughts and actions?


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    Deconstructing Love in the Context of Sexual Abuse— Sue Mann

    This reflection explores the complex realm of the experiences of women who were subjected to sexual abuse as children. Many of the circumstances of childhood sexual abuse can contribute to considerable confusion about understandings and experiences of love, as abuse often occurs in contexts which are described as loving. In some circumstances the person who has abused has, on occasions, also been loving to the child. This short piece offers some reflections on options for therapists in responding to women in these circumstances.


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    Different Understandings of Love— Angela Tsun On-kee

    What is love? People’s understandings of love and their attempts to find and create it, significantly influence how they live their lives. This short reflection suggests that examining and deconstructing philosophies of love can open up meaningful realms for therapeutic explorations.


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    Transforming Tragedy: Making New Family— Jeannette Samper

    Sometimes, after family tragedies, children show the way forward. In this short reflection, a Colombian therapist describes just such a circumstance.


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    Honouring Many Relations of Love: Perspectives on Tasmania’s ‘Relationship Act’— compiled by Paul Levett

    Due to decades of work by gay and lesbian people, in different parts of the world there is currently much debate about ways of acknowledging lesbian and gay relationships in similar ways to how heterosexual marriage is honoured. In Australia, just as the Federal Government is legislating to ensure that same-sex marriage cannot occur, the State Government of Tasmania has developed a novel approach to acknowledging relationships. This paper explains this approach and also contains a number of speeches given by members of lesbian and gay families in support of the Tasmanian legislation.


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    Protecting Relationships from the Ongoing Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse— Jussey Verco, David Tully, Geoff Minge

    This paper describes ways of working with male partners of women who experienced sexual abuse as children. In response to requests from women, groups were held with male partners to provide information about childhood sexual abuse, to enable the men to speak about ways in which they have tried to support their partners, and to discuss men’s experiences and responses. Opportunities were also created to deconstruct unhelpful or ‘dangerous’ ideas around the complexities of childhood sexual abuse.


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    Reclaiming Our Knowledge of Our Children: Talking with Children and Parents About Learning Differences— Lynn Tron Dinneen

    For families in which a child has a learning difference, broader social discourses about learning, schooling and achievement can so easily disrupt loving relationships. When difficulties are compounded, parents can lose touch with the knowledge they have of their children’s skills. This paper proposes ways of assisting parents to reclaim their knowledge about what is special, unique and precious about their children. This paper was created from an interview with David Denborough, staff writer at Dulwich Centre Publications.


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    Letters of Love and Lament: Linking Migrants with the Communities from Which They Come— Lynn Tron Dinneen & David Denborough

    Letters have always been sent home from those who have migrated to different lands. This paper describes a project in which two collective letters were created to link Mexican migrants to their homeland communities.


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    Researching ‘Suicidal Thoughts’ and Archiving Young People’s Insider Knowledges— Marilyn O’Neill

    This paper explores the significance of enabling co-research conversations about the effects and tactics of suicidal thoughts, and about effective forms of resistance. It describes one such coresearch project that involved three young people in Sydney, Australia. The ideas that informed the co-research are described and extracts of the young people’s co-research conversations are included.


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    A Conversation with Angela, Brett and Jess about Suicidal Thoughts, Failure and Resistance

    Angela, Brett and Jess each have more than five years of experience of claiming their lives back from powerful negative stories, including stories of abuse, psychosis, depression, addiction, anorexia and mental illness. In the extracts below, these three co-researchers describe some of their encounters with ‘ideas of failure’ and ‘suicidal thoughts’ and convey some of the knowledge they have gained about ways of resisting these ideas and thoughts. Significantly, these three co-researchers provide information that is useful to therapists and health professionals as well as ideas that sustain hope in their own lives.