Discovering Children’s Responses to Trauma: A Response-based Narrative Practice— Angel Yuen
Modern discourses of victimhood, which are often present in instances of childhood trauma, can contribute considerably to establishing long-term negative identity conclusions. However, focussing on children’s responses to trauma can aid in conversations that contribute to rich second story development, without re-traumatising children or young people. These kinds of enquiry can focus on children’s acts of resistance, places of safety, and other skills of living. This paper gives examples of therapy informed by this approach, and provides a map of four levels of enquiry for conversations with children and young people which elicit and build upon responses to trauma.
Kanna’s Lucid Dreams and the Use of Narrative Practices to Explore Their Meaning— Milan Colic
This paper presents how the lucid dreaming of a young woman, Kanna, was unpacked in line with the ideas and practices that underlie narrative therapy. It outlines how Kanna’s dream was rendered into a metaphor in order to story events and experiences in her life, culminating in the selection of a new support ‘Team’, and changing what she had come to know as distressing nightmares into ‘lucid dreaming’, in which she was authorised to shape the stories that she now could tell herself in both her sleep and her waking life.
Linking Families Together: Narrative Conversations with Children, Adolescents, and Their Families— Jodi Aman
This paper explores ways of responding to the problems children and adolescents face in ways that include and honour the contributions of other family members. For example, parents and care-givers can be enlisted to help with scaffolding and outsiderwitnessing, as well as providing what the author refers to as ‘comemories’. The paper also discusses specific ways of working with children, such as keeping therapeutic conversations fun, regarding children as ‘story listeners’, opening space for conversations about difficult problems, and using therapeutic documents. How these considerations are put into practice is then documented in three accounts of working with children and adolescents on issues of anxiety, the death of a pet, and a parent’s diagnosis of cancer.
Every Conversation Is an Opportunity: Negotiating Identity in Group Settings— Ali Borden
Therapy within the context of a treatment centre can spread and confirm stories of deficit, or it can be an opportunity in which preferences and skills reverberate within a community and enable preferred reputations to be born. In a group setting, every conversation is an opportunity to negotiate meaning, and every group provides a stage for the performance of identity. This paper describes some ways that we at the Eating Disorder Center of California day treatment program guide some of that performance, including how we seek to take apart assumptions about eating problems and recovery, what is relevant to share, and what people have in common. Our intention is to open space for women to share their experiences as rich and complicated; their preferences as diverse, varied, and dynamic; and at the same time encourage points of connection, camaraderie, and community.
An Expose of ‘Body-Worry’— Cari Corbet-Owen
Concerns about body size and weight have increased in western cultures in past decades. This brief paper recounts how one client, concerned about ‘body worry’ for both herself and her daughter, was able to engage in a deconstructive conversation about body image and diet. Unpacking some of the cultural understandings and prescriptions around these issues provided a foundation for the client to renegotiate her relationship with ‘body-worry’ and restore her relationship with her daughter.
Dilemmas about ‘Taking Responsibility’ and Cultural Accountability in Working with Men Who Have Abused Their Female Partners— Chris Chapman
In this paper, Chris Chapman describes two incidents from his work with men who had abused their female partners in which he inadvertently perpetrated cultural dominance. In one of these incidents, his ‘knowledge’ of the other man’s culture eventually allows him to recognise the cultural dominance; in the other, his ‘knowledge’ of the other man’s culture actively facilitates the cultural dominance. Chris reflects on these incidents in an attempt to reflexively problematise notions of cultural competency and individualistic notions of responsibility.
Audience as Accountability?: Dilemmas in the Use of Outsider-witness Practices in Supporting Men’s Anti-violence Projects— David Newman
This article explores the author’s concerns about accountability when inviting women as outsider witnesses to conversations with men. A practice-based example of working with a man on issues of anger and violence provides a springboard for thoughtful questions about gender accountability, men’s privilege, safety, and ‘non-burdening invitations’.