Narrative Ideas in the Field of Child Protection— Alison Knight & Rob Koch
This paper explores the use of various narrative practices with children and their families in child protection settings. The first half examines how a ‘double listening’ approach and the engagement of outsider witnesses can be used with children who have experienced trauma and abuse. The second half of the paper gives an account of therapy over a number of months, with a family struggling with the effects of violence, alcohol and depression. Externalising conversations were found to be very helpful in allowing members of the family to work together in response to these challenges, rather than working against each other. These conversations were also documented through digital photographs of a child’s drawings on a whiteboard, which were then sent to the family as a form of therapeutic document.
The Taming of Ferdinand: Narrative Therapy and People Affected with Intellectual Disabilities— Fiona McFarlane & Henrik Lynggaard
In this paper, Fiona McFarlane and Henrik Lynggaard, two clinical psychologists from England, show how they engaged with a young woman affected with intellectual disabilities in conversation informed by narrative therapy. They discuss how, after a difficult beginning, they manage to find a way of communicating that engaged the woman and how they involved her partner as a resource to the process. More specifically, they show how they used drawings and modification of language to make questions and narrative techniques relevant and accessible to the person. They end by making some suggestions for how such adaptation could be useful more generally for people affected by intellectual disabilities.
Musical Re-tellings: Songs, Singing, and Resonance in Narrative Practice— Chris Wever
This paper documents the author’s use of songwriting in therapeutic contexts, especially when working with people in prison and the significant people in their lives. These songs fulfil different purposes: to honour survival and resistance and protest injustice; to assist in the re-membering of lives across time and beyond death; and to celebrate and proclaim subordinate storylines. In addition to reflecting on the process of crafting these songs, the profound outcomes they can have for both therapist and the person at the centre of the work, and how to recruit audiences, the author also reflects on some of the ethical and political dimensions of the work.
Songs as Re-tellings— Therese Hegarty
This paper describes a practice of writing songs to record the interviews and outsider-witness responses in a group setting. The participants have a history of heroin addiction and are involved in a stabilisation program.
Shaping Narrative Therapy to Fit Local Cultures— Linda Moxley-Haegert
Many community-minded families in Newfoundland seem to have difficulty with traditional therapies that are interpretative or directive. In a search for a therapeutic approach that might fit better with these clients’ world-views and complement their traditional manner of self-healing, narrative therapy was found. This paper presents one Newfoundland family’s story and the reasons for concluding that certain narrative practices are very appropriate for community-minded families. The author’s move to Montreal, Quebec, and her experiences there, have suggested that narrative therapy using different narrative practices could also be a fit for families who have lost or become detached from a community. A story of an immigrant Italian family is provided.