2013: Issue 3

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Welcome to the third issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work for 2013! This journal issue begins with explorations by Michal Simchon and Steve Armstrong linking narrative practice, bibliotherapy and poetics.

The second section features a substantial paper from Hung Suet Lin, Shirley and David Denborough that describes a project in Hong Kong in which women survivors of sexual violence unearth new conceptions of justice amidst their journey of healing. Considering the relationship between ‘healing and justice’ and considering what might constitute ‘narrative justice’ are challenging topics. If you are interested in these realms we would welcome your comments, ideas, and/or stories of practice.

Part Three of this issue contains a sparkling theoretical contribution from Kyle Sawyer in relation to trans subjectivity; and a practice-based paper by Ben Knowles in relation to narrative bush adventure therapy. the diversity of contexts in which narrative practices are now engaged never ceases to amaze!

We are also pleased to announce that the next issue of this journal will feature a new column coordinated by David Epston, focusing on innovations in narrative therapy. Stay tuned!


 

  • Words from the brink of the chasm: Poetic, bibliotherapeutic writing in narrative therapy – the use of literary texts and the discovery of preferred stories— Michal Simchon

    $9.90

    This article aims to integrate bibliotherapy and narrative therapy. The use of writing and reading processes can help reveal preferred stories. Asking people to talk about themselves and tell their life stories using excerpts from poems makes their story unique and exotic. Writing in this fashion empowers their experiences and exposes the details of the unique outcome that are embedded in the text. Similarly, this type of writing enables people to express experiences that are difficult to articulate in ordinary words. This article demonstrates the contribution of therapeutic writing and the discourse that arises from it for narrative therapy that is usually conducted orally.

    Free paper:

    This article comes with a companion piece:

    Toward a poetics of therapy: A response to Michal Simchon’s ‘Words From the Brink of the Chasm’— Steve Armstrong

    This is a complementary piece in response to Michal Simchon’s observations about the integration of bibliotherapy and narrative therapy in ‘Words From the Brink of the Chasm’ (2013). I make some suggestions about what might be called the poetics of therapy. In particular, how poetry can enliven therapeutic conversation; how poems and a poet’s passion for precise word choice, help guard against stale imagery or description and can aid in locating vivid descriptions for lived experience that might otherwise be practically beyond words. Based on Simchon’s discussion of free-writing in groups and Bachelards’ Poetics of Reverie (1969), I offer a re-imagining of White and Epston’s (1990) landscape of action and consciousness.

     


  • Unearthing new concepts of justice: Women sexual violence survivors seeking healing and justice— Hung Suet-Lin and David Denborough

    $9.90

    Justice and healing are closely linked. A strong sense of injustice can hinder healing. In the context of Hong Kong, and likely in many other places, where the legal system is seen as the only means for achieving justice, and legal/criminal justice is upheld as the only concept of justice, many survivors of sexual violence are left with few options for healing redress. Expanding concepts of justice beyond those rooted in criminal law systems may increase the possibilities for healing. This project describes one such collective process, enabling Chinese women who have experienced sexual violence to move from single story testimonies of harm done, to double story testimonies that include the responses, skills and values of survivors. The process involved richly acknowledging the multiple injustices and effects of these injustices, developing a storyline of surviving injustices including the steps taken by women to ‘break the secrecy’ and ‘not pursing any further’ in the legal system, and creating a forum of narrative justice. It was acknowledged that justice can be achieved in multiple ways, in the social and in people’s eyes and judgment, which may have historic cultural resonances.

    Free articles:

    This article comes with two companion pieces:

    Unearthed conceptions of justice for women who have experienced sexual violence: Possibilities for healing and enhancing criminal justice— Haley Clark

    How women understand justice and the relevance of this to criminal justice practice is often overlooked in literature on system responses to sexual violence. By reflecting on Hung’s and Denborough’s (2013) article, I consider that the value of collective narrative justice forums in developing understandings of justice and promoting healing for women who have experienced sexual violence and system injustice is apparent. I argue that in addition to contributing to individual healing the unearthed concepts of justice have relevance to the ways in which sexual violence is responded to within the criminal justice system and in society generally. Privileging the knowledge and insights of women enables more robust understandings of justice to emerge, and opens new possibilities to strengthen responses to sexual violence.

    Healing and justice together: searching for narrative justice— David Denborough

    Once we acknowledge that we have a profound and often unnamed and unacknowledged problem in our country; that our ‘justice system’ in many ways perpetuates injustice, then what are we to do? If we are the receivers of stories of social injustice, then what are our responsibilities? Perhaps we can’t leave matters of justice only to lawyers and the legal system. Perhaps we can question how our work can contribute to both healing and justice. This piece was created from a speech given by David Denborough at the 10th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference held in Adelaide, Australia, March 2013.

     


  • Explorations in trans* subjectivity— Kyle Sawyer

    $5.50

    This paper explores the enforcement of anti-trans* subjectivity and the ways in which trans* individuals are resisting, challenging, and creating new ways of being. Anti-trans* subjectivity is informed, defined, and enforced by discursive power, coercive power, and repressive power. This paper uses theories from Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Julia Serrano, Dean Spade, Joan Roughgarden, and many more to define the different types of power and explore the possibilities of trans* subjectivity as a place of knowing. This paper shows how trans* individuals are resisting an anti-trans* subjectivity by creating and introducing new and exciting possibilities of moving through and seeing the world in which we exist. For the unabridged version please visit: www.kylesawyer. weebly.com


  • Journeys in the bush— Ben Knowles

    $9.90

    This paper begins a process of joining ideas and practices of Narrative Therapy and Bush Adventure Therapy. Through examples drawn from 9–12 day bush journeys with young men and women who are experiencing difficulty in their lives, it invites the reader to imagine the storying potential of such experiences and consider the practices that surround and support them. The paper highlights the importance of developing and maintaining collegial relationships that support young people to realise and extend their existing knowledge and skill. It explores how we traverse between the known and familiar territories of people’s lives and the otherworldly landscapes of the bush journey to create fertile ground for making new stories.