‘The written word and narrative practice’ by David Newman

Posted by on Aug 16, 2014 in Friday Afternoon Videos | 2 comments

‘The written word and narrative practice’ by David Newman

One of the defining early characterstics of what has come to be known as ‘narrative therapy’ was the creative use of documentation or the written word. We therefore thought it would be fitting to focus this second on-line Friday Afternoon Discussion with a presentation by David Newman on this topic. In this 30 minute presentation, David explores some of the anthropological ideas that inform documentation in narrative practice; offers some key principles to guide the use of the written word in narrative therapy; and provides some examples from his own therapeutic practice. We invite you to watch and then join the discussion!

 

 

Further reading:

Here is an earlier paper by David Newman describing his use of the written work within narrative therapeutic practice:

Rescuing the said from the saying of it, by David Newman

Published on January 24, 2013

2 Comments

  1. Hi David and other discussants,

    First, I would like to share that I also felt uncomfortable with the quality of the video of this Friday. I am not a native speaker myself, so I would love to have the microphone closer to the speaker, so that I would hear everything that was being said.

    Second, I would like to say that what I liked most in this presentation is the idea of “linking lives”. I work mostly with individual sessions, and I always have the feeling that, hey, there are other people with such issues, so how can I get them to speak to each other? Last week, I was seeing a woman who had serious issues with her (now deceased) mother, and I suddenly thought of another woman that I see who has similar issues with her (still alive) mother. So, I asked from the first woman what she would advise the second woman. I took notes, read them back to her and then handed in them to the second woman.

    This second woman was very moved by one particular sentence of the “advice”, so moved that she asked not to discuss about it further. In the end of the session, I invited her to write down a response to the first woman. She also asked me whether I could bring them in touch with each other; I had no clue how to handle this. Any ideas?

    Third, I find the idea of writing letters very challenging. I don’t feel I can do that. What I do is that I provide to the people I see a paper with their words that I write down during the session. This leaves me with shorter notes for my files, but some of the people find this “technique” useful for them. Some others said that the power of the written words is so strong that they prefer not to take my notes with them.

    All in all, thank you for this great and inspiring presentation and discussion!

    • Hi Georgios,

      Firstly sorry about the quality of the sound. We hope to fix that up in future.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. That sounds like some interesting and moving exchanges through the written word between the two women you are meeting with. I find in those times where two people are linked in the written word I will ask both if they would like to be put in touch directly (either in person or through email or phone). I find sometimes people do and sometimes they don’t want to be put in touch directly.

      However I do think there are some complexities/dilemmas with this too. I think about what skills we can develop around the dilemmas; like for instance how can we assist the exchanges to be building of connection and preferred stories and not hijacked by the problem story or even practices of comparison? As a result of such complexities/dilemmas I think it can sometimes be useful to facilitate the exchanges, to have the written linking through the worker. Of course that is not always the case but I just wanted to add this particular dilemma.

      If you hand out written notes to clients I know that many people photocopy the notes, with the permission of the client, so they can be added to a file or re-written.

      Thanks again for your message and questions.

      Warmly,

      David Newman

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