Apart from swimming with her Border Collie and being a taxi for young people who live with her, Carolyn’s working life is primarily with children. Having been taught by Michael White in the early 90’s, Carolyn now practices Narrative therapy as a school counsellor in a co-eduational school in Adelaide and in an NGO, Uniting communities within a family counselling team who work primarily with those affected by violence. She is also a senior teacher of the Dulwich Teaching Faculty.
This piece of Narrative therapeutic and group work describes some recent consultations she had with a mother and her two daughters traumatically affected by their loved father’s and partner’s violence. This occurred at Uniting Communities.
In particular, Carolyn describes the ways Narrative ideas support us to research children’s and female partner’s contradictory and concurrent memberships, or connections of love and hate, towards those who have harmed them. She also describes in detail the pragmatics of how as a counsellor, she is accountable for the hopes of these women for their dad and partner to take and “live out” responsibility for the devastating impact of his children witnessing his violence towards their mother.
Unusually and concurrently, this father is participating in a men’s group for those who are ashamed of the acts of violence they have perpetrated. Carolyn describes how the conversations with the female members of the family translate to conversations with the leaders of the group for men to face up to the impact their actions have on women and loved children in their lives. She describes how this translation occurs without this endangering the women and children that have informed her. The group work is obviously informed by Narrative Invitational and feminist principles. Carolyn hopes that you find this resonates with your practice or your team’s practice and that it encourages you in this important and challenging field that we work in.