Planet stories: Using AI-generated science fiction to externalise conflict in relationships — Andrea Ng

Andrea Ng is an independent narrative-informed family consultant in Hong Kong, with a key focus on supporting families with children/teenagers diagnosed with autism, ADHD and special educational needs. She passionately incorporates expressive arts like drama, music, and song writing into her narrative-informed work with people. Andrea is also a certified Project management professional with extensive interests and experience in IT and education. As a devoted Christian, her work and life are continuously inspired by her adorable teenage son and beloved husband. /
Externalising can be useful in addressing conflict in relationships. It can provide space for deconstruction, the consideration of shared values and new meaning-making. It also avoids the labelling and deficit identity conclusions that can accompany internalised accounts. This audio practice note describes an emerging practice for working with couples experiencing conflict: using an artificial intelligence tool to generate science fiction stories to support the externalising of a problem and open space for reauthoring conversations. Andrea Ng Siu Har shares her work with Amy (pseudonym), whose husband valued punctuality while Amy preferred to prioritise being relaxed over arriving on time. As part of a playful enquiry into this cultural difference between the spouses, Andrea and Amy prompted ChatGPT to produce a science fiction story about daily life on a planet whose inhabitants were always late. As well as being funny and resonant, the resulting story helped to elicit Amy’s own values and to identify skills she had developed, including being able to remain calm and work quickly under pressure. It also prompted discussion of the family history of these skills and values. A subsequent AI story about a planet whose inhabitants were impatient facilitated insight into Amy’s husband’s perspective, and prompted conversations about shared values and the work of achieving mutual understanding, accommodation and harmony. Andrea also shares some cautions for working with AI in this way, and emphasises the importance of keeping the person, and their knowledge and preferences, at the centre. Key words: artificial intelligence; AI; ChatGPT; externalising; reauthoring; conflict; couples; science fiction; narrative therapy; narrative practice.
Suggested citation: Ng, A. (2023). Planet stories: Using AI-generated science fiction to externalise conflict in relationships [Audio recording]. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, (1). 10.4320/HBYV4869 Author pronouns:(she/her)
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