Read more about the article Caring for trans community – Tiffany Sostar
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Caring for trans community – Tiffany Sostar

This audio practice note and the collective document it describes are part of “narrative projects in support of trans lives”, and are the first to be published in this collection of work. Not to fix anything, but just to offer a millimetre of relief or breath or humour or companionship": A collective document about caring for trans community brings together many stories of care within and with trans community. Our hope is that this document will help connect readers to a sense of community and collective action, and will invite readers, regardless of gender identity, to join us in taking actions of care within a social context that is increasingly hostile to trans lives. These stories, reflection questions, and invitations describe and welcome a wide range of care, including small, personal, and beautifully imperfect actions taken by and alongside trans community.

Read more about the article Standing upright against trauma and hardship: Checklists of innovative moments of social and psychological resistance – Muhammed Furkan Cinisli
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Standing upright against trauma and hardship: Checklists of innovative moments of social and psychological resistance – Muhammed Furkan Cinisli

Trauma represents a profound and emotionally intense experience within the human condition. Beyond its evident impacts on both the physiological and psychological dimensions of an individual, this complex phenomenon encapsulates moments of resistance and strength in the face of adversity. From a narrative standpoint, individuals invariably manifest unique responses to trauma, which necessitate a close and nuanced examination for recognition and comprehension. This article proposes a framework for the systematic collection and organisation of diverse responses to trauma through a checklist of innovative moments of social and psychological resistance, contributing to a greater comprehension of this intricate phenomenon.

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Read more about the article Narrative therapy, Buddhism, Taoism and Chinese medicine: An interview with Ming Li, Mandarin translation read by Ming Li and Qianyun Yang
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Narrative therapy, Buddhism, Taoism and Chinese medicine: An interview with Ming Li, Mandarin translation read by Ming Li and Qianyun Yang

In this audio translation of a paper from the journal’s archives, David Denborough interviews Ming Li, a narrative practitioner in Beijing, China, with an interest in the resonances he sees between some narrative ideas and practices, and those of Buddhism, Taoism and other aspects of Chinese culture, history and medicine. Ming draws on multiple domains of knowledge and experience to describe some of the congruencies and points of difference he has noticed, and to explain what draws him to using a narrative practice approach in his own context.

Read more about the article “It’s a sausage, not a scone”: A recipe for getting through hard times in response to the suicide of a loved one – Beth and Ben Shannahan
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“It’s a sausage, not a scone”: A recipe for getting through hard times in response to the suicide of a loved one – Beth and Ben Shannahan

Ben Shannahan began meeting with Beth and her family soon after Beth’s older sister Amberly ended her own life. Their conversations lead to Beth writing a song in honour of Amberly. Here, Beth and Ben share the song along with the story of how it was written and eventually performed to family members and friends.

Read more about the article Games and narrative practice by Noor Kulow
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Games and narrative practice by Noor Kulow

In this presentation to the International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference in Rwanda, Noor Kulow introduces a range of narrative practices that have been used with children in Somalia who have lost their biological parents early in life. Externalising conversations, the Team of Life approach and traditional children’s games are used to respond to stigma, reconnect children with their hopes and dreams, and respond to trauma and hardship. Movement-based activities like leapfrog and jumping, and traditional games like girir and jar, provide entry points to therapeutic conversations.


Feminist insider research by Marnie Sather

In this presentation, made at the launch of the Narrative Practice Research Network, Marnie Sather introduces some of the possibilities and complexities of feminist insider research. Drawing on her experience of completing doctoral research with women who had lost a male partner to suicide, Marnie sets out some of the options for positioning the researcher in insider research – from not disclosing insider status to placing it as the centre – and describes how she came to a position of careful utilisation of her own experience in the research process and in the writing of her thesis.

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How we deal with Autistic burnout by KJ Wiseheart

In this video, KJ introduces the accompanying collective document “How we deal with Autistic burnout: A living document created by Autistic adults for Autistic adults”. This document was created through a series of interviews with lived experience experts who generously shared their skills and hard-won knowledges. KJ describes the process of creating this document, and how they endeavoured to adapt and localise existing practices of collective documentation, for accessibility and cultural resonance with Autistic community values and ways of being.


A search for justice using AI-assisted image creation — Lucy Van Sambeek

As artificial intelligence becomes pervasive, therapists might be left wondering about its implications for narrative practice. This paper explores an unexpected discovery about the power of artificial intelligence in re-imagining a story of injustice. Lucy (the therapist) and Miles (the client) used an AI image creator to assist in the externalisation of problems.


Imagination and metaphor in narrative therapy and collective practice — John Stubley

In this paper I explore the use of metaphors in the creation of externalised problem narratives for individuals and larger collectives, as well as in the creation of preferred alternative narratives. Through practice examples, I relate some of the ways in which I have been working with imagination and metaphor in my own context in Western Australia.


The effort and intricacies of generating experience-near language – David Newman

In this paper I explore Clifford Geertz’s distinction between experience-near and experience-distant language. In the process, I draw from mad studies and mental health service user epistemology, both written and generated through my work. I also draw on the work of the historian of emotion Tiffany Watt Smith.


The Rainbow of Life: A collective narrative practice with young LGBTQIA+ people with a health condition – James McParland and Jaymie Huckridge

This article describes the use of narrative practices for LGBTQIA+ young people with a health condition. It presents a collective narrative practice: the Rainbow of Life. This adapts the Tree of Life metaphor to invite rich story development opportunities when working with LGBTQIA+ people. It involves exploring their commitments, special moments and those who stand alongside them in solidarity, and creatively mapping these on to a rainbow image.


An Episode of Your Life: Rich narrative engagement with episodic stories — Julie Stewart, Tiffany Sostar, Ian Myhra, Sonia Hoffmann and Jyotsna Uppal

This article describes a new practice map, an “Episode of Your Life”, which adapts existing narrative “... of life” practices to an episodic story from a person’s life using metaphors from film and television production. This practice map draws significantly on ideas of “peopling the room” and the Team of Life in order to scaffold safety in imagining the process of telling painful stories through the collectivising of the storytelling process. This practice map specifically does not require that the storyteller tell the story, but rather invites them to imagine how they might tell a story from their life in a way that aligns with their values, hopes and preferred storylines. Some of the significant effects that we discovered were related to the richness of the visual metaphor for adding another layer of possible meaning-making in the storytelling process, and allowing for a “proliferation of what’s possible” in the imagining of the storytelling, such as through the use of time jumps; computer-generated imagery; inviting rich descriptions of preferred relationships, histories and values; and dignifying of stories that otherwise might be left unspoken. Participants were left with a feeling of solidarity and a “safe riverbank” from which to imagine telling their stories.


Psychosocial support initiatives in the aftermath of the 2023 earthquake: A university-led community approach — Mehmet Dinç and Canahmet Boz

This article discusses the response of a university psychology department to the devastating earthquakes that struck Türkiye on 6 February 2023, resulting in significant loss of life and widespread destruction. This paper focuses on the narrative practices undertaken by a university psychology department in the affected region, particularly the establishment of a psychological support telephone line staffed by volunteer psychologists.

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Safety and solidarity: Using collective documents to share sex workers’ insider knowledges — Julia Sharp

Western culture and Western health care systems have created places of sexual health care that are highly individualised, privatised and professionalised. For people engaged in sex work, this reduces the possibilities for sharing skills and knowledges and instead leaves people with internalised feelings of shame, guilt and isolation. This paper describes collective therapeutic work that elicited insider knowledges, skills and sparkling moments from sex workers.

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Departing from stigma and secrecy and elevating stories of agency: Narrative practice in the voices of sex workers — Kaur Serendipity

This paper explores the use of narrative therapy and community work to respond to the complexities surrounding women’s experiences in the sex industry. It offers practices for therapists and community workers seeking to engage with sex workers in ways that are respectful of their hard-won knowledge and seek to elicit double-storied accounts in relation to hardship, thicken stories of preferred identities, and explore absent-but-implicit values, hopes and commitments.

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Read more about the article My album, by Chaste Uwihoreye, Jean Marie Zivugukuri and Emmanuel Kigundu
Snow gum trees (Eucalyptus pauciflora) in Baw Baw National Park, Australia.

My album, by Chaste Uwihoreye, Jean Marie Zivugukuri and Emmanuel Kigundu

My Album is a poignant collection of artworks by children and adolescents engaged in “Mobile Arts for Peace” (MAP) clubs across multiple schools in Rwanda. The artworks vividly portray painful pasts, current challenges, and aspirations for the future. The vibrant tapestry of colours, symbols, and metaphors encapsulates the resilience and courage of these young people.


Indigenous storyWORK as research by Tileah Drahm-Bulter

In times of hardship, talking directly about painful or traumatic experiences, overwhelming emotions, or problematic actions with children, young people or families can be difficult. As co-researchers, we invite children, youngsters and their families and networks to contribute in playful ways to unravelling the tentacles of hardship and re(dis)covering a sense of agency, belonging and coherence. Together, we look in unexpected corners for safe places to build a team of support and solidarity. In dis-covering a multiplicity of stories rather than being trapped in one dominant story of trauma or loss, we co-create relief and develop more coherent storylines that weave the experiences and stories about hardship into the fabric of their lives.


On critical thinking by Mary Heath, read by Mary Heath

In this audio recording of a favourite paper from the journal’s archives, Mary Heath sets out a personal history of her journey toward becoming a critical thinker. She considers two common barriers to critical thinking: cultural disapproval of critique, and confusing critical thinking with criticism. In response, Mary argues that rigorous thinking offers benefits – and not only risks – to cultures as well as individuals.


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