Collective Narrative Practice with young people with Aspergers who experienced bullying in their lives by Chris Tse

This video presents an experience of collective narrative practice with young people with Aspergers who experienced bullying in their lives. This project intends to connect young people together collectively. An innovative methodology of Smartphone of Life will be illustrated in assisting the young people to re-authorize their stories with alternative identities. The practice of externalizing conversation, re-authorizing conversation, outsider-witness practice and definitional ceremony will be described with the stories of young people. The local knowledges and skills of young people have been documented in co-creating the postcards for sharing. If you want to share your outsider witness responses to the young people after watching this video, you could send an email to them at

Tse Kit-hung, Chris is currently working in a public social service agency as a counsellor in Hong Kong. He mainly works with children and youths who have experienced difficulties related to the mental health issue or developmental disorders in their lives. He first encountered Narrative Therapy in 2005 and completed the Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work in 2015. Chris is passionate in collective practice and he is committed to launch different kinds of groups and community programs in connecting people together in responding to different oppressions in the local community. He loves to meet different narrative practitioners. You are welcome to contact Chris by email:

Before introducing the video, Chris would like to acknowledge the young people who participated in the collective practice and agreed to share their stories.

Published February 17, 2016

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. KJ Wiseheart

    Hi Chris, thanks for sharing your work with young people who have experienced bullying! I really resonated with this as I am Autistic as well. I particularly enjoyed your song at the end of the presentation, I could really imagine this as the theme song for an anime series!

  2. Wui (Brian) Hang Tang

    Well done Chris! What you did was meaningful to them.

  3. Emer Casey

    Chris thank you for sharing your inspiring work with this group. I found it very interesting and moving….thanks again. Emer

  4. Elizabeth Quek

    Hi Chris, really enjoyed watching this video. I found this really useful in my current work with someone experiencing bullying and was so taken away by the preferred stories of making a stand against ideas of masculinity and ways of using/submitting to authoritarian ways. I’m fairly curious about what is the word for “ordinary”; if you would share what is the Chinese word for it? Being from Singapore, I really connected with many of the societal circumstances you described.
    I also loved the idea of Backup friendship, and wonder what is it for people to be joined in this way and appreciate how much difference it could make for them.
    Anyway, I will invite the young person who is consulting with me to respond! Thanks for the sharing the insider knowledges! I loved the apps to find out the history of the skills and the camera to capture hopes and dreams! Also, i loved the song a lot! xoxo

  5. Troy Holland

    Dear Tse and the young people of the Backup Friendship Team!

    Thank you so much for allowing your work together to be shared with us. We learned about it by watching the Friday afternoon video presented by Tse. We watched this together and discussed what it meant to us and we wanted to share a few of our responses with you all:

    ‘I want to give a “thumbs up” to the young people for sticking with it. You tried different things to deal with the bullying. Some things didn’t work but you kept going and found things that worked.’

    ‘I love the image of the “Primary Chicken”. It makes the bullying seem a lot less threatening. It defuses some of the power that the bullying holds, and makes it weaker.’

    ‘I thought the Smartphone metaphor was a really smart one to use! Smartphones have become such an important part of our lives, not only for young people, but also for older people too.’

    ‘I really like the postcards. It had me thinking about how this could be really useful for kids who might have some troubles with literacy. A few words and a picture could be a great way of sending a message to a young person, it could be a vehicle to let them know that they are not the only person facing up to this bullying.’

    ‘I liked how the young people were able to move from authoritative agency (relying on the authority of the teachers) to personal agency to do something about the bullying. The young person spoke about the futility of the adults doing something about this bullying problem and how he knew the answers lay with the young people. This seemed to reduce the young people’s sense of powerlessness.’

    ‘It was important to me that there was both personal and collective agency in dealing with bullying. The young people were able to take personal action but they were also joined by others so that they knew they didn’t have to face this problem alone – they had backup friendship!’

    ‘I really loved the song. I found it endearing.’

    Thank you again Tse and the Backup Friendship team for sharing your work with us. It will have us thinking and responding differently in the ways we work with young people. We especially hope that we can use things like Smartphone metaphors, endearing songs, postcards and other creative ways of working.

    With warmth and respect

    Narrative Collaborators Central Queensland

    1. Tse Kit Hung, Chris

      Hi Troy and Narrative Collaborators Central Queensland,

      Thank you for your responses and it is really a great encouragement to the Backup Friendship team that their stories, knowledges and the collective product “postcards” could create some impacts to different people in the world. I would bring all of your responses to them in our coming meeting in July. Thanks again.


  6. Julie

    Hi Chris
    Thank you! I loved hearing about the young people’s stories that challenge the dominant discourse of masculinity and promote a dialogue of diversity. I work with families who daily attempt to support their children’s diversity in the face of the dominant story of deficiency. They describe that this is often the aspect that is the most difficult to work through. I think they would appreciate hearing these young people’s experiences and understandings. Having an opportunity to celebrate diversity is always a welcomed and valuable conversation to share!

    1. Tse Kit-hung, Chris

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for watching my video. I really love your words – “celebrate diversity”. It’s really inspire me to use of this idea in my coming narrative practice. Indeed, I am planning to organize a narrative day camp with young people in the Backup Team and other families or parents who are supporting their children’s diversity. “Celebrate diversity” could be one of themes in the day camp. Thanks for your inspiration, Julie.


  7. Sumie

    Hi Chris!

    Thank you so much for sharing your exciting collective practice!
    I appreciated that you named specific dominant discourses of Normality, such as Expectations to comply with authority, Masculinity and Elitism, all of which I personally suspect that fuels, legitimizes and perpetuates Bullying on a societal and cultural level, as the crucial “lifeline” for Bullying. I think another dominant discourse that Bullying in Japan might be taking advantage of is Age-appropriate-ness, such as age-appropriate physical/academic/social performances that can easily get targeted for “primary chicken” kind of teasing, regardless of age. Since the effects of both Bullying and Aspergar often get internalized as one’s internal quality, this makes me wonder if Bullying sometimes gets away with creating many difficulties for young people and make Aspergar and other diagnoses take all the responsibilities and reputations for those difficulties that young people experience as a result of Bullying…

    I also love the idea of Smartphone of Life, how brilliant! I’m starting my new work where I will be seeing young people who are diagnosed with many kinds of disabilities and have experienced Bullying in the past. I would love to give a try to “Smartphone of Life” and share their stories and/or outsider witness responses with backup friendship team!

    Again, thank you so much for opening up this exciting possibility!

  8. Kristina Lainson

    Hi Chris!

    What a beautiful piece of work this is. What it really reminds me of is just how invisible discourses of ‘normality’ are and what a difference can be made when we truly embrace ideas of diversity, and what this might mean to the young people you were working with that you have taken up that position, and the care taken in highlighting and giving voice to the skills and knowledges they hold.

    I am hugely inspired by the creative ways that you developed avenues for connection with and between these young people, the interview with bullying, the collective approaches and especially the amazing smartphone of life! Such a clever idea! I’m really struck by the difference it makes to follow the interests of the people we work with. I can imagine that your decision to use technology in this context would make the activity a very meaningful one. I love that you have used what for these young people is an everyday item that is likely already important to them. I can imagine this would be a daily reminder of their new understandings about themselves.

    And for me personally it was so lovely to hear you and Caca sing together again…a reminder of friendships and connections across distances!!

    Thank you for sharing.


  9. Phillipa Johnson Cook

    What an uplifting story of practice Chris! I really appreciated the way in which you invited people to invest a familiar and ‘ordinary’ object with new meaning and significance – I’m looking at my smartphone and other familiar objects I have neglected in a new way!

    I liked so much of what you shared, but I think I was particularly drawn at this time to the story about Hei finding his own ways to respond to Bullying. I was taken with how in your conversation with Hei, ‘effective’ ways to respond this problem were illuminated. It made me think about how despite the often ineffectiveness of structural systems to respond to problems like these (in this case the school and teachers in power and authority), that those who are suffering, ordinary people, often have powerful ways of responding – including guarding what is precious (like Hei being gentle and quiet) and cultivating communities of people who stand for something else.

    This makes me think of conversations about ‘social movement’ & narrative practices. It made me think about how some therapeutic conversations might create particularly fruitful contexts for the emergence of local ideas, actions and initiatives responding to problems/injustices/oppressions – ideas and actions such as those that Hei and this group of young people came up with. Your project, and Hei’s story, made me feel hopeful, as while big structural changes to the way many people are treated in our communities might be long long term social movement projects – narrative practices and questions like yours seem to illuminate people finding their own small, beautiful, everyday ways to be the people they ‘prefer’ despite problems, to sustain themselves through hardships and to resist injustice individually and collectively. This seems so important to acknowledge and remember, at least to me, as we engage in long term social movement work where ‘big’ changes, might be hard to see or experience.

    It was moving to witness how you wove these narrative practices together in honouring and elevating young peoples knowledges in so many different ways here Chris.. thank you for offering such a thoughtful and inspiring project.

    With warmth Phillipa

  10. Loretta

    Sorry Ying and others, I meant young people, not just boys. A young woman with Aspergers has taught me a lot about standing against the expectations that the Aspergers label can bring.

  11. Loretta

    Hi Chris, Thanks so much for sharing your work. I love that you are using collective narrative practice as a way of NOT inviting isolation into your project. The Smartphone of Life is very cool! I will share it with my colleagues.

    Two of my family members have these kinds of struggles, and I imagine they would appreciate the idea of ‘diverse ways of living’ and the care you are taking to find ways to stand together with the boys against isolation and bullying. It was lovely hearing about Hei’s ideas to resist the bullying and his gentle and quiet ways, and love of reading books.

    I also appreciated the discussion around dominant discourses, and its impact on people with Aspergers and others who live differently.

    Thanks to you and also to the boys.

    1. Tse Kit Hung, Chris

      Hi Loretta, I’m glad to hear that you and your family members love the idea of “diverse ways of living”, I love it very much too. This idea is always on my mind when I listen to the stories of different people.

  12. Angie

    I would love to share this on Twitter but there isn’t a Twitter “share” button on this page

  13. Hung Suet Lin Shirley

    Marvalous!!! Chris, it is such an impressive piece of work. I particularly love the ideas of smartphone of life: the wall paper, the apps, the junk call list, songs, etc. The resistance of these young boys to bullying is powerful and the way you address mascaulinities and resistance to dominant masculine culture is also resonated. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work!!

    1. Tse Kit Hung, Chris

      Shirley, thanks for your encouragement. Actually, some ideas of my project were inspired from your work, e.g., the externalizing interview with “uselessness” in the collective narrative practice with rape victims. I have some transports after reading the stories of those women. They were encouraged me to do this collective project in supporting the young people against the oppression. Thus, thanks for sharing your beautiful work too!

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