Colouring Narrative Therapy’s Solidarity by Marcela Polanco

G’day and welcome to this Friday Afternoon discussion which for the first time features presentations in both English and Spanish.

Within these presentations, Marcela Polanco addresses the acculturation/decolonization of narrative therapy into Latin America through the means of “translation resistance” (Tymockzo, 2010). Drawing from the same political, epistemological and theoretical tenants of narrative therapy, she presents its translation into her Colombian Spanish. Marcela proposes a therapy of solidarity as a Latin American version of narrative therapy. She presents this proposal as furthering the life of narrative therapy keeping it from becoming colonizing, refreshing and reinventing its practices when ‘arriving’ to a new linguistic context — Colombian Spanish. Marcela Polanco is a narrative therapist originally from Bogotá, Colombia, and currently resides in Monroe, Louisiana, USA.



Diálogo con la terapia narrativa desde la solidaridad colombiana/latinoamericana
por marcela polanco



marcela polanco hace referencia a la aculturación/descolonización de la terapia narrativa en Latinoamérica por medio de una “traducción de resistencia” (Tymockzo, 2010). Tomando los mismos principios políticos, epistemológicos y teóricos de la terapia narrativa, ella presenta esta traducción a su español colombiano. marcela propone una terapia solidaria como una versión latinoamericana de la terapia narrativa. Ella presenta esta propuesta como el continuo desarrollo de la vida de la terapia narrativa previniendo que se vuelva colonizadora, refrescando y reinventando sus prácticas al “llegar” a un contexto lingüístico nuevo—el español colombiano.

marcela es terapeuta narrativa originaria de Bogotá, Colombia, y actualmente vive en la Monroe, Louisiana, USA.

A paper by marcelo polanco and David Epston

Polanco, M. & Epston, D. (2009) Tales of travels across language: Languages and their anti-languages. The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, 4: 62-71.

Further reading

Excerpt from: Polanco, M. (2011). Autoethnographic Means to the Ends of translating/Decolonizing Narrative Therapy: The birth of Terapia Solidaria [Therapy of Solidarity]. (Unpublished PhD dissertation). Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Akinyela, M. (2002) “Decolonizing our lives: Divining a post-colonial therapy”. The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, No. 2, pp. 32-43.

Akinyela, A. “Testimonies of Hope: African Centered Praxis for Therapeutic Ends” in The Journal of Systemic Therapy, Spring 200562-71

This essay describes Testimony therapy, the name given to a range of therapeutic practices grounded in the culture, history, and experience of the African-American community. Testimony therapy is an African-centered therapy that focuses on the personal stories of those who consult with the therapist, as well as the collective stories of the African experience in the United States. The focus on storytelling relates Testimony therapy to narrative therapies. The focus on and centering in indigenous cultural ways of being relates this approach to therapies such as the Just therapy of the team in New Zealand. Testimony therapy is communitarian, that is, it emphasizes the person within community and is social constructionist in its outlook.

Barmigan, D. (2003). Eduardo Galeano. The Progressive.

Galeano, E. (2005). The upside-down world. In Pilger, J. (Ed.), Tell me no lies: Investigative journalism that changed the world (pp. 386-408). New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press.

García Márquez, G. (2003b). The Solitude of Latin America. Gabriel García Márquez. Nobel Prize Lecture (A. B. Ruch, trans.). Retrieved from

Martín-Baró, I. (1988). Acción e ideología: Psicología social desde Centroamérica. San Salvador, El Salvador: UCA Editores.

Martín – Baró, I. (1998). El fatalismo como identidad cognitiva. En I.

Martín – Baró (Ed.), Psicología de la liberación (pp. 39-128). Madrid: Editorial Trotta S.A.

Reynolds, V. (2010). Doing Justice as a Path to Sustainability in Community Work.

Reynolds, V. (2010). Activism and Solidarity: The Role of Activists in Academia, Ally Work, and Direct Action—YouTube

Chandra Talpade Mohanty (2003). Feminism without borders: Decolonizing theory, practicing solidarity. London, NY: Duke University Press.

Published on January 24, 2013
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