Decolonising identity stories

An introduction to decolonising practices from Tileah


Decolonising Identity Stories

Tileah Drahm-Butler

Tileah discusses how narrative therapy can be used as a decolonising practice.

Now you can read Tileah’s chapter on the same topic:

Decolonising identity stories: Narrative practice through Aboriginal eyes

This chapter is from the book Aboriginal narrative practice: Honouring Storylines of price, strength and creativity by Barbara Wingard, Carolynanha Johnson and Tileah Drahm-Butler


Reflections from Tileah

This Post Has 128 Comments

  1. ella.keegan

    I noted the similarities with CBT in terms of reflection of meaning and broadening from a single story to consider more helpful ways you can frame stories to yourself ie second story.

  2. lisa.hannaford

    I work in education and I really appreciate the reframing of counseling as yarning with a purpose. And the strong story underneath the problem story-if we did behaviour management at schools this way, we could empower our students instead of excluding/suspending them!

  3. jstott

    The case studies in the reading brought the practice to life for me. It was inspiring to read about how Tileah guided the people she worked with to tell their strong stories and map their journeys of change.

  4. mariasetefano

    I love that this way of yarning externalises the the problem from the person, which allows for the person to gain a clearer perspective of the problem and that you are looking for the story behind the story because that gives the control back to the person and again brings strength and mana back to the person and like you said “putting shame in its place”

  5. christinef

    Thank you for centering decolonising practices in your course. At my work in VACCA Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Association, we will be working with families and children who have a lot of ‘problem’ stories assigned to them, which are largely colonial psychological description of problems with marginalisation, racism, violence, and structural inequality. I like the idea of focusing on resistance , survival, hanging on to culture and hope as a way of deep acknowledgement of the alternative stories and identities of communities.

  6. Heather

    I feel that the intentional usage of the word “yarning” rather than “counselling” is a perfect encapsulation of what is so moving about decolonizing identity stories. The very words that we use to speak with folks carry a history in themselves, and work to root us in problem saturated ways of thinking before we even meet someone. The conscious choice of yarning is a great reminder that we all have the power to speak differently, listen differently, and yarn differently in ways that both make us stronger and resist the colonization of our own minds.

  7. angie.mclaughlin

    I am really enjoying the idea of looking at someone’s story within a historical context. I like challenging ideas that a dominant culture gets to say who you are and what your problem is. Most people that I have seen in therapy’s stories make sense in context. It is compassionate way of looking at things and a recognition of the wrongs afflicted on colonisers which have generational affects.

  8. jessica-1758

    I have done a variety of courses and reading around Narrative therapy and actively use it in my counselling work. I like to regularly review and refresh myself on the therapeutic approaches I use in my work and this course has certainly ticked the boxes and reminded me of why this skill set is so important . This course has been a wonderfully rich refresher on the ways in which to utilise Narrative Therapy with my clients in general but also a reminder of the importance of it’s use with the aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients that I work with but also with other groups who identify as LBTGIQ and neurodiverse, along with those that experience chronic disease and disability in their lives. The honouring of stories and the importance of agency for the client and de centering of the professional as the expert is something that I always consider but I’ve been reminded of just how much value this approach has for so many.

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