Decolonising identity stories

Decolonising practice

An introduction from Tileah Drahm-Butler

Decolonising Identity Stories

Tileah Drahm-Butler 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

Closing words from Tileah

This Post Has 86 Comments

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    I reflected on the importance of defining well-being in our own ways and in our own language/story. I particularly could relate to the reading in where issues were discussed as the Thing. It made me feel that is so important to externalize shame and put it in its place and looked at- it is at the core of recognising the ongoing colonisation that occurs. This section gave an incredibly useful framework .

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    Michelle wilkinson

    yes I heard a theme of standing up for justice, started at a young age, but continues until today, it has become formative on her life/

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    Sandra Owen

    I reflected on the practice of decolonizing narratives and considered how that may sound. It is a powerful way to rise above the powerlessness of being colonized. I like it

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    Something that stood out to me about decolonising identity stories was the importance of externalising shame, and I thought the questions Tileah shared as examples of what she asks were thought-provoking and very useful.

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    Pandora Galea

    ‘Yarning with a purpose’ is a revolutionary phrase that should be incorporated in counselling practice as it offers a non-threatening lead into healing. Tileah offered a plethora of wisdom through theoretical and practical examples thereby allowing me to internalise the processes at a deeper level. Thankyou so much for this insight. The most significant to me were: the acknowledging of the impact of deeply rooted racial and cultural biases on the collective impacting the individual; the necessity to identify shame and its insidious impact for the individual and their mob; the search for the ‘double-story’ as a cooperative exercise between healer and recipient and the returning of power to the individual when they are enabled to witness and evaluate the stories in order to find solutions. Simply put, these acts combine to reintegration of the whole individual by acknowledging and accepting all facets of themselves thereby endowing these traumatic experiences to be chapters in their lives rather than having the power to be their whole story or identity. In undertaking such a courageous journey the individual also empowers their society as a collective.

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    Telling and re-telling our stories is important in de-colonizing our identities. Stories of marginalized people have been told and re-told, in ways that pathologize and disempower. As a person of African descent, I can relate to how we have been labelled as helpless and in need of a savior.

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