Collective Narrative Practices & Innovation Projects

The innovative projects which we discuss in this chapter draw on collective narrative practices that are concerned with responding to groups and communities who have experienced significant social suffering and oppression in contexts in which ‘therapy’ may not be culturally resonant. Collective Narrative Practices have a rich history and engage a diverse range of methodologies that can be used with individuals, groups and communities. In this chapter, we will just touch on a few methodologies …


 

“As counsellors, therapists, psychosocial workers and community workers, stories of hardship find their way to us. In some ways, we are cultural receivers of stories of suffering (Waldegrave, Tamaseses, Tuhaka & Campbell, 2003). And often this suffering is linked to broader injustices: to violence, abuse, racism, poverty, sexism, heterosexual dominance. To be the cultural receivers of these stories brings with it awesome responsibilities; for instance there are responsibilities to comfort and to somehow alleviate hardship. But there is another responsibility that I am hoping we will also engage with. How can we receive these stories and engage with them in ways that not only alleviate individual sorrow, but also enable and sustain local social action to address the broader injustices, violence and abuses in our varying contexts? How can we provide forums for the sorrow, anguish and hardship of the stories that we receive to be transformed into collective actions? I don’t mean grand social actions, I mean local, meaningful, resonant, sustainable, social action or social contributions’

(Denborough, 2008, p. 192)

For a link to the book you can visit Collective Narrative Practice by David Denborough 


The following paper is an example of conversations that have taken place in a number of villages in rural Malawi. Here practitioners engage problems in a personification with one worker playing the role of Mr/Mrs AIDS, who represents HIV/AIDS; and another plays the role of Mr/Mrs CARE, who represents the community. Members of the village are invited to ask questions of these two characters, and a conversation develops. Please click on the link to read about this compelling example of collective practice!

Little by Little we Make a Bundle


In this interview, Paulo Freire describes some of his thinking about oppression, ethical responsibilities and how these shape possibilities for social change. The work of Paulo Freire has influenced the development of collective narrative practices.

Making History and Unveiling Oppression


The Mt Elgon Self-Help Community Project, based in rural Uganda, uses narrative practices to spark and sustain local social action and environmental and economic projects. This video contains some of the stories of the work of Caleb Wakhungu and the Mt Elgon project.

 


 

One of the ways in which the field of narrative practice continues to diversify is through innovation projects. These are often the result of collaborations, invitations and challenges. Many of them involve ‘cross-cultural inventions’ and partnerships. You might like to explore some of these examples:

Tree of Life

Life Saving Tips from young Australian Muslims

Healing Stories Partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

For more projects of this kind you can see the full list here:

Innovation Projects


Many narrative therapists and community workers are now using music and song in their work with individuals, groups, and communities. This page contains songs created during various Dulwich Centre projects both in Australia and overseas, as well as links to find out more about the contexts they were created in.

Songs as a response to hardship and trauma

You can listen to David Denborough discussing the use of song in narrative practice on the radio program ‘Songcatcher’, a Radio Adelaide production. 


 

For Reflection

Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?

What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?

In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?

 


 

What do you think? Have you got an idea that might be interesting to exchange with others? Please let us know and share your thoughts on this chapter below before moving on. Please include where you are writing from (City and Country). Thanks!

This Post Has 298 Comments

  1. Avatar

    rob

    Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?
    The Mt Elgon Self-Help Community Project, ‘Raising our heads above the clouds’ stood out to me. The community was struggling until this intervention, where participants used Narrative Practices to motivate social action and economic development. They were able unpack their own history to identify existing resources, knowledges, and skills in ways that prioritized a preferred story they could ‘live into’, which inspired hope and produced transformation.

    What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?
    The project sparked my curiosity because I recognised parallels with my work helping communities reimagine their future. The steps of sharing stories of pride and survival, outsider witness responses, hopes and dreams, tracing hopes and dreams back into personal and collective roots, developing, then documenting and circulating a call to action, and finally generating excitement about the future, were similar to some of the work I have been doing, and beautifully illustrated in this inspiring video.

    In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?
    I think playing this quite touching video could add depth in orientating a group towards discussing the power of drawing on their history and hidden resources as components in reimaging their future.
    Rob in Victoria

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    Rhonda

    I really love the idea of the tree of life. It provides a very visual way for people to see the strengths they possess, and understand which way they have yet to grow still focusing on the present. Also, because it is an arts-based project, it can feel less daunting to people, who often can be overwhelmed with talk therapy.

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    Ko Man Lut

    I am interested to see how I can use narrative practice to motivate social actions and economic development. I find seven steps that include:

    1. sharing stories of pride and survival
    2. outsider – witness response
    3. hopes and dreams sharing
    4. the histories of people’s hopes and dreams
    5. call to action
    6. documenting the call to action
    7. circulating the documentation and generating excitement

    are very useful steps to motivate social changes. I like other successful sharing as well. (Ko Man Lut, Hong Kong)

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    khanna.akshit2000

    The Little by little we make a bundle is an innovative and useful way to work effectively in the service I work in. Personification is often understood to only work with children, but working with cognitively impaired or current drug users, using personification to address cultural taboos and needle sharing education would be very helpful, and might be the best take away from narrative work.

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    Jessica Brewer

    I believe the fact that many narrative therapists are utilizing music and song in their work with individuals, groups, and communities is demonstrating that narrative therapy is a continuously evolving process. The Mt Elgon Self-Help Community Project has sparked my curiosity and my enthusiasm in that the residents of the small town are speaking to their histories, they are speaking to their stories of survival, and motivating others. It has me wanted to learn more about the narrative that they are developing.
    Jessica
    Manteno, IL

  6. Avatar

    Deb

    Deb from Warrnambool, South Victoria.
    In this chapter, the work with the Community at Mount Elgon particularly resonated with me. When working with my disenfranchised clients I have always used the strength base, survivor story approach. Similar to this program I have always encouraged my folk to look upon their innate skills of survival they have been drawing upon their whole lives.
    Extending this through outsider witness response, and the exploration of hopes and dreams as well as histories is something I am looking forward to embracing in my practice. I feel that the opportunity to create a stronger foundation for their actions, as well as documenting their intentions and stories for others to share will create a greater sense of ownership and agency for many of my clients. As said in the Aboriginal communities’ stories this gives action an opportunity to gain greater meaning through creation from within the individual or community rather than having it done to them.

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    Rachel

    Coming to you from Melbourne, Australia.
    This chapter was so inspiring to me – I can see merit in all of the innovative projects although. the Tree of Life project stood out as relatable for work with young people and adolescents in a school setting. As a writer, the prospect of helping others to find hope from painful experience through being creative is something that I hope to foster in the future. I could use the idea of innovation projects and collective narrative work in a smaller community context, such as a class or school, for young people to share their collective experience and feel empowered through the sharing of their stories.

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    Barb Gartley

    I have spent many years working with Indigenous cultures both overseas an in Australia. The power of healing stories is palpable , incorporating , dancing, music and painting art, basket weaving . Incorporating culture contest, land, spirit water song lines , instinctual work I have also found the Tree of of Life a framework that I have adopted in Grief and Loss work . Life Saving Tips is a methodology I would also explore further , develop and adopt in context , recognizing inner strengths , resilience, spiritual connections , scared space, respectful environments all are essential for sharing stories and resonate with me.

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    Donna

    This chapter in particular has expanded my understanding of what Narrative Therapy is capable of. I hadn’t considered how we might use narrative practices to support the enhancement and healing of communities and groups of people. This is particularly interesting to me, as a clinician living in Canada, as our First Nation and Indigenous People and communities continue on healing journeys from acts of assimilation, genocide and colonization. Narrative practices would be incredibly powerful when considering the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. My thoughts and curiosities about this are centered on the development and implementation of community strategies to meet the needs of Indigenous and First Nations families, by carefully incorporating individual and Intergenerational hopes, dreams and goals. What an eye opening chapter overa ll. Thanks you!

  10. Avatar

    lisa.iannazzone

    I really enjoyed watching the video of the Mt Elgon Self Help Program and how they incorporate song and dance into their story along with the Outsider Witness. I think this really resonated with me because I truly believe that music plays such an important part in peoples lives and being able to incorporate this into narrative therapy really intrigues me.
    I loved how this led to talk about peoples hopes and dreams and then focused on where these social connections are such as the woman who wanted food security and how she was able to link that with her grandmother. it just seems like really powerful stuff that I would love the opportunity to explore more and maybe one day incorporate into my practice.

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    nicolef

    Hi, Nicole logging in today from Barunggam, the lands of the Guibal peoples in Toowoomba Queensland.

    I thought the Song of survival project for trans folk in prison was particularly interesting, and I love the concept of developing a community and support system through engagement in an art form.

    This is something I would like to incorporate into some of the group work we do.

  12. Avatar

    KWalker

    “There is always a social history to people’s dreams and wishes.”
    This quote from the Mt Elgon Self-Help Community Project really intrigues me. One of the projects I am involved with revolves around an international collective of women committed to intergenerational healing, and the creation of a self-sustaining spiritual and financial empowerment community. Together, we have explored ways to positively influence individual and collective experiences of racial and gender oppression; sexual expression; spiritual celebration; financial choices and dominant culture reaction to what can be seen as “counter-culture”. I am very intrigued to take the above quote back to our community and explore the impact of our individual and collective social history on our stated dreams and wishes; and to follow whether such exploration may reshape those dreams and wishes. Personally, considering the social history that has brought me to a commitment to international, collective spiritual empowerment has led me to a sense of insubstantiality and disquiet. I feel like a phony – like my commitments are not my own, but are rather an inescapable product of a privledged white upbringing that I may well be living out from a place of gross egotism. Thank you for the invitation to reflect in such a moving way.
    (Australia)

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    Katie Brewer

    The narrative project in rural Mulawi really stands out for me and I find myself somewhat in awe at the power that narrative practices can hold to affect change on a community-wide level. Not only is the work impactful, but it is respectful and encompassing of the culture within which it was developed. It is a beautiful, bottom-up approach to problem solving that engages and empowers the community members rather than imposing external values and beliefs. I love the way these practices meet people where they are and build healing and growth from there.
    There was a line in the interview with David Denborough that has also stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing, but he said something about how narrative practice allows him to assist others with telling their story in a way that makes them strong. I think this sentiment is going to stick with me as I move forward in my work with my counseling clients – how can I help them to tell their stories in ways that empowers them and gives them strength and resilience?
    I’m not sure quite yet how to use these community-level approaches in my work, but this is definitely something that I will continue to reflect upon as I move through this training and throughout my career.
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA.

  14. Avatar

    Dawn

    I’m in El Sobrante, CA, USA.

    I love reading about the intersection of narrative practices with dance and music. I’m currently in graduate school (earning an MS in counseling, MFT focus) and working as an MFT Trainee, and I have decades of experience creating interdisciplinary dancetheater performance pieces that draw on the performers lived experience, and weave their stories together. I’m really interested in combining my dancetheater work with my future MFT practice, and I found this section inspiring and profoundly helpful. Someday, I want to be able to offer group therapy that combines narrative therapy concepts and strategies with the performance process. This section helped me see how I might be able to do that. I’m hoping to keep pursuing education and training in narrative therapy, and to pursue drama therapy certification as well.

  15. Avatar

    Caro

    I am feeling very inspired by the Nerrandera community project, I can see huge value in this approach, with far reaching benefits for all of us.
    The richness of the story telling, whether in song, dance or narrative was incredibly powerful. Reading through these programs I can really appreciate how effective it is for all participants, coming together of the young and the old. Of course, having skilled facilitators is key. I hope we get to see more of these community projects happen around the world.
    I feel both privileged and a little saddened to learn something of the Aboriginal stories and struggles in their homeland. In New Zealand Māori are also working through the recovery process as a result of colonial oppression.
    Caroline, counselling student New Zealand

  16. Avatar

    leah.getchell@gmail.com

    As someone with previous knowledge of community based participatory research – I was thrilled to see Freire’s contributions as well as the continued ethos of narrative practice weave its way into community work. It’s brilliant and makes so much sense. Asking these important and meaningful questions of groups, through the learning tree and ugandan example, acutely demonstrates the transformation that can come when we support people and communities to focus on their hopes and dreams, rather then getting stuck in the problem storyline (of poverty or illness).

  17. Avatar

    Anna Weber

    Other creative community work ideas that I would like to consider involve ideas around creating mental health supports and potential narrative therapy community work with people experiencing homelessness and home insecurity. I wonder how narrative community work could look in this setting, especially with recognition around how to create a safe home and setting as well as how to uplift people who are homeless’s knowledge about this city and ways to navigate homelessness. I wonder if I could externalize any part of this experience, perhaps externalizing a Roof vs an unshielded Home.
    I’m also especially still holding onto and wondering about how power can show up when collecting and shaping people’s collective stories. How have narrative approaches handled power dynamics in community work, especially considering global power dynamics as Freire mentioned?

  18. Avatar

    EricaPM

    I was really struck by the community work in which Aboriginal communities shared their stories, skills and knowledges with each other. I structure of this work struct me as uplifting and healing for both the communities who were telling the stories and those who were listening. Reading about this work will influence me in my practice by encouraging me to help the people I meet with to find ways to share their strengths and skills in order to help others.
    Writing from Edmonton, Canada.

  19. Avatar

    Anna Weber

    Other creative community work ideas that I would like to consider involve ideas around creating mental health supports and potential narrative therapy community work with people experiencing homelessness and home insecurity. I wonder how narrative community work could look in this setting, especially with recognition around how to create a safe home and setting as well as how to uplift people who are homeless’s knowledge about this city and ways to navigate homelessness. I wonder if I could externalize any part of this experience, perhaps externalizing a Roof vs an unshielded Home.
    I’m also especially still holding onto and wondering about how power can show up when collecting and shaping people’s collective stories. How have narrative approaches handled power dynamics in community work, especially considering global power dynamics as Freire mentioned?

  20. Avatar

    crystalleeross33

    The ideas that spoke to me in this chapter, primarily centred on the tree of life and song writing as a method of telling and creating meaning from life events. I could see using music and song writing with a wide range of audiences and age groups successful as a fun and meaningful way of engaging with their challenging life event, creating strength, meaning and revision of the story to fit an ideal narrative. Plus I could see the artistic venue of the tree of life and physically depicting the strengths gained through challenging times, roots and family history and connections as being a meaningful representations of an individuals life story. I hope that these are two new strategies that I can implement with various clients.
    (Repost from when I went through the course – now going through for certification)

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    christopher.sullivan

    Reflecting on the power of community contribution, I found the TEAM OF LIFE soccer metaphor particularly impactful. By defining both individual and collective goals while defending individual and collective values, the unity and strength of the community truly becomes unified. As well, the idea to put the individual written work of community people in the local Mt. Elton library is a beautiful collaborative approach to both acknowledging the worth of the individual as well as unifying the collective message of the community. Calgary, Canada

  22. Avatar

    Melanie

    Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?
    There are two that stood out for me – the teammates in the team of life and the concept of participants giving to the children to keep the giving going from the Ugandan, Mt Elgon Self-Help Community Project.

    I also enjoyed the Life Saving Tips from young Australian Muslims, then as I started looking further and further into the additional links I was pleasantly overwhelmed with all of the projects

    What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?
    They have all sparked my enthusiasm and curiosity and ways in which activities can be incorporated into therapy and sessions with clients!

    In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?
    I am looking forward to discussing with my team and manager about how group work and some of the ideas seen can be included into our work. I am also keen to commence utilising the Tree of Life concept with clients. I will also be taking into account some ideas from the article, “Linking stories and initiatives: A narrative approach to working with the skills and knowledge of communities” by David Denborough, Carolyn Koolmatrie, Djapirri Mununggirritj, Djuwalpi Marika, Wayne Dhurrkay and Margaret Yunupingu to further engage with my First Nations clients.
    Riverland, South Australia

  23. Avatar

    Melinda Chambers

    I have run the Tree of Life Program and am interested in the Team of Life Project. The Tree of Life worked really well to identify the strengths in experiences, rather than seeing experiences as negative or positive. The program, from my experiences, helps to explore a persons stories, rather than repeat the same version of a story over and over until it fits and makes sense. Melinda, Gurumbillbarra Country

  24. Avatar

    Tori Pearce, Melbourne (Naarm), Australia

    I really enjoyed reading about the Narrandera community gathering project. I loved the way it involved bringing a community together to sing, dance, talk openly about their strengths and what was troubling their community, and to share ideas across generations about how to become stronger and more united. The reflections on grief were so beautiful. Working in palliative care, the stories about needing to talk and remember, at the end of someone’s life, the good they have done, rather than be quiet and let them rest, really resonated. The most connected and alive experiences of death and dying that I have witnessed have been when the family is able to be there, be real, to talk and live together naturally in the midst of dying. I felt sad about how this way of being is not always supported in the mainstream medical system, in which I work. I would like to explore with families how it would be to come together at this time, to talk and laugh, and not to be so quiet.

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    Maggie

    I was really excited by the work that was done in both the Tree of Life and Life Saving Tips projects. I find that I am always drawn to the interventions which highlight client strengths and resources, while always remaining mindful and respectful of their experiences and traumas. I think that both of these projects beautifully provide opportunities to speak to these negative or even traumatic experiences while still seeing the ways in which our clients’ strengths and resilience has brought them through. I can see these interventions working especially well with younger clients in a group setting. Maggie, Los Angeles, USA

  26. Avatar

    pra.cas

    The “Life Saving Tips” project resonated with me – connecting water safety with cultural and well-being safety is a great parallel, and building a community of knowledge for members of a community who (particularly at the time of the riots) could otherwise feel quite isolated. Working in New Zealand, I can see how this idea could be adapted for members of other communities I work with (e.g. ASD, LGBTQIA+, tangata whenua) to support the creation of a community of knowledge and as a result foster further connection.

  27. Avatar

    Kat

    The Mt. Elgon Self-Help Community Project stood out most because of all the connections made: ancestors and children, past and future, reflection and action, individual and collective dreams, identities and skills, spoken word ceremonies and collections of written stories in libraries, social histories and physical landscapes.

    B.C., Canada

  28. Avatar

    Isabel Beuve

    The project of linking stories and initiatives has open a great range of possibilities. So many ideas suitable for lots of situations and communities. In Spain we are not very familiar with group therapies and I have found here some ideas of how to implement it.
    Greetings from Spain

  29. Avatar

    tkiffywiff

    I am inspired by the Tree of Life method and by the idea of recording people’s words in songs, and by the way all these ideas honour the sacredness of people’s stories. One of the teachers on my Bachelor of Counselling course demonstrated a narrative practice session and turned the person’s words into a poem, which is another way of rescuing what David Denborough (2002) refers to as “the poetic and evocative phrases that people use to tell the stories of their lives…”

    1. Avatar

      tkiffywiff

      Theresa – Cambridge, Aotearoa.

  30. Avatar
    Sandra

    TheTree of Life reminded me of the Suitcase Project mentioned in the previous chapter. Love the playfulness, creativity, imagination and mix of depth and lightness involved in these two projects!!

  31. Avatar

    misstaylorhalliwell

    I found the tree of life project most interesting. I think this will be great tool and activity to do with students and clients, particularly those who struggle expressing their words or are unsure where to take the session or what to talk about.

  32. Avatar

    hannah.roderickhake

    I am particularly intrigued about the Tree of Life project, and how this could be used in my work to help facilitate conversations about people’s contexts, preferred identities and hopes for their future. The creativity and flexibility of the various projects is inspiring, and I hope that I may be able to take forward some of this in my work.

  33. Avatar

    yevheniia.kh

    I am so inspired by the Tree of Life practice and by one of its fnal steps – the Forest of Life. I think this is a really powerful technique to work with. Thank you again!
    Kyiv, Ukraine

  34. Avatar

    Keegan

    Hi there, I am a Clinical Counsellor from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

    The technique that had resonated most with me was within the article “Little by Little we Make a Bundle”, in which we externalize both the presenting concern and utilize a physical example/exercise exemplifying the strength found in numbers. I find this would be useful with nature-based approaches, and to demonstrate the benefits of connecting, maintaining, and flourishing social, communal, and familial network. Additionally, we may be able to supplement and facilitate conversation around pride and survival to deepen the connections, allowing the experienced participants to teach others members of the community.

    As I begin working more closely with our Indigenous communities, I find these techniques to be highly relevant to current practice. Working with the elders of our community, we hope to facilitate meaningful conversation through such practices, which allows each individual to explore their meanings, their histories, and their guidance or recommendations. These conversations are meant to connect the community from varying lens, which include both reflecting wisdom and empowering growth.

    1. Avatar

      Crystal Ross

      The ideas that spoke to me in this chapter, primarily centred on the tree of life and song writing as a method of telling and creating meaning from life events. I could see using music and song writing with a wide range of audiences and age groups successful as a fun and meaningful way of engaging with their challenging life event, creating strength, meaning and revision of the story to fit an ideal narrative. Plus I could see the artistic venue of the tree of life and physically depicting the strengths gained through challenging times, roots and family history and connections as being a meaningful representations of an individuals life story. I hope that these are two new strategies that I can implement with various clients.

  35. Avatar

    Ellie Firns

    I am a social work student in Adelaide, South Australia.
    Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?
    I became deeply immersed in reading “Healing Stories Partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities”.
    What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?
    These stories reminded me of how I have experienced healing through the sharing of stories and coping strategies. They also gave me insights into Indigenous ways of sharing stories, and the depths of grief that has been experienced.
    In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?
    I see how important it is for us to share our stories, and not diminish ourselves. It is so easy to think, when we are in the pits of despair, that no one cares about our story, but when we have a space to share it can be powerful healing. And being able to help others with our own story gives us a sense of meaning that can give us the motivation to keep going. I will take these ways of working with me as I deepen my learning in social work.

    1. Avatar

      lara1feinstein@hotmail.com

      My name is Lara and I am an Associate Therapist from California.
      Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?
      Translating painful experiences/survival, and hope into songs is meaningful to me, as a musician myself. This is something I would like to explore with clients.
      What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?
      As David Denborough says I feel ‘songs have such a power’. Additionally, I think putting emotions into song can be safer at times rather than speaking. It can be an activity rather than focusing attention on talk which might feel too overwhelming at times. One can get lost in the melody and rhythm which might make it easier to be freer and more honest about word choice in relation the difficulty. Music can also bring people together to lead to a connection, which may provide comfort.
      In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?
      I want to incorporate music more into my sessions. Many adolescents seem to respond to music but of course, this has to feel like a good avenue for the client, if I were to use it. I might suggest writing a song to explore a particular experience.

    2. Avatar

      Keegan

      Hi there, I am a Clinical Counsellor from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

      The technique that had resonated most with me was within the article “Little by Little we Make a Bundle”, in which we externalize both the presenting concern and utilize a physical example/exercise exemplifying the strength found in numbers. I find this would be useful with nature-based approaches, and to demonstrate the benefits of connecting, maintaining, and flourishing social, communal, and familial network. Additionally, we may be able to supplement and facilitate conversation around pride and survival to deepen the connections, allowing the experienced participants to teach others members of the community.

      As I begin working more closely with our Indigenous communities, I find these techniques to be highly relevant to current practice. Working with the elders of our community, we hope to facilitate meaningful conversation through such practices, which allows each individual to explore their meanings, their histories, and their guidance or recommendations. These conversations are meant to connect the community from varying lens, which include both reflecting wisdom and empowering growth.

  36. Avatar

    Sami

    My name is Sami and I am a MSW student from outside Kingston, ON, Canada.

    What stood out to me was the narrative development work in Uganda. This really caught my attention because that project makes sense. Personally I think narrative work is a bit intuitive as it mirrors human nature and cultural patterns; this is not to say it takes no effort to implement, though! These ways of engaging with a community, scaffolding conversations, and building connections are not rocket science, but an intentional effort produced by observing how humans interact and how communities form and develop.

    In my immediate context I don’t think I’ll be implementing these types of ideas as my focus over the next 6 months to a year is not community work. However, community building is an ongoing process wherein each individual is inherently contributing to the community, it’s just a matter of whether it’s intentional or not. That said, the way I behave in community, the way I vote, and the way I make purchases, and the state of mind I am in when I attend family events, even, are all ways to be considerate about how narratives contribute to the development of communities.

  37. Avatar

    Manpreet Kaur Mann

    I am a social work student, and I am studying at the University of Wollongong NSW Australia.

    Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?
    This chapter is also very interesting for me. The Tree of Life project really stands out to me at this time. I am thinking that this project can be used for helping and working with children and young people.
    What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?
    The Tree of Life project has sparked my enthusiasm or curiosity for using narrative therapy in my practice.

    In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?
    I can use narrative therapy with children and young people in the community and school setting for motivating them to share their stories and their experiences. Therefore, I can provide support to them in a narrative perspective for solving their problems.

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    Isabelle R Chesher

    I love the idea of the Tree of Life as an arts-based narrative practice. I would imagine that part of the logic behind this approach is that often, people are not aware of all the supports, skills, knowledge and strengths that are in their lives, which have led them to where they are today. Likewise, they may be so focused on worrying about the future that they have not considered what brings them hope and what they have to look forward to. This is such a simple, visual way of documenting these things.

    In general, I am drawn to the use of arts-based activities in therapeutic concepts as I think they encourage people to express themselves in new ways and allow them to use different parts of their brain. Not only might this lead to new discoveries and ideas, but it also reduces the pressure on clients who are often asked to speak to their experiences verbally again and again, which can be fatiguing. It is also potentially more inclusive for clients who do not have high literacy levels.

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