In this chapter we examine how stories are an important frame through which we make meaning of our lives. In each reading and video provided we invite you to be on the lookout for the multi-stories of people’s lives rather than a single story.
Photo: Shaun Tan: Eric (with permission)
This dot exercise from Jill Freedman and Gene Combs was animated by Will Sherwin to help you visualise the Narrative Therapy concept of ‘multi-storied lives’.
For more from Jill and Gene you can go to narrativetherapychicago.com.
For more from Will Sherwin and Bay Area Narrative Therapy Resource, trainings and radio shows you can go to sfbantr.org.
Novelist Chimamanda Adichie warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. In ‘The Danger of a Single Story’ she speaks about how our lives and our cultures are composed of many overlapping stories.
As you listen to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful speech about the danger of the single story, please also think about how Chimamanda’s own life experiences shape the stories she shares, including her class privilege which she has written about elsewhere.
We have included here an extract from Alice Morgan’s influential and highly popular text in which she provides a brief introduction to the narrative metaphor
In this short extract Michael White’s speaks about the possibilities that the narrative metaphor opened up in his therapeutic work, what attracted him to the narrative metaphor and offers an example of how the narrative metaphor shapes therapeutic conversations.
What is the narrative of our lives – and can we influence the way our story is told? Michael White and Barbara Brooks, a memoir writer, join producer Gretchen Miller in conversation on ABC Radio National and online. Michael and Barbara joined Gretchen Miller to talk about the grand narratives of our lives and how much influence we have over the way our story unfolds
This (draft) Charter proposes a framework for considering storytelling rights. We hope it will spark discussions about the rights of people who have experienced trauma/social suffering in relation to how their stories are told and received.
Article 1 Everyone has the right to define their experiences and problems in their own words and terms.
Article 2 Everyone has the right for their life to be understood in the context of what they have been through and in the context of their relationships with others.
Article 3 Everyone has the right to invite others who are important to them to be involved in the process of reclaiming their life from the effects of trauma.
Article 4 Everyone has the right to be free from having problems caused by trauma and injustice located inside them, internally, as if there is some deficit in them. The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.
Article 5 Everyone has the right for their responses to trauma to be acknowledged. No one is a passive recipient of trauma. People always respond. People always protest injustice.
Article 6 Everyone has the right to have their skills and knowledges of survival respected, honoured and acknowledged.
Article 7 Everyone has the right to know and experience that what they have learnt through hardship can make a contribution to others in similar situations.
Photo: Shaun Tan: Eric
How would you describe the narrative metaphor?
What might thinking about stories in this way make possible for you?
Please now share your thoughts & reflections below and then continue to the next chapter! Please include where you are writing from (City and Country). Thanks!