‘Inviting paranoia to the table: A narrative perspective’ by Amanda Worrall

There is a long history of narrative therapy approaches being used as a response to serious mental health concerns. Much of Michael White’s early work involved responding to people who were experiencing psychosis (see the reference below to the interview ‘Psychotic experience and discourse’ from 1995 and the work of the Dulwich Centre community mental health project). And so it seems really appropriate that this first on-line Friday Afternoon at Dulwich relates to mental health concerns.

Amanda Worrall is a mental health nurse in the Northern Territory (Australia) and a graduate of the Dulwich Centre International Graduate Diploma in Narrative Therapy and Community Work. In this video presentation, Amanda describes her conversations with June who was consulting with an adult community mental health team. During this time, June was meeting with Amanda (mental health nurse), the psychiatrist on the team who was prescribing medication, and she was also receiving psycho-social support from a non-government organisation and was in regular contact with her parents.

In this context of team work, this presentation tells the story of how June and Amanda found ways to use externalising conversations to name and speak about social paranoia (SP). It also describes the ways in which these conversations have enabled June to reclaim her life from the effects of paranoia.

This presentation was filmed at Dulwich Centre at the International Spring Festival of Narrative Practice that took place from September 21-23, 2011. Just prior to this event there was a one day workshop by Karen Young and Jim Duvall from Canada that Amanda refers to in her talk.

This presentation is aimed at an audience of people who have done training in counselling and therapy and who are interested in engaging with narrative therapy ideas. If you are working with people experiencing significant mental health struggles and are interested in using narrative ideas in this context, we would suggest you attend training and seek out supervision and consultation with experienced narrative practitioners. If you would like suggestions in relation to this please write c/o dulwich@dulwichcentre.com.au



Further reading:

If you would like to read more about the use of narrative practices in response to serious mental health concerns, see:

* White, M. (1995):‘Psychotic experience and discourse (Stewart, K. interviewer).’ In White, M.: Re-Authoring Lives: Interviews & Essays (chapter 5), pp.112-154. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications.

* Companions on a journey: An exploration of an alternative community mental health project

If you have other suggested readings, please let us know.

Published on January 24, 2013
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