Beginning to use narrative practices

In this final chapter we take some time to reflect on your learning and the next steps you might take in your journey with narrative practices.




Here we consider the process of beginning to engage with narrative ideas and practices. In this article Alice Morgan shares some of her thoughts:

Beginning to use a narrative approach

You will have found this exercise within the article for this chapter. We invite you to:

  • Think about just one thing that has particularly resonated for you about narrative ideas and practices that you have been trying to apply more in your work.
  • What would you call the principle or idea? Give it a name. Say something about it – describe what it is about, your understandings of it, in your own words.
  • Give some more details about it, e.g.: When did you first notice this idea or principle in the work? What told you that it was important to you?
  • What are you currently doing that you would say is a reflection of this particular idea, practice or principle? Say a little bit about the times you thought you had managed to apply the idea or principle to your own practice.
  • When you did it, what did you notice? How did it affect, for example:
    1. The conversation you were engaging in at the time?
    2. Your thoughts about yourself?
    3. The other people who were with you?
    4. Your hopes or plans?
    5. Your feelings?
    6. What was this like for you? Did you like it or not?
    7. Did it suit you or not? Or something in between?
    8. Why is it that you give this evaluation? What did it seem to fit with?

Please now share your thoughts and responses with others below!



To join with others in ongoing and further conversations you can visit:

Narrative therapy Facebook Communities

For other avenues to learn and exchange ideas you can visit:

Training @ The Dulwich Centre

International Narrative Therapy & Community Work Conferences

The Dulwich Centre Email News

International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work

More detailed online courses in Externalising conversations and Re-membering conversations



Feedback:  Please provide us with your thoughts on how this course was for you or your hopes for future courses! We would really like to hear from you … thanks!  Email


Certification Module

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this course you can do so for a fee of $77. In order to qualify for this certificate you will need to:

  • complete a brief essay about narrative practice (1,000 words)
  • complete a short quiz with a passing grade of at least 80% (the quiz can be taken more than once).
Click here to take the certification module


Thank you for joining us on this journey.

We hope you have found this course helpful in some way!

We hope to see you again soon. 

This Post Has 40 Comments

  1. There is much to take away from this course, but what is rattling around inside of me the most at the current time is the the importance of the position of the therapist. I have arrived at the metaphor of being a lost explorer in a troublesome terrain and the experience of looking at a map to find a way out. From a narrative perspective, we as the therapists need to be down on the ground in the forest exploring the ins and outs of the forest, where the client has been and where they want to go. We need to be looking at the map and the view from the ground together. We are decentered as we are not an expert looking at the map from above. Our skills in being “influential” help to scaffold the client to explore new ways of engaging with the map and the forest itself. I am going to call this “Coming from the ground”.

    When I say this I reflect that perhaps when being on the ground with the client (decentered), the map directing the path out of the forest becomes irrelevant. In this way there is no concrete way out as guided by the map, but instead a process of helping the client find their own meaning of the forest, why/if they want to get out of the forest, how they want to live in the forest, and their own meaningful journey out of the forest.

  2. I have to say that one of the things that resonates with me is “externalisation”. It is such a powerful way of seeing problems as separate from people. This very process means that the client is able to be empowered and for space to be held that allows clients to see themselves as experts as their lives. Very powerful!
    Thank you for this course. It has been terrific.

  3. one idea that resonated with me through out narrative module is ‘externalization’. I think it is core principle for narrative therapy. in my opinion, externalization is a process which allows all clients to see separate from problem. it helps practioner to find the root cause of problem. initially, when I listen about externalization then I have no idea what it is?
    after watching video in narrative module and power point presentation I realized that it is core principle of narrative therapy because it provides full information of problem, its roots in wide context and feelings of clients. it helps clients to look themselves separate from their problem and realize them that’ the person is not the problem and the problem is the problem’. Moreover, PowerPoint presentation which was attached with externalization video was very effective because it has provide the vision of narrative therapy and step by step information about it. moving forward, many problems and issues can be solved by active listening and by getting full information of a problem from clients. moreover, when I will start my profession as a social worker ,then I will prefer to use it because it will help me to become more confident in my profession. Now I am very happy because I have learnt so many new things and have gained a enough knowledge about narrative therapy with help of narrative module in every week. I am very thankful to Dulwich centre for providing these useful lessons.
    thank you.

  4. Hello,
    I find narrative practice really very interesting. Currently, I am a student of social work and in one of my interviews, I tried to use the narrative practice with my client. However, it was not much useful for me because of my own mistake. I was not asking relevant questions to the client. But, in the future, I will use narrative practice in my reflection.
    According to Alice Morgan, narrative practice focuses on two of the ideas that are the position of the therapist and externalizing conversations.
    Narrative conversations are not about giving advice or solutions to the client. However, in this people’s view, ideas are kept at the center and it is collaborative practice.
    In addition to that, externalisation is very crucial as it is the problem-focused map. Naming the problem is crucial and social workers must not use jargon in their practice.
    Moreover, the move from the internalization to externalization is very important. For example, use of the specific words in front of the problem like worry, The worry. Hence, recognisation is the first step.
    Your thoughts about yourself?
    I was confused, frightened in my first reflection but I will definitely practice the narrative practice firstly with my own and then use this with the client. I am very excited to use this practice in the future.
    The other students or colleagues with me also scared firstly but after that, I get to know they are also very excited to help the clients.
    I have plans that as Alice Morgan said that in the narrative practice not to give the advice or solution to the client and listen to the client actively. Narrative practice is really very helpful for me now and in the future also.
    Thank you

  5. One idea that has resonated with me throughout the course is externalization. I believe that this is at the core of what narrative therapy is. Narrative therapy seeks to separate the problem from the person and I believe that this is a very important concept for people in therapy. I have been really focusing on externalization with my clients because it is a process that will lead to reauthoring stories and digging deeper into the contexts where the issue may have been the most prominent. My understanding of externalization is that it is a process that allows a client to see themselves separate from the problem or problems they are experiencing.

    In my initial readings about externalization, I was affected on a personal level. I could see how this process would be good for me in my own life. Once I discovered the positive implications on my own thought process, I was really excited about the difference it could make for others to see themselves for who they are and not for the problem they were presenting with. When I met with my clients, I began to see a shift in their thought process as we worked on externalization of problems. I could sense a shift in their body language; they become more relaxed and willing to discuss the problem (not just with reference to themselves). I have been working on externalization with my clients by really focusing on my language. I have been personifying the issue by using the words “it” and “the” to discuss the problem. I ask questions like: how has the anxiety been affecting your emotions or when does the anxiety visit you the most. I have found this process to be a shift for me; however, I am keen to focus on the ways in which this language allows the client to see themselves outside of the context of the issue.
    When I began to apply this new language with my clients, I could see a shift in how they began to discuss the problem. They were no longer talking about themselves as the problem, but were actually seeing the problem as something on its own. I felt really good about this shift because I could tell that it was changing the way the client was looking at their context and I knew that this would allow me to continue with the reauthoring process in future sessions.
    When I was meeting with one of my clients, they were discussing their ADHD and when I began to ask questions about THE ADHD and not your ADHD, I could see the client begin to think about the ADHD as something that was not who they were. For this client, it was a significant step because everything they told me was an extension of their ADHD diagnosis and they used it to explain every decision or every failed relationship. Seeing the ADHD as something separate helped us to focus more on the ways in which the ADHD was making them feel. I felt very relieved for the client because I could see how this process was allowing them to open their eyes to new contexts and ideas about what they had been told about the ADHD. I was also proud that I was able to shift the language I was using to externalize the problem.
    My hope is to continue to build on these skills as I work with my facilitator who has been studying narrative therapy for over 20 years. I find her to be extremely helpful in discussing my own processes and she is very open with differences in how we approach externalization. She made me feel more comfortable in knowing that externalization may look different with different clients and may take different amounts of time; however, the language is always important.
    I feel as though narrative therapy speaks to who I am as a therapist. Moving forward, I know that this process will allow me to be confident as a therapist. I want to ensure that my clients are treated as individuals of the therapy and narrative practices allow for that. I come from an education background; in my class I taught the individuals and not the group. Narrative therapy is very much open to this practice. It is not about specific steps in the process, but about what steps work in time with specific focus on the client’s needs. I am also keen to be decentred and influential (White, 1997) rather than the authority. One concern that I have moving forward is the fear that a client may not be able to externalize or may feel as though it is not beneficial. I wonder about these cases because I cannot assume that the process will be as smooth as my case above. I know that I need to meet with other professionals once I have completed my practicum so that I can discuss some tough cases when the arise. I feel that narrative therapy is the most relevant choice for me moving forward.
    I want to be sure that my practices as a therapist are beneficial to my clients and I believe working together with the client is most beneficial to their success. In reading Alice Morgan’s article about narrative therapy, I was drawn to her recollection of working with a client named Trevor. What stood out to me was the fact that he had previously seen therapists who had given him advice. When he could not follow through on the advice, he felt as though he was useless. This resonated with me because I want to be sure that my clients do not feel as though my role is to give advice that they may or may not be able to follow. I want my clients to know that my role is to work with them in a manner that gives them confidence in their ability to separate from their issues. Moving forward in my practicum, this will be my main focus. I want to instill confidence in my clients while building my own skills in narrative therapy.

  6. Something that has particularly stood out to me throughout the course is the idea that ‘curiosity is your companion’. Taking this stance within the ‘therapeutic setting’ allows for creative and innovative exploration of ideas, meanings and their histories. For me personally, I find a certain safety in this notion. I’ve often had trouble with ‘sitting with uncertainty’ or the ‘not knowing’, in many parts of my life, however I can utilize this notion to shift my perception to see a certain safety in not having the answers, not knowing which story-line/direction I will necessarily be co-researching with an individual. The unknown becomes exciting almost. Alice Morgan articulated this idea quite well here in this chapter but it resonates for me when I think about exploring rich descriptions. Furthermore, ‘rescuing the said from the saying of it’ allows for the reflection on the multi-layering of stories that we may not have even imagined possible in the first instance. Curiosity is therefore very important.

    Furthermore, as a social work student I’m constantly trying to find innovative ways of approaching critical thinking. Curiosity in this sense can be applied to ourselves, how did that interaction make us feel, what did it look like to others, why did it look this way, how did my authentic self play part in the scaffolding or shaping of the dynamic with someone. I feel these are all relevant questions. It becomes our companion as workers as it acts as a gateway to informing our work, its challenges, its ‘successes’ and other considerations for the future. It is brave to be curious as it challenges us constantly. Curiosity makes all kinds of things possible and I believe is pivotal to navigating ever-changing environments, political contexts and the diverse experiences of individuals.

  7. Hello again – Leanne from Calgary, Canada here.

    I have loved the notion that “the person is not the problem; the problem is the problem.” I work with family and friends of individuals who have some form of dementia diagnosis; we often hear some variation of the following from clients: “Oh, I don’t think he has dementia; he just needs to focus more, listen better, get more sleep, etc…..” My colleagues and I usually provide some form of explanation such as “the brain is an organ and when someone has dementia, their brain is going into organ failure.”

    I will probably continue to use the above statements but I believe I will take this conversation one step further and gently suggest that dementia is the problem, and that stronger focus or listening efforts or more sleep may not be a solution to this problem.

    WHAT WOULD YOU CALL THE PRINCIPLE OR IDEA? GIVE IT A NAME. SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT ….YOUR UNDERSTANDINGS OF IT, IN YOUR OWN WORDS. This is a tough one; “the problem is the problem” says it so beautifully!! The only thing that comes to mind is something like: “the person with the diagnosis probably wishes that he/she didn’t have to give up driving, can no longer use the stove on their own, doesn’t recognize his/her grandchildren, etc.”

    With respect to my role as the coordinator for support groups, I have started asking individuals (who are interested in joining one of our groups), “What is happening for your at this point in time? Why are your interested in a support group now?” The replies I receive indicate that this is an important question; individuals either start to cry (which is completely understandable; we simply stay on the line with them and say something like, “It’s OK to let go; I will be with you for as long as you need.”) or they can point to a specific event or a conversation they have had with another professional/family member/friend. This conversation is often the catalyst that causes them to reach out to our office.

    I think these actions are important in my role because many of these caregivers have never been asked what has been happening for them; when they meet with other professionals (typically doctors, nurses, Home Care Case Managers, etc.,) these caregivers are TOLD what they need to do and when to do it. Our agency may be one of the few places which ASKS the caregiver what is going on for them. We also often remind caregivers “You are the expert on the person for whom you are caring.”


    When speaking to a caregiver for the first time and after listening to their story, I often say something like: “Wow, you certainly do have a lot going on at present. Do you have an idea or a sense of what is the most important thing for you or the thing which you would like to address first in our work together?”


    Again, it has been my experience that clients often are taken aback that a professional has asked for their input rather than simply telling them what to do. I have found that the majority of clients, after a sentence or two, can tell me which thing(s) they want to address first.

    When clients say something like, “Oh, I have no idea,” I give them one or two options for handling this question: I suggest I call them back/they call me back at an agreed upon time; I also advise that they can contact me by email if that would be more convenient for them.

    2. YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT YOURSELF? I am so very happy to be able to provide choice to clients who rarely have choices in their situation.

    3. THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO WERE WITH YOU? When our agency has practicum students who observe these meetings or telephone conversations/email, they are usually quite pleased to learn that we do all we can to provide choices to our clients.

    4. YOUR HOPES OR PLANS? I really like how this principle of Narrative Therapy dovetails with the social work tenet of “meeting the client where they are.” I have found working with a client is much more helpful/therapeutic when the client feels like they are an active participant and that I am not simply “telling them what to do.”

    5 AND 6. YOUR FEELINGS? WHAT WAS THIS LIKE FOR YOU? DID YOU LIKE IT OR NOT? There are times that I feel a bit awkward or frightened that the client will not contact me again for any number of reasons which may or may not have something to do with me/our conversation. While there are times when I do have second thoughts about what I said/how I said it, I firmly believe that allowing clients to be the “experts” and decide when/if they want to contact our agency again is the best method of practice at present.


    I believe that the use of this principle suits me in over 95% of the conversations I have with clients. Please see my previous comments with respect to my reasons for giving this evaluation.
    This has been an exceptionally helpful course. I join with others in thanking the Dulwich Centre for providing this resource to, seemingly, the world!!

  8. Hello from Texas! I am excited to begin training in narrative therapy. I first became interested in narrative therapy while in Grad school – I naturally gravitated to it as a former English teacher. We are full of stories, some good and some challenging, but if we “read” our stories with patience and compassion there is an opportunity for growth.

    I am trained as an EMDR therapist. After using that modality for several years, I have become inclined to see it as too harsh and intense for survivors of trauma. I have seen many successes with EMDR, but there is such a risk involved with staying within “the window of tolerance.” What appears to be true for most, if not all, who suffer with PTSD is that thoughts and beliefs become internalized to the point of shame, anxiety, fear, etc. So, the concept of externalizing is what most interests me about narrative therapy. Externalizing feelings, negative beliefs, and harmful thoughts or behaviors seems paramount to understanding our wounds and let the healing begin.

  9. Thank you so much for this course I havr learned so much. While I am not a therapist, I will find this practice really helpful in my mentoring position. A lot of parents in the area of mentoring I am volunteering with, are judged by others because of their children’s association with the criminal justice system. They feel judged as parents and feel their children are judged also. This practice will be of immense help to me and other mentors. We have touched on the topic, but this course has really illuminated what I had touched on.
    My wish is to get into community research and to collaborate with the homeless community in my own community. Homelessness is a problem I am passionate about. Those living without a home are stigmatized greatly and it is a problem that is seen as an ‘individual’ problem. It is assumed those living without a home have alcohol, drug or mental health problems when really it is a much broader structural problem. We must examine our assumptions about a community of people who have hopes, desires and dreams just as we do and to work with this community to assist in realizing these hopes,dreams and desires would be so rewarding.
    If anyone has any experience of using this practice in community research I would be delighted to hear from you.
    I look forward to continuing my journey of narrative practice learning. Thank you once again Dulwich Centre for sharing this wonderful knowledge with the world.
    Ann from Dublin in Ireland

  10. Hello! This is Jade, from Toronto, Canada.

    I want to thank you for providing this course—it has taught me more tools for counselling, and relating to others and myself, than anything else I’ve learned! The commitments and values underlying narrative therapy (“the problem is the problem”, justice and healing, a de-centred stance, empowering autonomy, and the importance of language in constructing our worldviews) resonate deeply with my own core values, just as Alice Morgan writes. I feel it gives me hope and the tools necessary to actually tangibly integrate these values into my practice for a powerful praxis. I feel that the accessibility of narrative therapy bridges some complex theoretical thinking with very hands-on skills that can be used in virtually any setting! The tools I’ve learned— externalizing, writing documents, collaboration, outsider witnesses and others— are some skills I’ve already begun to practice and implement in my work and everyday life. Noticing the language I use has been perhaps the most valuable skill, and I have had to opportunity to make a conscious effort to reflect on the language I use to describe people and problems. This is so helpful!

    I am looking forward to beginning my journey with narrative practice, and feel I am able now to begin implementing some of these skills and building on them. I am also looking forward to learning more about narrative therapy, and building on this knowledge. Thank you Dulwich Centre!

  11. I’m excited to do more reading and learning around all of the topics. I feel like I could start with the externalising conversations, I have an idea for a document clients might be interested in writing, and am definitely going to continue thinking about justice doing and examining privilege.
    Many thanks for the course, I have been promoting it!!

  12. Alkmaar, The Netherlands

    I am delighted by this course and very grateful for your efforts and Philippa’s guidance. Thank you for offering all these resources for free and constructing the material in such an inviting manner.

    I resonate with the values and methods of Narrative Therapy and I’m excited to deepen my understanding. Particularly the ideas of Externalizing and Outsiders Witnesses speak to me as ‘liberating’ concepts to lessen the power of negative self talk and identities that undermine us in a creative and even playful way. I have spontaneously used these ideas in my own life and it worked; I’ll apply them more and start exploring them in my work with others.

    Many thanks and warm greetings from The Netherlands!

  13. As a Social Worker I find the concept of identifying different narratives that I and others have created a very powerful approach. Both in my life and in the life of the people that I work with. By reflecting critically on how these different narratives affect me and whose interest they serve I have been able to break free from some of the oppressive narratives in my life.

    A toxic narrative that I have been able to identify is, “I’m only valuable to society if I am working in a paid job.” I have identified that I have received this narrative through a variety of different people, institutions, systems, structures and stories. During a period of transitioning between professions I have had periods of unemployment while undertaking further education. That narrative has knocked my self confidence down a number of pegs. However, since I have identified it, discovered the exceptions, analysed who benefits from that narrative and began reauthoring a new narrative. I have began to regain my self confidence as I begin my new career as a social worker. These narrative concepts will be invaluable in supporting people as a Social Worker.

  14. When I think about what I have learned about narrative therapy in this course, two aspects come to my mind: one, which seems to be the foundation, is an attitude of critical thinking. This means to me encountering myself and other human beings with an open heart, with compassion and with the knowledge that everyone’s experience is different and influenced by many social, political, historical and other contexts. This is a principle that I feel very much commited to. I am developing this attitude or way of life through my nonviolent communication and mindfulness practice. I can see various effects of this practice in my professional and personal interactions with others, especially as it helps me to listen with empathy and care.
    The second aspect is the therapeutical skill in which I see myself as a co-researcher who supports the author in developing thick descriptions about themselves while leaving the authroship with the author. Here, I really like the method of externalising and, in my context, of outsider witnesses. I am a community worker and rarely work with individuals/clients. Therefore, some of the tools (e.g. therapeutic letter) seem weird to me and I will figure out if and how they could be useful in my work. But, in the work with communities which have experienced traumatic events, I can see how bringing witnesses to the stories can bring about change. This is something I would like to experiment with.

    I’d like to thank all who made this online course possible and shared their valuable experience and thoughts with the intention to enlargen the community and create collaborative spaces for growth and learning. I am also grateful for the many comments I was able to read which helped me understand some of the ideas better and see the diverity in which the content could be understood, relfected, summarised, paraphrased and translated. Thanks to all!

  15. My name is Glen. I live in Newcastle, Australia.
    Solidarity and a de-centred stance are the two ideas / concepts that resonate at this moment as commitments and intentions. One aspect of Solidarity for me is an ‘ironclad’ commitment to people who seek my assistance that “the problem is the problem”.
    An aspect of a de-centred stance for me is a commitment to people being the expert on their lives and it is only the person seeking assistance (the young person K) who can describe what living with this problem is like and to say what his position (or positions) is (are) in relation to it. These are K’s stories to write, not for his father or I to foreclose in some way on what one or both of us believe should be the narrative arc of the stories. I respect K as having authorship.

    This is a question I will think about further. One recollection is work I did over twenty-five years ago with a man (I will call him “J”) who was struggling with the effects of cocaine, alcohol and gambling addictions on his life. We had reached a point where our conversations had not seemed to make much difference and J conveyed that he was in a ‘dark place’. Somehow we stumbled into his relating a story to me. A friend had told him when he went through the turnstile at the racecourse that he was given a pumpkin in place of his real head. From there we talked about “Mr Pumpkin Head”, what it said and what its urges were and so on. We laughed – at last! I had no idea at the time that it was an externalising conversation. Back then I did not know anything about narrative ideas and practices. Perhaps I have been trying to recreate the influences of Solidarity, a De-Centred Stance and Imagination in my work each day that people consult with me ever since “Mr Pumpkin Head”…

    A recent example comes readily into my thoughts. I have in mind work I have been doing with a young person, who I will call “K”, who is about 10 – 11 years of age and his father. We reached a point when it looked like the work of the past six meetings had just “conked out” and had come to nothing. I encountered the effects of Frustration and how it extended its invitation to me. It says things like, “I’ve done all I can”, and worse! “The parents have shamed this kid… And he (K) has internalised a representation of self as bad…” and so on, a range of statements based on structuralist assumptions, with internalising attributions. When the Frustration gets me in its grip, I can feel the influences of Hope and Imagination draining away.
    I ‘started again’, made inquiries from a curious, ‘entering the territory for the first time’ stance. The central features of the problem emerged anew and its influences, which seemed to become apparent more clearly than before. I recalled Mark Hayward’s ‘statement of position’ synopsis. I inquired with K regarding what living with the problems (the Anger and the Guilt) is like for him. I have written this question down and given K & his father a copy of this. I have asked K to consider this question between the end of our last meeting and our next meeting.
    I think the young person and his father noticed that I was very much present for them and present in an imaginative and ‘poetic’ way at times too, which is something that I have always tried to do but it would likely be ‘intensified’ in this last session. I found it a more refreshing and creative experience. Mostly it would be positive because I perceive that people appreciate the efforts I am making. Perhaps sometimes it could be negative. When people use metaphors to describe their experience I might get ahead of them a bit too much and I need to stay as ‘experience near’ to people as I can. However, I do not anticipate that the people consulting with me would likely experience any ‘negativity’ as such. I perceive that they would experience me as both compassionate and optimistic. Overall, “Yes”, it definitely suits me. The main reason is because I would like ‘my therapist’ to be informed by the same or similar commitments and intentions.

  16. The concept of co-researching mirrors something that I’ve had in mind for the past couple of months – the concept that therapy is 50/50 and to not work harder than your client.

    The genesis of this concept (or rather the conditions that lead to it) was my psychological training where I was expected to plan each intervention, administer it and have a quantitative improvement post-intervention. It’s easy to see how this creates an imbalance in the relationship and focuses the sessions on on symptom reduction or increase in functioning.

    This lead to a lot of anxiety in me and a restlessness in therapy to always be ‘doing’ things. As I finished by training, practicing more independently and getting better at co-researching problems with clients, the changes were palpable. Therapeutic conversations felt less twitchy and flowed better. Clients exuded more calmness and power and I felt much more relaxed and in the zone.

    It’s still something that I struggle with, but it feels like it’s a concept that has embedded into my practice. I feel it is a great encapsulation of narrative therapy and social work – that two heads are better than one and that all our stories are worthwhile and deserve to be told.

    1. From the UK
      Think about just one thing that has particularly resonated for you about narrative ideas and practices that you have been trying to apply more in your work.
      Identity and identity migration
      What would you call the principle or idea? Give it a name. Say something about it – describe what it is about, your understandings of it, in your own words.
      I would call it “route” acknowledging its potential to find a way and have lots of different ways and still be there as it sounds like ‘root’ and may sprout as well.
      Give some more details about it, e.g.: When did you first notice this idea or principle in the work? What told you that it was important to you?
      I noticed this especially when I was studying Shiatsu and learning the theory and practicing with my fellow students and eventually people from the general public. I think this was when I reconnected in a different way with my own body and its memories. This prompted and enabled me to attend a year’s training course on trauma.
      What are you currently doing that you would say is a reflection of this particular idea, practice or principle? Say a little bit about the times you thought you had managed to apply the idea or principle to your own practice.
      I am currently exploring and sharing some concepts of identity in relation to mental heath and the impact of torture and abuse.
      I think I managed to apply this to my practice both by seeking support for myself and sharing support with individuals and a particular family group.
      When you did it, what did you notice? How did it affect, for example:
      The conversation you were engaging in at the time? I noticed a sense of relief and that the conversation became wider ranging and included more ‘not knowing’
      Your thoughts about yourself? I am learning more about myself and others
      The other people who were with you? They said I’d heard them.
      Your hopes or plans? I hope to continue to develop this further through research, reflection and practice on both a personal and professional level and I plan to do some more training when/if this is possible.
      Your feelings? With support, I have been able to have my feelings and to find these strengthened my resolve. The kindnesses shown to me deepened compassion and enlivened my processing.
      What was this like for you? This was like a re-connection with my past identities that came to help me out and introduce themselves to what was going on. Did you like it or not? Yes
      Did it suit you or not? Yes Or something in between?That too
      Why is it that you give this evaluation? Because this is what I found in answer to these questions this morning. What did it seem to fit with? It seemed to fit with the situation that is the most difficult and challenging to me at the moment.

  17. I find Narrative Therapy a very exciting way to work as it fits with my beliefs with regard to not pathologising people and not blaming the victim but working with people in a non – judgemental way that locates the problem outside of themselves and therefore works against self blame. The approach I utilise the most is the thickening of a person’s story so that clients who think they have never been able to cope are able to identify that so many times they have been able to do this. I would like to employ writing letters to clients as I think,(the evidence indicates this) that they would be able to have this letter to remind them of the positives that came out of a counselling and how they have been able to do many things in their lives despite the ‘thin narrative’ they have internalised. Though I have always tried to think about power and privilege in a relationship I am now more acutely aware of this and will be more reflective and think about power and privilege in a deeper way.

  18. (From France)
    Thanks to Phillipa Johnson and all the people at the Dulwich centre for providing such a gripping course. The key element which attracted me to narrative therapy is externalisation. It brings so many opportunities for the person to look at its “problem” differently and to act upon it.
    I wish you all the best.
    Take care.

  19. One of the aspects that connected with me during this chapter was that therapists are often perceived to have the power, the expertise, in the therapeutic relationship. Building on the ideas of cultural equity, the therapist should take responsibility for deconstructing this imbalance in collaboration with the client. Examining the assumptions that influence people’s view on therapists and deconstructing them to create space for collaborative work with the client as the primary author.

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