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 at 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 dcp@dulwichcentre.com.au

 


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 63 Comments

  1. Alex

    Alex: 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.

    – Externalising

    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.
    – ‘Manageable’ is the name I’d give it, because it allows someone to remove the problem from themselves, walk around it, pick it up, look at it from different angles, weigh it, decide what they want to do with it. It makes it ‘manageable’.

    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?
    – This is still very new so I’ve not yet applied it in my work, although I’ll have opportunity to do so soon. It seems important to me in the same way Kelly’s ideas of nobody needing to be “a victim of their biography” seem important. It creates the possibility of alternative stories, understandings, and the possibility of applying skills and knowledge that the person already possesses.

    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.
    – It’s still new, but I intend to practice externalising in an upcoming coaching session. But I can imagine how helpful it will be applying it to myself. When I find myself personalising problems, internalising them, I want to experiment with externalising them, and noticing the impact on my own mood, thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

  2. Kate Coomber

    Hi, Kate from Melbourne Australia.
    One thing that has particularly resonated for me has been externalising, and the expression that ‘the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem’.

    What would I call this principle or idea? I think at this point it’s hard to encapsulate with a catchy name because externalising and the conversations and actions flowing from it are very big concepts in themselves.
    For myself, I currently think of externalising as ‘meeting clients where they are’ and the axiom of ‘the person is not the problem’, as a guiding mantra from which all other actions spring. If I were to explain it to clients however, it would be quite different, it’s a little like lancing a wound and letting the infection release, but that’s not very friendly imagery! I think I would be encouraging clients to give their problem a name in sessions because they have ownership and investment in it and I would want them to feel their power in doing so.
    I have definitely been able to apply this at work in some instances. With clients in brief conversations, for example when they are talking about mental health issues impacting their living circumstances. Simple re-phrasing, ‘how long have you lived with the anger/depression etc.’, gives the conversation a different orientation. I notice clients adopt the language and speak more specifically about their issue, they might say ‘since secondary school in Year 10’, for example whereas previously they would say ‘I developed this in secondary school’. It may seem subtle but it is part of a shift in their thinking.
    And also with co-workers when they speak about clients, it’s been interesting to see how separating the person (client) from the problem, creates more space for a worker to really see clients as they are. It has been noticeable that workers engage with externalising and it leads to speculation about what their clients’ life might have been like without the problem and indeed what strengths they already have.
    It feels extremely valuable to work this way, giving clients an opportunity to see themselves differently. I feel this way because that’s how ‘the person is not the problem’ affected me when I first read it. I felt energised by the possibility of using this at work and in my personal life. I noted how externalising shows you that the ‘problem’ is also a product and part of one’s environment. Personally I had hard times when I was younger and if I had understood a label was only part of the story and indeed did not have to ‘stick’ I would have felt more potential and resilient in how I dealt with my issues.
    The other idea I have deeply connected with is encouraging people to tell their stories in a multi- faceted way, that thickens the narrative and is complex and not damage-centred. Everyone has a story to tell and that is common across all cultures. I am hoping to create opportunities for people to tell their stories in different empowering ways. Having read about the ‘suitcase narratives I can see huge potential for those clients attending the agency I work at who are from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

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