Decolonising identity stories

Posted by on Jun 18, 2018 in Uncategorised | 9 comments

Decolonising practice

An introduction from Tileah Drahm-Butler

Decolonising Identity Stories

Tileah Drahm-Butler discusses how narrative therapy can be used as a decolonising practice.


Now you can read Tileah's chapter on the same topic:

Decolonising identity stories: Narrative practice through Aboriginal eyes

This chapter is from the book Aboriginal narrative practice: Honouring Storylines of price, strength and creativity by Barbara Wingard, Carolynanha Johnson and Tileah Drahm-Butler

Closing words from Tileah


  1. I love the reminder about the lens of “Survivance”. Working in often deficits based systems, it is easy to get swept away from the stories which make us stronger. Thank you.

  2. I absolutely love that Migration of Identity map in the example about Etta. What a simple but powerful visual to be able to reference – and something that can be used in so many scenarios, not just in therapy! Definitely want to learn more about that technique.

  3. I absolutely love the Migration of Identity map that was adapted. So client focused! This seems like the best way to work with all types of folks.
    Also, more to the effects of colonialism…how we understand colonialism and its subsequent effects, definitely changes everything. Suddenly, a person can re-characterize themselves!

  4. From personal experiences if non-Indigenous “Helpers” in therapy do not know the history of colonisation than they could possibly do more damage. It is very important to know the impact of colonisation to better understand the compounded trauma of Indigenous people.

  5. I am interested in how I as a worker facilitate conversation and use/manage my power. I have observed a particular look or shake of the head with an Aboriginal mum who talks to me when things are not going well for her, she wants to talk, but some of her story is not for me. She takes the lead in the decisions on which parts of the story to tell. There is still plenty of room for the double story and this is helpful with the shame narrative.

  6. This is so helpful and will definitely affect my work with people – sometimes an Aboriginal mum is referred to me when her kids have been removed and she is to do a parenting course (Circle of Security) with me…just do the course – get the certificate is what they want. I’ve never just done the course, like that but this teaching here is helping me see even more how ‘damaged’ and how that’s a colonised way of doing things and how she is deemed to have a problem – I always bring it back to the collective, the intergenerational trauma, try to externalise the shame etc..but what is offered here is really deepening my understanding and sensitivity to this area of work.

  7. This is fantastic. Often I feel ill-equipped in terms of how to relate to young people from Indigenous communities who contact me for counselling. Understanding what can be seen as colonised language is such an important first step for me in this course!

  8. I have several issues come up recently in my life that have been deeply entrenched in colonialism … I try now to use narrative as a form of self care and resistance both personally and in my arts practice .. I have also engaged with a narrative therapist

  9. In just one chapter of the book, I have become more aware about culturally sensitive therapies. In particular, asking the client to define their problem and what that means to them was very helpful. I am curious to learn more and to feel more confident in this approach.

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