Narrative practices have a rich history of creating and sharing documents and engaging audiences. Here we look at a number of different ways of doing this!
One of the early defining characteristics of narrative therapy was the creative use of documentation or the written word.
In this video presentation, David Newman describes the ways in which he is using living documents with young people in an inpatient ward.
Here is an earlier paper by David Newman describing his use of the written work within narrative therapeutic practice: Rescuing the said from the saying of it by David Newman
This paper illustrates how we can use four different categories of document. Examples of each of the following documents are offered and the author also shares some of his experiences, dilemmas and learnings in creating therapeutic documentation.
Letters recording a session
Documents of knowledge and affirmation
News documents &
Documents to contribute to rites of passage
Ncazelo Nucbe-Mlilo is a Zimbabwean psychologist and narrative therapist living and working in South Africa. Here, she introduces the ‘Narratives in the suitcase’ project which seeks to use journey metaphors and creative documentation to assist child refugees.
This work is inspired by the work of Glynis Clacherty and The Suitcase Project (see link below). It also draws upon ideas from Sherri Osborn.
In this paper we read responses to the following 8 questions.
1. What is meant by the term outsider witness?
2. Why is it important for there to be witnesses to preferred stories?
3. What is the history of these ideas and ways of working?
4. What are definitional ceremonies?
5. What sort of responses do outsider witnesses make?
6. What are some of the common hazards of outsider-witness practice and how can these be avoided? Do you have any helpful hints about these?
7. What are the different contexts in which outsider-witness work takes place?
8. What do you enjoy most about outsider-witness practices?
Marilyn O’Neill, Hugh Fox, Gaye Stockell, Anne Schober, Jeff Zimmerman, Emily Sued & Dirk Kotzé all provided material which Maggie Carey, Shona Russell compiled and which David Denborough’s editing and writing brought together in the following article.
What forms of documentation might be most relevant or resonant in your context?
Are there particular ideas or practices you found within these materials you might draw on in your future meetings with people?
Have any of these questions got you hooked? Have you got another question you would like to pose to those joining you in this online learning? Please let us know below! Please include where you are writing from (City and Country). Thanks!