2003: Issue 1

Dear Subscriber,

Welcome to the first issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work for 2003. We’re really looking forward to the various publishing projects that we have in store for this year.

This edition consists of three sections. The first contains five accessible and thorough practice-based papers detailing a wide range of narrative practices including: the use of outsider witnesses; letter-writing and re-membering practices within school counselling contexts; working with people who are struggling with problems of substance use; and ways of destabilising the habits of highly effective problems.

The second section contains thoughtful interviews relating to history and healing. Two of these were conducted in South Africa and relate to ways in which Apartheid and Holocaust histories are being engaged with to contribute to healing in the present. The third interview describes the inspiring work of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City.

The final section, entitled ‘Voices from Bali’ has been created as a response to the bombing that took place there last year. We have collected the views and perspectives of a number of people who live and work in Bali. It is our hope that these words will remind us of the longer term effects of violence, and that they will draw our attention to the creative and thoughtful responses of the Balinese people.

Thank you for your readership. We look forward to hearing your reflections throughout the year. Your ideas, thoughts, suggestions and questions are what make the process of publishing creative and generative. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this first issue for 2003.

Warm regards,

Dulwich Centre Publications.

  • Outsider-witness Practices: Some Answers to Commonly Asked Questions— compiled by Maggie Carey & Shona Russell


    The use of outsider witnesses is a therapeutic practice commonly engaged with by those interested in narrative therapy. This accessible paper offers an introduction to, and clarification of, some of the intricacies of this practice. This paper was created through a collaborative process involving well-respected therapists from Australia, the USA, Mexico, South Africa and the UK.

  • Using Letters in School Counselling— Katy Batha


    This paper explores the creative use of therapeutic letters in a school counselling context. A number of different types of therapeutic documents are described including letters of introduction and invitation, letters of reflection, letters to keep contact, and letters to summarise co-research.

  • Remembering Meg— Anne Stringer


    This paper describes how a group of young women, in conversation with their school counsellor, found ways to remember and honour the mother of one of their close friends. The paper has been written collaboratively between the school counsellor and the young women involved. It is shared here in the hope that it may offer something to other young women and to other school counsellors.

  • Conversations with Persons Dealing with Problems of Substance Use— Wendy R. West


    This article provides practice-based and narrative-inspired ideas for working with persons who struggle with substance use. The author describes various categories of questions that assist people: to reflect on the ways alcohol, cocaine or other drugs have impacted their lives; to articulate their intentions and purposes in stopping using; to develop skills and abilities for resisting cravings and urges; and to begin to create identities based on new or re-claimed purposes, values, beliefs, and commitments.

  • Counterviewing Injurious Speech Acts: Destabilising Eight Conversational Habits of Highly Effective Problems— Stephen Madigan


    This paper discusses eight internalised injurious speech habits that contribute to the existence and maintenance of problems in people’s lives. The speech habits discussed are self-surveillance/audience, illegitimacy, escalating fear, negative imagination/invidious comparison, internalised bickering, hopelessness, perfection and paralysing guilt. The paper also provides a full discussion on the practice of deconstructing and destabilising these discursive habits. This process includes exposing and locating dialogic habits, counterviewing longstanding problem descriptions, re-remembering aspects of clients’ lives existing outside of the problem descriptions of them, and revitalising possibility and appreciation through therapeutic conversations.

  • Responding with History and Story: An Interview with Joan Nestle— David Denborough


    Joan Nestle is one of the founders of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City and has been an instrumental figure in the documentation of lesbian history as well as a highly respected teacher and writer (see reading list below). In this interview, Joan elegantly articulates why she and others chose to respond to the pathologisation of lesbian lives with the creation of history and stories. This interview took place in Adelaide, South Australia. David Denborough was the interviewer.

  • Recreating Our Community – Memory, Restitution and Action: from an interview with Terence D. Fredericks


    In this piece, Terence Fredericks, the Chairman of the District Six Museum Foundation, in Cape Town, South Africa, describes the inspiring work of the District Six Museum. This museum is involved in not only honouring the memory of the community of District Six, from which thousands of people were forcibly removed by the Apartheid regime, but also working with this memory, welcoming people to history, developing meaningful restitution and, importantly, re-creating the community. This piece is derived from an interview conducted by David Denborough.

  • History Shaping the Present: from an interview with Marlene Silbert


    In this piece, Marlene Silbert, the Education Director of the Holocaust Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, describes ways of teaching history that make it relevant to the present. In particular, Marlene describes ways of engaging with Holocaust history that can enable action and healing in present day South Africa. This piece is derived from an interview. Cheryl White, David Denborough and Peter Hollams were present.

  • Voices from Bali: Responding to the October Bombing— Muhammad Arif, Putu Nur Ayomi Janet De Neefe, Sugi B. Lanus Ni Made Marni, Wayan Sarma & Frances Tse


    This piece has been created as a response to the bombing that took place in Bali in October 2002, five months ago. As these words are being written, Australia is preparing to join the USA and Britain to bomb and invade the sovereign country of Iraq many thousands of miles away. Most Australians do not support such a war and are deeply worried about its implications. So too in Bali. Those we spoke to when we visited there last month were unanimous that the looming war in Iraq would bring only further violence and hardship to the world and in turn make the healing of the bombing in Bali much more difficult. The following piece describes some of the ways in which the effects of two bombs in Kuta continue to haunt the people of Bali. As the USA, Britain and Australia prepare a far more devastating attack on the ancient cities of Iraq, a sense of grief visits us. This piece is all about grief, about responses to loss and violence, and about the people of Bali – Australia’s neighbours