2003: Issue 3

Posted by on Dec 23, 2016 in | 0 comments

Dear Reader,

Welcome to another issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.

The first half of this journal focuses on an issue dear to our hearts – mental health. The Hearing Voices Network offered a series of papers within a keynote address at the 5th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference in Liverpool, UK in July. We have received many requests for written copies of their moving presentations and are delighted to be publishing these here. The work of the Hearing Voices Network is offering alternative ways of understanding and responding to the experiences of hearing voices and seeing visions. Their work is inspiring many people both in the UK and further afield.

Also within this mental health section is a write-up of a recent community gathering, which took place in Canberra, Australia, and documents the skills and knowledges of those living with mental health issues. Entitled ‘These are not ordinary lives’, this paper richly describes the perspectives, ideas and stories which give meaning to lives lived out of the ordinary. The skills and knowledges that are illustrated here are heartfelt and hard-won. They are also, we believe, of vital relevance to health professionals working in the realm of mental health.

The second half of the journal changes tack. It includes a sparkling article by Judith Milner entitled ‘Narrative groupwork with young women – and their mobile phones’, and a short practice-based paper by Mike Boucher on the rarely discussed topic of ‘Exploring the meaning of tattoos’.

The final piece in this journal is another in the popular series of questions and answers compiled by Maggie Carey and Shona Russell. This rigorous paper contains thorough examples of therapeutic consultations and detailed descriptions of the thinking that informs ‘re-authoring conversations’, one of the key practices of narrative therapy.

This issue, we believe, contains a collection of moving and varied papers that are of direct relevance to therapists, counsellors and community workers. We hope you find them relevant, engaging and in some way stretching of your thinking and practice.

We’d love to hear your reflections!

Warm regards,

Cheryl White,
David Denborough,
Jane Hales,
Dulwich Centre Publications.


 

Showing all 6 results

  • Introducing the Work of the Hearing Voices Network

    $15.00

     

    This collection includes six articles about the work of the Hearing Voices Network:

    Introducing the Work of the Hearing Voices Network— David Denborough

    An introduction by David Denborough

    The Use of Humour and Other Coping Strategies— Jon Williams

    Everyone’s experience of hearing voices is different. In this paper Jon Williams describes the ways in which he has come to live with the voices he hears and how humour plays a vital part. This paper also describes a number of creative coping strategies as well as discussing the influential work of the Hearing Voices Network.

    Glimpses of Peace— Sharon De Valda

    Trauma can be the main trigger or cause of voice-hearing in many people. In this paper, Sharon de Valda evocatively conveys how racism and sexism shape her experience of hearing voices and how she has in turn used her own experiences to assist other voice-hearers.

    From Paranoid Schizophrenia to Hearing Voices - and Other Class Distinctions— Mickey De Valda

    While not commonly discussed, class relations have a significant influence in relation to people’s experiences of mental health and hearing voices in particular. In this paper, Mickey de Valda describes how experiences of class shape his experience and how this has influenced his work with the Hearing Voices Network.

    Partnership— Julie Downs

    In this paper, Julie Downs (Co-ordinator of the National Office of the Hearing Voices Network) discusses the importance of thoughtful partnerships between those who hear voices and those who do not. Both the hazards and possibilities of these partnerships are considered, particularly in relation to matters of power, politics and control.

    Altering the Balance of Power: Working with Voices— Peter Bullimore

    Through sharing stories of therapeutic work, this paper describes how issues of abuse and power are vital considerations when working with voice-hearers. Not only is voice-hearing often the result of abuse, but voice-hearing itself can be an experience of abuse. Peter Bullimore describes how he is interested in ensuring that abusive voices are challenged and their influence reduced, and how positive voices can be acknowledged and cherished. The paper also tells stories of a recently established group for people experiencing ‘paranoia’ that is having surprising success, and identifies significant factors that influence the process of recovery. The author also shares some of his own experiences of psychosis and how these influence his work in this area.

     

  • These are not Ordinary Lives. The Report of a Mental Health Community Gathering

    $9.90

    This paper contains the stories, skills and knowledges that were described during a two-day gathering for ‘consumers’ of mental health services in Canberra, Australia. This gathering was preceded by detailed consultations that were shaped by narrative therapy ideas and the gathering itself was organised and structured around a series of definitional ceremonies. This led to the rich description of participants’ unique knowledges of illness and healing; their appreciation of healing contexts; their connections with each other; their connections with families, friends and pets, and their connections with service providers. Space was also created for the articulation of the skills and knowledges associated with embracing different hopes, values and ways of living. This paper records the stories that were told on the gathering in the hope that these will be of assistance to others.

  • Narrative Groupwork with Young Women – and Their Mobile Phones— Judith Milner

    $9.90

    This paper describes part of a narrative project with a small group of fourteen/fifteenyear-old young women attending a pupil referral unit following their exclusion from mainstream schooling. Narrative therapy promotes the idea of engaging with the experiences and meaning of people in whichever way or shape the expression of this meaning occurs. In this instance it involved a deliberate decision on the part of the therapist to include group members’ conversations on their mobile phones. These conversations had the effect of recruiting a wider audience, facilitating the expression and enactment of alternative ways of being, and developing a support network.

  • Exploring the Meaning of Tattoos— Mike Boucher

    $0.00

    In this short paper the author describes some of the multiple meanings that tattoos can hold for people, including ‘markings of transitions’, ‘rejecting normalising judgements’ and ‘remembering important learnings’. Through describing the stories of one woman’s tattoos and their meanings, this paper invites therapists to consider the significance that tattoos hold in some people’s lives and ways of taking this into account in the therapy room.

  • Re-authoring: Some Answers to Commonly Asked Questions— compiled by Maggie Carey & Shona Russell

    $9.90

    The understanding that our lives are shaped by the stories that we create about them underpins all narrative practice. This practice-based paper, which was created through collaborative processes involving narrative practitioners in a number of different countries, seeks to answer some commonly asked questions about re-authoring conversations. Practical examples are offered throughout, as are explanations of the thinking that informs re-authoring conversations.

  • Considering Issues of Domestic Violence and Abuse in Palliative Care and Bereavement Situations— Judy Wright

    $0.00

    Through relaying the stories of older women, this short paper invites readers to consider the importance of listening for and responding to experiences of domestic violence and abuse in palliative care settings. Whether older women are themselves nearing their deaths, or they are caring for male partners who are in the process of dying, issues of violence and abuse are often present and require careful response.

1,972 Comments

  1. Listening to Tileah I was provoked to contemplate my own use of language when working with clients. I enjoy the narrative model of practice and I am aware that for some there is definitely stigma attached to the process of counselling or therapy. I have only had one experience of working with an Indigenous person as a client and I will be sure to look at my use of language. I like the idea of it just being a yarn, it takes the pressure and onus off of the client to do something.

  2. Hello:

    This is Andrea from Toronto.

    I found particularly helpful the discussion in the FAQ around the use of metaphors of conflict and combat. I expect to be working in healthcare settings with critically ill patients and their loved ones (mostly children and parents), and I anticipate hearing them use these kinds of combative metaphors during our conversations. I also anticipate meeting many people who are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from “fighting” these problems. I appreciated the comments in the FAQ about combative metaphors, and the suggestions around exploring other kinds of metaphors which may be less conflict-laden and draining on their emotional resources. Thanks again for making this material available!

  3. I have started to use collaboration with clients when I am asked to write a report. I ask clients what they see as the areas of change and challenge of which they want others to be aware. I also at times share my report with the client first to be sure it accurately reflects their experience. In this way they are both acknowledging their ongoing journey and being acknowledged for the work they have done.

  4. Mike here, in London. I too was interested in “We were unwittingly adjusting people to poverty or other forms of injustice by addressing their symptoms, without affecting broader social and structural change.” It’s a really difficult question. I was involved for about 10 years in working with people suffering from homelessness. Sue Mann’s story really rang true for me. One thing I was involved in was a choir for marginalised people, literally helping them find their voices. That, I felt, was useful, and collaborative. But I have always been suspicious of things like distributing left-over sandwiches to people sleeping rough on the street, as if that made it OK for them to be there as long as we give them some stale sandwiches. Or giving them tents or sleeping bags. What message does it send? Even though it may be well-meaning.

  5. Hi, I’m Mike. I work as a couples counsellor in London, England. My main training was 50% psychodynamic and 50% systemic. Narrative work was touched on briefly, for one module, and I am looking forward to learning more. Couples certainly do bring stories, often rather thin stories. “My partner is selfish.” Or “My partner had an affair”. Full stop. That’s all there is to know. Even in happy couples, people seem to get shaped into rather thin roles: this partner is the one who’s good with people, that partner is the one who’s good with money, this one cooks, that one drives. If the relationship ends, they may discover, actually *I* also can drive, cook, manage my money, make friends, I am a complete person.

  6. I think it will be an important part of my practice to investigate with clients which elements of our systems (social, cultural, political, economic) that are contributing to or mitigating their problems and suffering. I was particularly struck by the following sentence from the Just Therapy article: “We were unwittingly adjusting people to poverty or other forms of injustice by addressing their symptoms, without affecting broader social and structural change.” I think it is incumbent upon those of us in helping professions to work with the people we are helping to begin addressing the systemic issues that are contributing to (or creating) their problems. Otherwise, we may fall into this trap of “adjusting people to injustice.”

  7. Hello! My name is Andrea and I am a Masters student in a spiritual care program located in Toronto.

    After reviewing this chapter, I’m reflecting upon the question that was raised: “how do we respond to grief when that grief has been caused by injustice?” and thinking about it in the context of working with seriously ill children and their families in a hospital/hospice setting. Patients and families in that setting also face grief that has been caused by injustice (in the form of incurable illness), and I see how the narrative metaphor can be used to help those families begin to reclaim their own lives in the face of tremendous loss caused by uncontrollable circumstances. I can see how the Articles of the Narrative Therapy Charter of Story-Telling Rights would be tremendously helpful when working with patients and families as a framework for telling and receiving their stories about their lives and their problems.

    For me, the material in this chapter also raises the question of how we can help to facilitate healing in a world where systems are seemingly becoming more unjust and creating deep suffering. My initial thought is that we continue to listen to each other’s stories with deep compassion, and the teachings of this course will help to provide us with new ideas and skills on how to do this.

  8. Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk was incredible. The one line where she said “a single story creates a stereotype. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete”. This blew my mind. I am ashamed to have ever participated in the single story belief of anyone let alone whole cultures, communities and countries , continents and so on. I know that moving forward I will endeavour to hear more stories and to encourage others to tell their story. I am about to run a photovoice narrative project to do just this, give a whole community the opportunity to change their stereotype.

  9. “Narrative therapy doesn’t believe in a ‘whole self’ which needs to be integrated but rather that our identities are made up of many stories, and that these stories are constantly changing.”

    I like this, I find it very compatible with my beliefs as a Buddhist. In Buddhism, as I understand it, mistaken beliefs about a solid, fixed “self” are the source of our suffering.

    I work with couples using EFT for couples, and in that approach, there is a big emphasis on externalising the problem as “the cycle that you get trapped in”, and encouraging couples to come up with their own name for it.

  10. Thank you for this. I am a counsellor, and trying to make as much as possible of my notes “in quotes”, that is, writing down things that the clients said. And not my own opinions.

  11. hello

    I the ED of a Friendship Center in Terrace, BC where were mostly target the indigenous population in our city of 12,000. I found your video interesting and something that we may want to try. Havee you been able to to do any follow ups studies to gage the long term effect of your program?

    Regards

    Cal Albright
    ED
    Kermode Friendship Center
    http://www.keremodefriendship.ca
    Terrace, BC
    Canada

    • Hi Cal, thanks for the interest. At this point the only followup has been through conversations with with people who return to volunteer on additional walks or engage with our other programs.

      However, a group of fourth year medical students at a local university have offered to run a pre and post measured study / report in 2020 as part of their studies which should be interesting.

      Let me know if you would like more information.

      CD

  12. Thank you for this overview of Narrative Therapy. I am returning to practice after some time away, and these reminders are timely and appreciated.

  13. Hi Chris

    I really enjoyed watching your video about Narrative Walks. My project is based in Blaenau Gwent, in South Wales, Uk. I’m wondering whether I might use such an approach in my work with our Youth Service, who support young people between the ages of 11 and 25. Have you any thoughts on this? Are there any resources available, either free or to purchase?

    Best wishes

    Paul

    • Hi Paul, m

      Much of my early attempts of the program were with the 15-20 year old age bracket and I found it worked really well. When I recently had an opportunity to run the program again with this age bracket – I extended the finish time so that could spend more time at the stop points and have a fire at the last resting place to talk about our intentions after the walk. This meant that we used head torches for the 2km which added a bit of a sense of theatre to the day. It was pretty cool.

      If you email me on hello@embarkpsych.com I can send you the manual. Or ask any other questions via this page so others might share in the answers.

      CD

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