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.

2,023 Comments

  1. I’m Clayre Sessoms from Vancouver, BC, Canada, traditionally known as Coast Salish Territories. I acknowledge that my work takes place on the ancestral, unceded, and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Nations of the Coast Salish People whose relationship with the land is ancient, primary, and enduring. I’m an uninvited settler in what is colonially known as Vancouver. Because my place of work is on stolen land I commit to support a reconciliation, which includes reparations and the return of land. Here I study counselling psychology and art therapy, and I get to incorporate narrative therapy at my practicum placement, a site that provides free counselling services for LGBTQ2S individuals.

    These materials help me to begin to wrap my head around the complexities of narrative therapy. I especially enjoyed learning about how others have used narrative therapy in practical counselling settings.

    I’m moved by how we often tend to hear, accept, or retell the thinnest stories of our lives and the lives of others. I imagine that not valuing the richness of an individual’s diverse range of stories, perhaps, it has been much easier to cling to tired old preconceived notions about others, which can cause undue harm.

    I’m left thinking about the TEDTalk by Chimamanda Adichie about the dangers of accepting a singular story of someone else, rather than leaning in and committing to understand the wholeness of that person’s narrative.

    I look forward to continuing to learn. Thank you to The Dulwich Centre for providing this accessible forum. <3

  2. in what ways have you entered into collaborations before? What made these collaborations possible?

    As a peer worker most of my work was entering into collaborations with young people. I would use curiosity to further inquire into their experience, and looking back wow these narrative practices would have been amazing to use in our youth group discussions! We would use art mostly in telling stories. Many of the young people heard voices and saw characters only they could see. They would enjoy painting these voices, externalising the character, giving it a name and talking about the story and nature of the relationship between the voice and the character. I also enjoyed illiciting these stories, as I could tell they would begin to separate themselves from the voices, allowing for guilt and shame to reduce.

    What might make it hard to enter into these practices?

    The one difficult way of entering into these practices was the note writing. The managerial culture of my last workplace meant it was not considered good practice to have clients sit with us to write notes. In fact most clients probably were unaware that workers did regularly make notes each time they had contact with the centre. We were a strengths based centre that thrived on person centred practice. I think there is a bit of a stereotype that note writing is quite clinical and removed from person centred practice, hence a certain avoidance of bringing up notes in front of clients.

    If these ways of working fit for you, what next steps could you take to build partnerships/collaborations in your work?

    I definitely believe I could continue to use art to help young people tell their alternative stories. In mental health many workers draw thin conclusions of clients – bipolar, poor attachment, violent, with even their strengths really talked about in third person. It would be great to start drawing peoples strengths out with the use of story telling, so that clients can start to own their strengths, rather than have clinicans cherry pick these out.

  3. Thank you to Tileah for a wonderful presentation. I love hearing the word “yarn” used in this powerful way (Americans also have that term). The practice of “translating”, of shifting concepts into language that can be more usefully heard, is very powerful. As coaches we can make good use of this to help clients uncover their hidden or forgotten resources.

  4. These stories are amazing examples of what we can discover when we hold onto our “beginner’s mind” and remember that the other person (client, patient) has the information and understanding, not us. We talk a lot in leadership development about “co-creating” and I think this is a beautiful example of two very complementary roles: the person who has the story and the person who helps to explore and shape it.

  5. I like the idea of narrative – there is something about giving people the power to create a narrative, rather than simply appearing in a story told by someone else. Within the narrative metaphor, I especially enjoy the fabric metaphor – the idea of strands. These may touch each other, or not, may go well together in tone or color, or not. But again, there is some power in creating and weaving the narrative.
    In my own work with coaching and leadership development, I find that the emphasis on narrative(s) helps make things more tangible, and therefore brings them to their true scale, instead of letting them take on imaginary and unclearly described proportions.

  6. I love this. Telling our stories in ways that make us stronger. Such a powerful sentiment. Sometimes through trauma, it is hard to access the words that really encapsulate that experience – though using the written word does help us access those hard to utter parts of our memories … in those cases though perhaps the story we tell ourselves is not one that makes us feel strong in the first instance – so finding a way to tell that story in a way that focuses on the strength of surviving to tell that story is just amazing!

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