2005: Issue 1

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in | 0 comments

Dear Reader,

Welcome to this first issue of the year! It’s always a bit of an adventure sending the first journal to the printer and awaiting people’s responses.

This issue contains papers around a number of themes, first of all ‘Psychiatry and narrative ideas’. We’re pleased to include here the first of a series of papers by psychiatrist SuEllen Hamkins in which she explores the use of narrative practices within her psychiatric practice. This paper follows on from the formation of a group of psychiatrists who are interested in narrative ideas, which occurred in Oaxaca, Mexico at the 6th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference. The second paper in this issue, also by a psychiatrist, Nacho Maldonaldo, was a keynote at this conference and describes experiences of mental health work within Argentina, Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico. The third paper in this initial section is by Pam Burr Smith and describes an exercise used with groups in a psychiatric hospital setting. It involves the use of humour and novel ways of inviting externalised conversations.

The next section of this journal focuses on ‘Stories from working with men’ and includes two papers, by Mark Gordon and Larry Towney, which were given as keynote addresses at an international summer school of narrative practice that took place at Dulwich Centre in Adelaide late last year. A third keynote from this session, by Art Fisher on ‘Narrative possibilities for unpacking homophobia’, will be published in an upcoming issue!

Two papers on ‘Stories from working with women’ are then included. The first, by Cindy Gowen and Stephanie Paravicini, describes the ways in which young women in a Californian high school are taking a stand against sexual violence. The second, by Shona Russell, discusses the responsibility of therapists to open spaces in conversations with women to examine cultural and social conditions that can easily remain invisible.

The next piece, ‘Was it a girl or was it a boy?’, by Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad, a bi-gendered doctor and family therapist in Norway, then throws into question issues of gender and sexual identity!

Finally, the journal concludes with two pieces that both involve ethical explorations. Bill Madsen offers a training exercise developed to assist workers to examine inadvertent disempowering professional practices that may have negative effects on the people who consult them. A paper by Leonie Sheedy, about the experience of former state wards, foster children and those who grew up in Children’s Homes, invites social workers and other health professionals to come to terms with the history of these professions.

It is a thoughtful collection and we hope you enjoy it. You will also notice that for the first time we have included a new section, Recent News. With so much happening in relation to narrative therapy ideas, we thought we might institute a column which lets readers know of recent events. If you have ideas as to what we could include next time, please write to us and let us know. Thanks!

Warm regards,

Cheryl White


 

Showing all 10 results

  • Introducing Narrative Psychiatry: Narrative Approaches to Initial Psychiatric Consultations— SuEllen Hamkins

    $9.90

    This paper is the first in a series to examine the use of narrative therapy approaches within psychiatry. The author, psychiatrist SuEllen Hamkims, describes ways in which narrative ideas shape the initial conversations she has with those who consult her.

    Initial psychiatric consultations are conceptualised as re-authoring conversations in which questions that generate experience and gather information assist in the development of a history of resistance to the problem. Examples of co-research and letter-writing are also offered. The paper ends with a reflection from Virginia Slaughter whose conversations with the author about experiences of depression are offered as examples of this work.

  • Healing, Politics and Community Action— Nacho Maldonaldo

    $5.50

    This paper traces some of the histories that have shaped the author’s understandings of the role of psychiatry and family therapy, and discusses some of the key current issues in the field, most notably domestic violence. This paper was originally delivered as a keynote address in Oaxaca, Mexico, at the 6th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference.

  • Good Answers to Bad Invitations— Pam Burr Smith

    $9.90

    This article describes an exercise used with groups in a psychiatric hospital setting. It involves the use of humour and novel ways of inviting externalised conversations.

  • Unexpected Conversations — Some Reflections on Talking with Men— Mark Gordon

    $9.90

    Conversations with men can lead to unexpected destinations. Narrative practices that enable counsellors to listen for what it is that men value, that explore meaningful relationships, and that avoid shaming or belittling, can result in creative conversational adventures. This paper, by Mark Gordon, was initially delivered as a part of a keynote session at Dulwich Centre’s 2nd International Summer School of Narrative Practice, in Adelaide in November 2004.

  • The Power of Healing in the Yarns: Working with Aboriginal Men— Larry Maxwell Towney

    $5.50

    ‘The power of healing in yarn’ is an approach to conversations with Indigenous Australian men that involves the use of certain narrative practices in culturally appropriate ways. This paper, by Larry Towney, was initially delivered as a part of a keynote session at Dulwich Centre’s 2nd International Summer School of Narrative Practice, in Adelaide in November 2004.

  • Getting it Out There: Young Women Take a Stand Against Sexual Violence— Cindy Gowen and Stephanie Paravicini

    $9.90

    ‘This is a story about several young women from California and their journey back from despair and depression. These young women decided to share their stories so that other young women might learn from what happened to them. It is also a story of the ways in narrative practices that were engaged with by two counsellors to assist these young women in telling and re-telling their stories.

  • Examining Discourse When Talking with Women— Shona Russell

    $5.50

    This paper discusses the ongoing responsibility we have as therapists for opening spaces to examine cultural and social conditions that can easily remain invisible.

    The author asks: ‘How can I step outside my own ideology and question it’, and ‘What steps can I take to expand the range of discourses which are brought into therapeutic conversations?’ A postmodern feminist orientation is discussed as a way to examine and explore the dominant discourses which are powerfully shaping of identity. Through the story of Rosanna’s life we see how these explorations are linked with re-authoring conversations.

  • Was It a Girl — or Was It a Boy?— Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad

    $0.00

    This short paper seeks to ask questions about sex and gender identity. It was originally offered as a keynote at the 6th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference in Oaxaca, Mexico.

  • Conversations about Inadvertent Disempowering Practices— William Madsen

    $0.00

    This short piece describes an exercise developed to assist workers to examine inadvertent disempowering professional practices that may have negative effects on the people who consult them. The exercise also explores ways of talking with colleagues about these practices.

  • Try to Put Yourselves in Our Skin: The Experience of Wardies and Homies— Leonie Sheedy

    $9.90

    This paper describes some of the experiences, skills and knowledge of ‘Wardies’ and ‘Homies’ – former state wards, foster children and those who grew up in Children’s Homes and orphanages. It also invites social workers and other health professionals to come to terms with the history of these professions.

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

0