2005: Issue 3 & 4

Posted by on Dec 21, 2016 in | 0 comments

Dear Readers,

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

This is a special edition combining both issue 3 and 4 to round out the year. This combined edition  brings you part two of the theme Responding to Trauma.

We begin this issue with Wendy West and some early impressions in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The issue also contains a large section of writings and interviews describing the work of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture (TRC) which is based in Ramallah, Palestine.

In addition, this issue contains diverse contributions from Michael White, Kaethe Weingarten, Michael Ungar, Ruth Pluznick, David Denborough, Shona Russell and many others.

Warm regards,

The Dulwich Centre


Showing all 15 results

  • Some Early Impressions in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina— Wendy R.West

    $5.50

    This short piece describes the initial experiences of a therapist involved in relief work in relation to Hurricane Katrina in the USA.

  • Children, Trauma and Subordinate Storyline Development— Michael White

    $9.90

    In this paper, Michael White emphasises the importance of subordinate storyline development in consultations with children who have been subject to trauma. This subordinate storyline development provides an alternative territory of identity for children to stand in as they begin to give voice to their experiences of trauma. This affords children a significant degree of immunity from the potential for retraumatisation in response to therapeutic initiatives to assist them to speak of their experiences of trauma and its consequences. This paper includes illustrations of the implications of these ideas for consultations with children who have been subject to trauma.

  • Reflections on Australia’s Response to Asylum Seekers: A Diary from Six Weeks as a Counsellor within Curtin Detention Centre— Jeanette Gibson

    $5.50

    Jeanette Gibson is a counsellor who for many years worked within a men’s prison in Victoria, Australia. The same private company which runs this prison administered the Curtin Detention Centre in the northwest of Western Australia. Within this centre, people who arrived in Australia seeking asylum were incarcerated for months and sometimes years while the Australian immigration department investigated their claims and decided whether or not to grant them refugee status. Jeanette took a six week assignment as a counsellor within Curtin Detention Centre. This paper consists of extracts from the diary that she kept during this time.

  • The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness— Book Review by Ruth Pluznick

    $5.50

    Editor’s note: We approached Ruth Pluznick to write a review of Simon Weisenthal’s book, ‘The Sunflower: On the possibilities and limits of forgiveness’ because we believe its subject matter directly relates to the issue of responding to trauma. Responses to trauma do not only involve questions of healing, but also questions of justice. Both the content and style of this book seem highly relevant to our field and Ruth makes some of these links at the end of her review. While Ruth was writing this piece, Simon Wiesenthal died at the age of 96. It seems all the more appropriate to include this review of his book in these pages.

  • A Framework for Receiving and Documenting Testimonies of Trauma— David Denborough

    $9.90

    This paper seeks to provide a framework for receiving and documenting the testimonies of those who have been subjected to trauma, violence and abuse. It is a framework designed to make it possible to receive and document testimonies in ways that are not re-traumatising and that, in fact, contribute to redressing the effects of trauma in a person’s life. The testimonies that are created can then be used for broader purposes.

  • Responding to Trauma and Grief – Family Gathering, Text and Spiritual Practice— Yishai Shalif

    $5.50

    This paper describes ways of working with religious Jewish families who have experienced the traumatic deaths of loved ones. The author, an orthodox Jewish psychologist, relates stories of work with religious families and the ways in which family gatherings, religious texts and spiritual practices have been a part of the healing process.

  • The Values of This Work: Supporting Workers’ Experience at the Acid Survivors Foundation— Shona Russell, Monira Rahman, Margaret Ryan & the workers of the Acid Survivors Foundation

    $5.50

    This paper describes a meeting of workers that recently took place at the Acid Survivors Foundation, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This meeting was structured according to narrative ideas in order to explore ways of dealing with the psychological consequences of working with survivors of acid violence; to provide staff with an opportunity to speak about what is important for them in their work; to explore ways in which staff are already responding to the impact of the work on them; and to consider some new possibilities. A document is included outlining the skills, knowledge, experience and values of workers at the Acid Survivors Foundation.

  • Collection: When the Trauma is not Past or ‘Post’: Palestinian Perspective on Responding to Trauma and Torture

    $15.00

    The following writings and interviews describe the work of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture (TRC) which is based in Ramallah, in the occupied Palestinian Territories. This organisation was founded by Dr Mahmud Sehwail eight years ago and provides counselling, psychological and psychiatric services to the Palestinian community.

     

    Articles in this collection include:

    Responding to Continuing Traumatic Events— Dr Mahmud Sehwail

    Dr Mahmud Sehwail is the founder and Director of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture (TRC). This paper explains how the TRC came into existence and how this organisation responds to those who have experienced trauma as well as aiming to prevent further abuse and violence.

    A Human Rights Approach to Psychotherapy— Khader Rasras

    This interview explores what it means to develop a human rights approach to psychotherapy and how these principles affect therapeutic work. It also considers ways of reaching out to survivors of trauma. Khader Rasras is the head psychologist at the TRC. The interviewer was David Denborough.

    Glimpses of Therapeutic Conversations: Engaging with Narrative Ideas— Bilal Hassounh, Iman Ja'ouni, Deema Al Tibi, Amani Al-Jamal, Maryam Burqan, Wisam Abdallah

    This paper consists of a collection of short stories of therapeutic practice from Palestinian counsellors and psychologists at the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture (TRC). The stories particularly focus on the ways in which they have been engaging with narrative ideas in their practice.

    Public Speech: Bringing People Together— Faiseh Muhtaseb

    A further aspect of the work of the TRC involves hosting public meetings in villages and towns around mental health issues. In this paper, Faiseh Muhtaseb describes the thinking behind this work.

    The Media as an Avenue for Therapeutic and Community Work̛— Hasan Salim

    Alongside the public meetings that are organised by the TRC, their media liaison officer, Hasan Salim, uses newspapers, the radio and television as mediums for further therapeutic and community work. This paper describes this work and the thinking that informs it. The interviewer was David Denborough.

     

  • Trauma, Meaning, Witnessing & Action— David Denborough

    $5.50

    Kaethe Weingarten’s most recent book is entitled Common Shock: Witnessing Violence Every Day – how we are harmed, how we can heal (Dutton 2003). This book focuses on what happens when people witness violence and violation, ways of understanding this experience, and options for responding. The following interview explores a number of themes from the book. The interviewer was David Denborough.

  • Mungalli Falls Indigenous Women’s Healing Camp— Greta Galloway and Robyn Moylan

    $9.90

    This paper provides a sparkling example of a community gathering, shaped by narrative ideas, designed to respond to the experiences of Indigenous Australian women. The paper describes a women’s healing camp that was held for Indigenous women in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. It provides a detailed account of the narrative and other processes engaged with at the camp, and provides participants’ evaluation and recollections of this event one year later.

  • A Thicker Description of Resilience— Michael Ungar

    $9.90

    What happens when we stop using pathologising language and hear the stories of resilience that young people tell? This paper offers a more contextually sensitive understanding of resilience, one that thickly describes resilience as more than just a youth’s capacity to survive and thrive. It is a shallow description of resilience to attribute success to something inside an individual alone. It also is a dangerous description that makes us as helpers overlook the sources of resilience and how best to intervene. The author’s purpose is to weave a rich tapestry of ideas that can honour lives lived well despite adversity.

  • Speaking the Unspeakable: Bearing Witness to the Stories of Political Violence, War and Terror— Pennie Blackburn

    $9.90

    A paper such as this cannot do justice to the multi-storied nature of work with refugee people. I have chosen to focus on aspects of the work which relate to ‘speaking the unspeakable’. In doing so I shall be looking at ways in which, as therapists, we can bear witness to the stories that people bring with them when they are forced to migrate. I will look at the way in which we (the people I work with and I) try to find ways to give voice to their experiences that are restorative and that contribute to their capacity to re-claim or to claim identity.

  • Journeys of Freedoms: Responding to the Effects of Domestic Violence— Kath Muller

    $9.90

    This paper outlines a community training project which sought to walk alongside women on their journeys to reclaim their lives from the effects of domestic violence. The community training project enabled connections between women, provided a context for externalising and re-authoring conversations, and allowed women to bear witness to each others’ stories of resistance and survival in the face of violence and abuse. A journey metaphor was used throughout the ten weekly gatherings of women. Following the project, having named shared concerns, the women went on to explore shared social action.

  • Envisioning New Meanings of Difference— Carla Rice, Hilde Zitzelsberger, Wendy Porch, Esther Ignagni & Loree Erickson

    $9.90

    This paper describes theoretical frameworks and experiential aspects of Building Bridges, a project designed to explore everyday experiences and creative capacities of adult women with physical differences and disabilities. Recognising there are few spaces for women to examine the influence of challenging cultural images and social encounters, we undertook to develop workshops for participants to expand their knowledge and skills and envision new meanings of difference. We emphasise key components of the project, focusing on feminist and narrative informed methods and expressive art activities, to illustrate the ways in which women revisit and reinterpret the meanings and significance of living with physical differences and disabilities. We invite discussion about the ways that women generate communities across difference and disability through critical questioning of cultural messages as well as creative imagining of new possibilities for ways of seeing themselves.

  • Language, Power and Intentions: Some Ideas of Working with People whose Lives are Affected by Substance Use— Michelle Cherubin

    $9.90

    In this paper the author shares stories from her work with people whose lives are affected by substance use. At the same time, this paper tries to make clear the kinds of ideas that inform the therapist’s thinking and the processes she goes through when deciding which conversational directions to explore. Key themes include: the use of language in therapy; considerations of modern power; responding to concerns about harm and considerations of protection; richly storying the web of relationships a person has to alcohol and drugs; and therapist intentions in this work.

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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