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

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

  • Stories from Srilanka: Responding to the Tsunami— Shanti Arulampalam, Lara Perera, Sathis de Mel, Cheryl White and David Denborough Quick View

    This paper consists of a series of extracts from interviews from Sri Lankan community workers and psychosocial workers who are involved in responding to the aftermath of the tsunamis of December 2004. Three months after the tsunamis had devastated areas of Sri Lanka’s coastline, Cheryl White and David Denborough visited the country and witnessed the extent of the destruction and loss of life, and also the extent of the reconstruction efforts. They met with families who are now living in small tents one hundred metres back from the shore and are gradually piecing life back together again. Because it was exactly three months to the day of the tsunami, Buddhist remembrance ceremonies were being held in many parts of the country. A number of interviews were conducted with thoughtful and dedicated local organisations determined to hold onto and utilise local knowledge and expertise in responding to the experience of Sri Lankan communities. This paper includes stories from a number of these organisations.

  • ‘How can You Do This Work?’ Responding to Questions about the Experience of Working with Women Who Were Subjected to Child Sexual Abuse— Sue Mann Quick View

    This paper explores ways of understanding the experience of therapists who work in the field of child sexual abuse. The author describes how she is regularly asked by women who consult her, ‘How can you do this work?’ The first section of this paper explores the different meanings that this question can have for those women who ask it of their therapist. The second section considers the many different experiences that the author has in counselling conversations with women who have been subjected to child sexual abuse. The final section particularly focuses on those experiences of therapist distress that sometimes accompany this sort of work. A range of questions are provided in the hope that these will be helpful to other therapists.

  • Children, Trauma and Subordinate Storyline Development— Michael White Quick View

    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.

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

    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.

  • Debriefing After Traumatic Situations – Using Narrative Ideas in the Gaza Strip— Sue Mitchell Quick View

    This paper describes the use of narrative ideas in debriefing Palestinian adults and children in the Gaza strip after traumatic experiences. The author was working as a volunteer psychologist for Medecins Sans Frontieres in Gaza.

  • Healing, Politics and Community Action— Nacho Maldonaldo Quick View

    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.

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

    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.

  • Good Answers to Bad Invitations— Pam Burr Smith Quick View

    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.

  • Prisoner Rape Support Package: Addressing sexual assault in men’s prisons — David Denborough and the Preventing Prisoner Rape Project Quick View

    The following support package has been developed to try to provide assistance to men who have been raped or sexually assaulted in prison. It has been developed by the Preventing Prisoner Rape Project. This project, based at Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, Australia, is hoping to: raise awareness about the issue of rape in prisons; reach out and support prison rape survivors; support those workers both inside and outside prisons who are trying to deal with the issue of sexual violence in detention; and bring about appropriate law reform and changes to prison administration in order to prevent prisoner rape. This package relates to men’s experience. In the near future we hope to be able to develop a similar package for female survivors of prisoner rape. While currently in written form, we hope to make CDs and tapes of this information and distribute these within prisons. We would value your feedback as this is a continuing project.

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

    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 Quick View

    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.

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