This journal issue has been quite some time in the making. There have been so many conversations that have shaped the papers that are included here. Focusing this year on the theme, ‘Responding to Trauma’, has meant witnessing more than usual the violence, trauma and abuse that is a part of life for many people. It has also meant coming to know about inspiring work in different parts of the world, from individuals and organisations who are dedicated to responding to trauma in ways that make a difference. Stories of this work are included here. We hope that these stories will spark conversations in your own context and lead to continuing creativity in your own work.
Some of the questions that are considered in this issue include:
• As therapists, how can we respond when natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, result in hundreds of thousands of people being evacuated to the city in which we live? What role can we play?
• When working with children who have endured significant trauma, how can we ensure our conversations do not contribute to re-traumatisation? How can we provide an alternative territory of identity for these children to stand in as they begin to give voice to their experiences?
• What occurs behind the electric fences of Australia’s immigration detention centres? And what can a counsellor do who works within them?
• How can we remember the life and work of Simon Wiesenthal, who died while this publication was being put together? And what difference can this make to our work?
• When receiving and documenting the testimonies of those who have been subjected to trauma, violence and abuse, how can this be done in ways that are not re-traumatising and that, instead, contribute to redressing the effects of trauma in the person’s life? How can these testimonies then be used for broader purposes?
• When working with religious families who have experienced significant trauma, how can text and spiritual practice be a part of the healing process?
• When working in a context like the Acid Survivors Foundation in Bangladesh, how can narrative ideas assist to unearth and thicken the values that shape our work?
• When one’s work is occurring in a context of occupation, and the trauma that people are experiencing is not past or post, but is continuing, how can workers respond?
• How can narrative ideas be used to shape therapeutic gatherings for Indigenous women?
• How can we move away from thin descriptions of resilience that attribute success to something inside an individual alone, and instead in our work develop rich descriptions of resilience?
• How can we assist survivors of political violence, war and terror to speak the unspeakable?
• How can narrative ideas assist us to walk alongside women on their journeys to reclaim their lives from the effects of domestic violence.
The papers included here are from Bangladesh, Israel, USA, UK, The Palestinian Territories & Australia. In the second part of this journal, two thorough practice-based papers are also included. The first relates to work with women with physical differences and disabilities, and the second relates to work with people whose lives are affected by substance use.
It is with a sense of anticipation that we send this collection to you. It’s been quite a process to put it together and we are looking forward to hearing your responses.
Cheryl White & David Denborough
P.S. We would like to acknowledge the following people who have acted as readers and reviewers of papers in this journal: Norma Akamatsu, Chris Behan, Walter Bera, Pennie Blackburn, Maggie Carey, Anthony Corballis, John Cramer, Saviona Cramer, David Epston, Gary Foster, Yael Gershoni, Andrew Groome, Vanessa Jackson, Zoy Kazan, Natasha Kis-Sines, Tracey Laszloffy, Rick Maisel, David Moltz, Ron Nasim, David Newman, Margaret Newmark, Keith Oulton, Amaryll Perlesz, Amanda Redstone, Colin Riess, Mary Pekin, Ruth Pluznik, Salome Raheim, Bruria Rosenwaks, Shona Russell, Margaret Ryan, Yishai Shalif, Olga Silverstein, Jane Speedy, John Stillman, Gaye Stockell, Manja Visschedijk, Ruth Walter, Kaethe Weingarten, Michael White, John Winslade, Angel Yuen, Jeff Zimmerman.
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We would like to acknowledge the Kaurna people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Land on which Dulwich Centre stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders of the Kaurna Nation, both past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.