2006: Issue 4

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Finding ways to respond to those who have enacted violence and abuse against others has long been a challenge to the field of family therapy and community work – and it continues to be. This journal issue explores some of these challenges.

It begins with interviews with Nancy Gray and Amanda Reddick, and documents from Afro-Canadian communities in Nova Scotia, Canada. These pieces describe individual work, group work and community engagement, and convey how a team of workers, from differing cultural backgrounds, are working in partnership with local communities to respond to men’s violence.

These pieces are then followed by an interview with Tod Augusta-Scott, also from Canada, about his work with men who have enacted violence in intimate relationships.

Then the journal changes tack, with a paper from New Zealand by Julie Sach entitled ‘Conversations in groups with women about their experiences of using anger, abuse & violence’. Talking about women’s use of anger and violence is a complicated topic, and we hope to invite you into considering these complexities.

The final paper relating to responding to violence is by Mimi Kim, a Korean-American woman, and founding member of Incite: Women of Color against Violence, an organisation in the USA which is committed to addressing violence against women while also questioning and challenging the violence of the state. Mimi’s paper ‘Alternative interventions to violence: Creative interventions’ poses significant questions and dilemmas about ways forward in addressing family, intimate and other forms of interpersonal violence.

It is a thoughtful, challenging and hopeful collection of papers and we look forward to hearing from readers about your views, perspectives and stories on these issues.

The second part of this journal consists of a paper on a different, yet similarly important issue – ways of understanding and responding to drug and alcohol ‘addiction’. The paper ‘Deconstructing addiction & reclaiming joy’ consists of extracts from discussions on the Deconstructing Addiction League E-list. It includes correspondence between members, theoretical and practical considerations, celebrations, a virtual interview and definitional ceremony, as well as the first story in what is hoped to become an archive of practices of joy and connection – free from substances. It is, we believe, a joyful and rigorous piece. And again we look forward to your comments.

As this is the final journal issue for this year, we now look back over 2006. It has been a full year. Perhaps the paper that has attracted the most attention and enthusiasm has been ‘The Tree of Life’ by Ncazelo Ncube, published in the first journal issue of the year. Since then, it has been taken up and applied in a wide range of contexts and countries, and we continue to hear delightful feedback about it. As we send this edition of the journal to the printer, a number of us are about to travel to Uganda to meet up with Ncazelo and her colleagues who are now trying to support local workers in responding to the violence that has been occurring in that part of the world.

Thank you for your readership and support during 2006. We look forward to joining you again next year!

Warm regards,

Cheryl White

Showing all 7 results

  • Responding to Men’s Violence: An interview with Nancy Gray


    In their work with men who have enacted violence against their partners, a team of workers at New Start, in Halifax, Canada, draws upon the metaphor of ‘migration of identity’ to assist men to move away from violence and domination and towards different forms of masculinity. In this thoughtful and reflective two-part interview, Nancy Gray describes some of the key ideas that inform their work. The first part of the interview conveys how the migration of identity map and the re-authoring conversations map can be put to work with men who are violent. It also conveys some of the unexpected discoveries that emerge as a result. The interviewer was David Denborough.

  • Documents of Knowledge About Violence from African Nova Scotian Communities


    Members of North End Halifax and East Preston, two African Nova Scotian communities, have been meeting together to talk about violence and ways of addressing it in their context, and in their ways. Included here are key documents that have been created from these conversations.

    These include:

    •   ‘Some key knowledge and ideas about violence in African Nova Scotian communities’ from women representing North End Halifax and East Preston
    •   ‘Principles in relation to responding to violence in African Nova Scotian Communities’
    •   ‘Men speaking out to prevent abuse’ & ‘A Brother’s food for thought’ from the men of the communities of East Preston and North Preston.

    These documents have been circulated throughout the communities to spark further conversation and action on these issues.

  • Caring about Violence and Our Communities— Amanda Reddick


    Developing meaningful partnerships and relationships between workers responding to violence and communities affected by these issues requires considerable care and thoughtfulness. In this piece, Amanda Reddick describes some of the thinking that is informing the community engagement she is involved in and the histories upon which this is based.

  • Talking with Men Who Have Used Violence in Intimate Relationships: An interview with Tod Augusta-Scott


    Tod Augusta-Scott works with men who have used violence in their intimate relationships. This interview considers a number of key themes in this work, including ways of inviting men to consider the effects of their violence; ways of exploring expressions of shame and remorse; the importance of developing alternative story-lines of respect and responsibility; approaches to group work; and the use of documentation. The interview also provides Tod with the opportunity to reflect upon his own work practices and performance of masculinity. The interviewer was David Denborough.

  • Conversations in Groups with Women About Their Experiences of Using Anger, Abuse and Violence— Julie Sach


    This paper considers gendered constructions of anger and how women’s experiences of using anger, abuse and violence may be shaped by these. It also examines the contribution of difficult life experiences like trauma and abuse in shaping women’s anger responses. The article describes an evolving approach to group work with women that seeks to address some of these complexities.


    Free article:

    Talking About Women’s Violence: An editor’s note


  • Alternative Interventions to Violence: Creative Interventions— Mimi Kim


    Are the solutions to violence against women and children to be found via state interventions – through the police, prosecution and imprisonment? Or are alternative, grassroots, communitybased responses required? These are questions being asked by many women of colour in the USA. Creative Interventions is an organisation based in Oakland, California, which seeks to empower families and communities to resolve family, intimate partner and other forms of interpersonal violence. It is hoped that this piece will spark conversations about ways of supporting community initiatives to address violence against women. Practitioners and community members working on similar issues in other countries are invited to contribute their ideas and stories.

  • Deconstructing Addiction and Reclaiming Joy— The Deconstructing Addiction League


    This paper consists of extracts from discussions on the Deconstructing Addiction League E-list. It includes correspondence between members, theoretical and practical considerations, celebrations, a virtual interview and definitional ceremony, as well as the first story in what is hoped to become an archive of practices of joy and connection – free from substances. This collection also demonstrates the ethic of community that is central to the League’s work.


  1. “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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?


    Cal Albright
    Kermode Friendship Center
    Terrace, BC

  4. Thank you for this overview of Narrative Therapy. I am returning to practice after some time away, and these reminders are timely and appreciated.

  5. 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


    • 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.


  6. Thank you for sharing your insights. This has been very enlightening as a student studying post-grad social work. Recently my tutorial group was discussing how professionals often use their interpretation and that clients may not get to see how some professionals interpret their stories, in this way many things can be missed especially what the client sees as being important.