2007: Issue 1

Posted by on Dec 10, 2016 in | 0 comments

2007-no-1Dear Reader,


We hope 2007 is treating you kindly so far.

The beginning of this year has been a busy one here at Dulwich Centre! Our International Summer School of Narrative Practice has just been held and participants in various training programs are still filling the building.

We are pleased here to introduce you to a range of papers by authors whom we have never published before. The field of narrative practice seems to be thriving and we thought an issue on ‘New Voices’ would be appropriate for the new year.

The first paper, by Anne Kathrine Løge from Norway, introduces an approach to working with divorced parents to ‘disarm the conflict’ and assist them in developing skills of collaboration in relation to parenting their children. The second piece, by Ron Nasim from Israel, describes innovative group work in a psychiatric day clinic. We are confident that readers will find both these papers very helpful as they describe effective and creative work in complex contexts.

The second section of the journal consists of two papers about ways of working with queer folk from religious backgrounds. Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett describes ground-breaking work with two Australian Muslim brothers, one of whom is gay. Her work provides new metaphors and approaches to the question of ‘coming out’ which are then taken up in the next paper by Charles Jasper. Charles’ piece conveys material generated from narratively informed interviews with gay men from Christian backgrounds in the USA. We trust that anyone interested in considerations of identity, religion, spirituality and/or sexuality will find these pieces resonant and challenging.

The third part of this edition features the first two interviews by Virginia Leake (who works here at Dulwich Centre Publications). These interviews took place on a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. They describe the hopeful work of two organisations, one Israeli, one Palestinian, which are dedicated to finding a way out of the cycles of violence in that part of the world.

Finally, the focus turns to Africa, and more particularly to Rwanda. It is now almost thirteen years since the genocide took place in Rwanda. We think our readers will be moved to hear of the work of organisations which are supporting survivors and continuing to seek justice.

It is a diverse collection from six different countries.

On a sadder note, we would like to mention here Emily Sued, who has for many years been a dear friend and colleague to us here at Dulwich Centre. Emily passed away recently. She will be dearly missed and always remembered.

Warm regards,

Cheryl White

Showing all 7 results

  • Conversations with Divorced Parents: Disarming the Conflict and Developing Skills of Collaboration— Anne Kathrine Løge


    Parents who have divorced often experience conflict-saturated accounts of each other and their relationship. This paper shares some narrative approaches which seek to help divorced parents ‘disarm the conflict’ and develop skills of collaboration. This work involves exploring each parent’s preferred values and purposes with linguagrams, inviting divorced parents to act as outsider witnesses for each other, and inviting in other divorced parents to act as outsider witnesses for the parents seeking therapy.

  • ‘A Different Story’: Narrative Group Therapy in a Psychiatric Day Centre— Ron Nasim


    This paper describes a narrative group therapy model applied in a psychiatric day centre. The group was conceived as a form of definitional ceremony, in which a participant is invited to share an account of a unique outcome that happened to them recently, while the other members serve as outsider witnesses to this development. A detailed example of a therapeutic conversation about depression, and the outsider witness group’s responses, shows how these generative conversations can be held in a psychiatric setting. A second example of this work details how outsider witness group reflections can be used to form the basis of an alternative kind of ‘discharge letter’. Finally, the paper discusses significant dilemmas arising from the work, including how to discern which subordinate story-lines to develop from the many entry points available.

  • Azima Ila Hayati – an Invitation in to My Life: Narrative Conversations about Sexual Identity— Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett


    This paper describes a therapeutic conversation with a young gay Muslim man and his brother which was shaped by the definitional ceremony metaphor. Through deconstructing ‘games of truth’ in relation to attitudes to homosexuality and the process of ‘coming out’, space was created for this young man and his brother to realign their relationship. In the midst of the current hostile climate affecting all Arab Muslim families, this paper describes the story of two brothers and their concept of loyalty.

  • Queer Lives and Spiritual Leanings: Gay Men Talking about How We Stayed Connected, or Got Re-connected, to Spiritual Practices and Religious Values under Challenging Circumstances— Charles Jasper


    How do queer people stay connected or get reconnected to spiritual practices and values when the religious communities they grew up may have been powerfully rejecting of gay, lesbian or queer lives? This paper includes the stories of a number of gay men who grew up in Christian communities and describes their journeys in relation to matters of spirituality. The author also provides a framework that could be used to structure similar explorations with lesbian, bisexual, transgender or other queer folk.

  • Responding to Genocide – Stories from Rwanda


    It is now almost thirteen years since the genocide took place in Rwanda. We think our readers will be moved to hear of the work of organisations which are supporting survivors and continuing to seek justice.


    Contained in this pack are four articles:

    A Small Light as We Walk This Long Road: The Work of Ibuka— Kaboyi Benoit

    Kaboyi Benoit is Executive Director of Ibuka, the national survivors’ organisation in Rwanda. In the following interview, he describes how Ibuka supports the survivors of the Rwandan genocide, seeks justice for those who were killed, and honours their memory. This interview took place in Kigali, Rwanda. Cheryl White and David Denborough were the interviewers.

    Intimacy and Betrayal in the Story of Genocide— Rakiya Omaar

    Rakiya Omaar is the author of the book Rwanda: Death, despair and defiance and co-founder of the human rights organisation African Rights. In this interview, Rakiya provides a broader context in which to understand the genocide in Rwanda and describes the continuing efforts that are taking place to come to terms with these events. The interviewers were Cheryl White and David Denborough.

    Gift for Life: From Researching to Responding to Women Who Were Raped during the Rwandan Genocide— Elizabeth Rugege

    Gift for Life is a project supporting women who survived sexual violence during the Rwandan genocide. This interview describes this work, its history and the thinking that informs it.

    Reflections on 'Stories from Rwanda'— Yishai Shalif and Makungu Akinyela

    Two letters of reflection in response to the ‘stories from Rwanda’ articles.


  • Breaking the Silences: Acknowledging Our Own Stories, Talking with Our Families and the Nation: An interview with Yehuda Shaul— Virginia Leake


    Breaking the Silence is an organisation of young Israelis who are publicly sharing the stories and images of what they were involved with when serving in the military in the occupied Palestinian Territories. Their work is contributing to debate within Israeli society and their exhibitions have also travelled the world, raising awareness of the consequences of occupation wherever it is taking place. This interview describes the different sorts of silences – personal, familial, national – that act to sustain occupation and the work that is required to change this. The following piece will be relevant not only to those with an interest in the Middle East, but also for those working with the military, ex-military and their families, and for those working with people who are trying to come to terms with what they may have participated with in the past. The interview took place in Jerusalem. The interviewer was Virginia Leake, who works at Dulwich Centre Publications.

  • Lighting a Candle… Finding a Way Forward: The Work of ‘the Way’: The Palestinian Organisation for Development and Democracy— Virginia Leake


    This interview took place in Ramallah, in the Palestinian Territories. It describes the work of a new Palestinian organisation The Way: The Palestinian Organisation for Development and Democracy which seeks to build a Palestinian civil society and achieve an independent Palestine through non-violent resistance. This interview traces the history of this organisation’s work, the challenges being faced, the projects they are developing, and a philosophy that engenders hope. The interviewer was Virginia Leake, who works for Dulwich Centre Publications. Angel Yuen and Ruth Pluznick were also present.


  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?


    Cal Albright
    Kermode Friendship Center
    Terrace, BC

    • 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.


  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


    • 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.