2008: Issue 1

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in | 0 comments

2008-no-1Dear Reader,

G’day.

Here in Adelaide we’ve just endured the longest heatwave in recorded history and are finally revelling in some cooler weather. Our recent International Summer School of Narrative Practice has been completed and we are starting to look towards the 9th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference which is to be held here in November. We hope to see you here then.

We’re also looking forward to this year’s editions of this journal. Over the last few years there have been a number of special projects in the pipeline and these will be appearing in upcoming issues of this journal. This issue contains the culmination of one of these projects. We had received many requests for examples of ‘teaching exercises’ related to narrative practice. These requests came not only from teachers but also from practitioners who were wanting further ways of improving their skills and/or ways of exploring narrative practices with colleagues. In this issue we have included exercises from Russia, USA, Australia and Canada.

The journal begins however on a different topic: ‘Normality?’ The lead paper, by Jane Hutton and Kate Knapp is a delightful exploration of how conversations about normality and failure can lead in unexpected directions. The paper also describes a partnership between a therapist and visual artist. Over coming months we hope to be able to feature other creative examples between therapists, community workers and arts and cultural workers. The possibilities for collaboration seem endless.

The second section of this journal issue features two papers on the use of the written word in therapeutic consultations. Many Pentecost, from New Zealand, describes four different genres of writing used within counselling. The article itself is written in the form of the letter to the person consulting her. The paper following, by Adam Hahs, describes the use of greeting cards as therapeutic documents.

The journal is completed by the announcement of an exciting new project: ‘the found in translation project’. If you work in languages other than English or in bi-lingual or multicultural contexts you may be interested in participating in what promises to be a lively and generative international conversation. It has been initiated by Daria Kutuzova and Natalia Savelieva, from Russia, and Marcela Polanco, who is originally from Colombia and now living in the USA.

We’d also like to remind readers that we are currently interested in hearing from narrative practitioners about:

• stories of therapeutic or community or organisational practice that relate to environmental concerns;
• helpful tips, practices, principles and ideas that you are finding helpful in their work with couples;
• ways in which you may be using new technologies (email, facebook, myspace, skype, websites) in your work;
• ways in which you may be researching the effects and effectiveness of your work and/or your organisation’s work; and
• how narrative practices can be used by therapists in conversations about sexual practices, sexual difficulties and sexual pleasure.

We look forward to hearing from you! As always, we’d also welcome your feedback on any of the papers in this journal issue.

Warm regards,

Cheryl White


 

Showing all 3 results

  • Turning the Spotlight Back on the Normalising Gaze— Jane Hutton

    $9.90

    This paper explores notions of what it means to be ‘normal’ in modern Western culture, and the attendant relationships with normative judgement and the ‘normalising gaze’. One option for deconstructing these practices in everyday life – to both address the operations of power within normative judgement, and to address experiences of personal failure – is the ‘failure conversations map’ employed in narrative therapy. This map is outlined through one of the authors’ own application of it to her relationship with her daughter, as well as an exploratory use in some therapeutic conversations.

  • A Letter to Robyn: Explorations of the Written Word in Therapeutic Practice— Mandy Pentecost

    $9.90

    This paper explores the co-production of a literary therapy. It is drawn from research conducted by Mandy Pentecost which investigated the therapeutic writing practices employed in one narrative counselling relationship in which Robyn was the client and Mandy the counsellor. Four different genres of writing were engaged with during the counselling process: ‘homework’ questions, a therapeutic letter, a ‘rescued speech poem’, and a short story. These four genres are described in this paper which is written in an auto ethnographic form in the shape of a letter to Robyn.

  • Cards as Therapeutic Documents— Adam Hahs

    $5.50

    Therapeutic documents have been a feature of narrative practice for many years. In this paper, the author introduces a little-used type of therapeutic document, greeting cards. Examples include a ‘bon voyage’ card to worry, a celebration card due to the reduction of fear, and an anniversary card marking a year of ‘reduced sadness’. The author has found this type of brief therapeutic document to be a very effective part of the therapeutic engagement.

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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