2008: Issue 3

Posted by on Dec 10, 2016 in | 0 comments

2008-no-3Dear Reader,

Spring has arrived in Australia and we’re pleased to be able to bring you this issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.

It features what we think will be an influential paper by Yael Gershoni, Saviona Cramer and Tali Gogol-Ostrowsky entitled: ‘Addressing sex in narrative therapy: Talking with heterosexual couples about sex, bodies, and relationships’. The topic of sex therapy has been sorely neglected within the field of narrative practice and we suspect that this paper will spark considerable interest in creative, respectful and effective forms of narrative sex therapy. In future issues we wish to publish further papers on this topic. So, if you have therapeutic conversations about sex we would be very interested to hear your feedback on the paper by Yael, Saviona and Tali. We’d also be interested in receiving papers or reflections about the ways you use narrative ideas in talking about sex. Thanks!

The first section of this journal issue also includes a paper titled: Using the ‘failure conversations map’ with couples experiencing fertility problems. We hope this will be helpful to practitioners who are working in this realm.

The second section of the journal focuses on a key aspect of narrative practice: an ethic of circulation. This relates to ways in which therapists and community workers can document and circulate the skills and knowledges that people are using to address difficulties in their lives. Three papers are included here. The first, by David Newman, introduces the concept of ‘living narrative documents’. The second, by Ross Hernandez, shares ideas about ways of using voice recordings to facilitate ‘long-distance’ definitional ceremonies. And the third, by Sarah Lunn, describes work with children who are living with Sickle Cell Disease.

The third section of the journal includes two thoughtful papers which explore how research can influence practice. One of these relates to the meanings of sexualised coercion and gender in psychosocial group sessions for women. The other undertakes conversational analysis of externalising conversations.

As you can tell, this is a diverse journal issue! It includes papers from Canada, Israel, Australia, Denmark and England. There are so many interesting developments in narrative practice at this time. As always, we’d like to acknowledge both the authors and the readers/subscribers of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.

Warm regards,

Cheryl White


 

Showing all 7 results

  • Addressing Sex in Narrative Therapy: Talking with Heterosexual Couples about Sex, Bodies, and Relationships— Yael Gershoni, Saviona Cramer & Tali Gogol-Ostrowsky

    $9.90

    In talking with couples about sex, it is often assumed that storylines about sex also involve storylines about relationships and bodies. In our couple therapy work, however, we have found it significant to disentangle these storylines. By exploring separate storylines of relationship/intimacy, body image and sex, many new possibilities for narrative sex therapy with couples have emerged. This paper outlines these possibilities through sharing one example of narrative sex therapy with a heterosexual couple.

  • Using the ‘Failure Conversations Map’ with Couples Experiencing Fertility Problems— Razi Shachar

    $9.90

    This paper details work done with a heterosexual couple who were experiencing fertility problems. Drawing on the externalising conversations and failure conversations maps of narrative practice, the author worked with the couple to explore culturally-dominant norms around pregnancy and fertility, resulting in renewed options for parenthood. The paper discusses aspects of Michel Foucault’s notion of modern power in relation to normalising judgement, and details how the failure conversations map offers a response to this.

  • ‘Rescuing the Said from the Saying of It’: Living Documentation in Narrative Therapy— David Newman

    $9.90

    This article explores some creative ideas about using therapeutic documents in narrative practice. After a discussion of the theoretical background, important principles, and ethical issues in employing documents, the author gives examples of emails used to recruit a ‘care team’, and keeping care teams informed of developments in people’s lives. The main part of the paper explores the idea of ‘living documents’: therapeutic documents that are added to by various clients over time. This new departure in therapeutic documents is different from the existing practices of ‘archives’ held by various leagues – which tend to simply be collections of different individual’s documents; and of collective documents, which are usually produced by a group in a collective voice.

  • Reflections across Time and Space: Using Voice Recordings to Facilitate ‘Long-distance’ Definitional Ceremonies— Ross Hernandez

    $5.50

    This paper describes the author’s attempts to employ the definitional ceremony map of narrative therapy in contexts where outsider witnesses cannot be physically present. This was achieved through the use of a voice recorder, with the various stages of tellings and re-tellings being recorded and played for the outsider witnesses and clients, bringing about a ‘long-distance’ definitional ceremony which spans a gap in time and space.

  • Spreading the News: Coping Tricks from the Sickle Cell Clinic!— Sarah Lunn

    $5.50

    This paper describes how the narrative practice of ‘spreading the news’ was used with a group of children with Sickle Cell Disease and their families. A ‘day out’ was organised for all who attended a hospital paediatric clinic for Sickle Cell Disease. This day provided the opportunity for all to share and celebrate their unique knowledges and successes in living well alongside the disease. The narrative steps taken to enable this project are documented as the author describes her experiences and learnings from this day.

  • Questions of Agency: Explorations of the Meanings of Sexualised Coercion, Gender, and Participation in Group Sessions— Bodil Pedersen

    $9.90

    The view that participating in psychosocial support groups can be helpful to women exposed to gendered violence such as rape and attempted rape, has much support. Drawing on a ‘subject theory’ approach and an empirical project, this article discusses some aspects of group practices. Which aspects of participation in groups may be helpful and which problematic? And what may we learn from working with groups? The discussion takes in such general questions as the position of professional counsellors and other participants, pathologisation, and the possible transfer of experience from one context to another, as well as more specific aspects of the meanings of victimisation, gender, sexualised coercion, and group participation.

  • Externalising Questions: A Micro-analytic Look at Their Use in Narrative Therapy— Tom Strong

    $9.90

    This paper examines the narrative therapy practice of asking and answering externalisation questions. It looks at some of theoretical and clinical literature related to the use of these questions and then turns a micro-dynamic look at some examples of how such questions were asked and answered in the course of therapeutic dialogue. The focus is on learning from these analyses to enhance therapists’ ability to engage clients in collaborative and resourceful externalising conversations.

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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