2009: Issue 1

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in | 0 comments

2009-no-1Dear Reader,

Compiling the first journal issue of each year, and sending it to the printer, is a significant ritual. It always signals new ideas and directions. It links us with the authors of the papers, and also all the subscribers. As we write these editorials, we think of you, the reader, and whatever context you may work within.

Last year was momentous for Dulwich Centre with the passing of Michael White and Flora Tuhaka. Now, each time that we have the opportunity to publish new, creative directions of narrative practice, we find ourselves looking both backwards and forwards. We find ourselves recalling the origins of narrative therapy and the early enthusiasm of Michael, David Epston and others. We find ourselves remembering Flora Tuhaka who, along with the others from the Just Therapy Team in New Zealand, brought such challenge and innovation to the field in relation to issues of culture. At the same time, we are celebrating the creativity which is currently occurring within the field. This journal issue vibrantly showcases this.

It begins with a paper by a young feminist practitioner, Holly Loveday, who is using narrative practices to transform a women’s refuge to become a place of celebration of women’s stories. It then includes a piece from Peter Ord and Emma about their use of a cartoon as a way to gain influence over a problem.

The second section of this journal issue focuses on re-membering practices with elders. We are delighted to be able to include papers by Bobbi Rood and Mark Trudinger on these issues. There have been relatively few published papers about the use of narrative therapy with older people. These two papers seek to redress this.

The third section ‘Pastoral narrative practice’, includes two descriptions of narrative therapy about people’s relationship to Christianity. Josie McSkimming and Kim Barker consider the politics of religion, fundamentalism and spirituality within their therapeutic practice.

Finally, our attention turns to a paper from Diane Clare in which she reflects with honesty and thoughtfulness on her work with Jay, a woman who engaged in acts of extreme self-harm, and who took her own life.

This is a collection of thoughtful and at times profound papers from practitioners from England, South Africa, USA and Australia. We would like to thank all the authors for their contributions. As always, we will welcome your feedback.

We hope 2009 is treating you kindly so far.

Warm regards,

Cheryl White


 

Showing all 7 results

  • From Oppression, Resistance Grows— Holly Loveday

    $9.90

    This paper explores the author’s use of narrative practices with women experiencing domestic abuse, and looks at how, despite living in a broader environment of secrecy and threat, women’s voices and stories can be honoured and a place of refuge can become one of laughter and celebration. The paper explores women’s reflections on their experiences of counselling and group work, examples of externalising conversations, therapeutic letters, and conversations employing the migration of identity metaphor.

  • The Therapeutic Use of a Cartoon as a Way to Gain Influence over a Problem— Peter Ord & Emma

    $5.50

    This paper describes how Emma used a cartoon in therapy to gain a perspective and influence over a problem in her life. It has been written in collaboration with Emma, with additional first-hand accounts by her and others. The purpose of submitting the cartoon for publication is to provide a testimony to the value Emma placed on comedy. An example of this was how Emma imagined a cartoon could portray a problem and the process of gaining influence over it, and this paper focuses on a cartoon we developed as a consequence of such a perspective. The paper begins with the background and context in which the cartoon was created and then describes the effects for all concerned.

  • A Time to Talk: Re-membering Conversations with Elders— Bobbi Rood

    $9.90

    This paper describes using various narrative practices with elderly residents in a community care home. The author first reviews some of the historical influences of work with elderly people on narrative therapy, particularly the legacy of Barbara Myerhoff’s work on life histories and performance. Following this are different examples of outcomes of engaging in narrative conversations with elderly people including a collective document, poetry, and excerpts from re-membering conversations.

  • Remembering Joan: Re-membering Practices as Eulogies and Memorials— Mark Trudinger

    $9.90

    The article discusses the re-membering practices of collective practices such as eulogies. The document is a collection of stories from some of the staff and residents at Grafton Aged Care Home about Joan, one of the first residents of the home.

  • Is It Good to Be ‘Grey’ in the Therapy Room?: The Politics of Religion and Religious Culture in the Therapeutic Context— Josie McSkimming

    $9.90

    This paper explores some dilemmas, ethical considerations, and ideas for therapeutic practice in contexts where clients may be experiencing some questions in relation to religion, specifically Christianity. Through engaging with Foucault’s notions of ‘subjugated knowledges’, ‘projects of genealogies’, ‘the Gaze’, and ‘power/knowledge’, the author suggests options for nuanced identity projects of reclamation in contexts of power and subjugation.

  • Opening up a Crack: An Account of Narrative Practice in the Context of Pastoral Therapy— Kim Barker

    $9.90

    This paper explores some of the possibilities and challenges of therapeutic conversations with people who hold strong religious beliefs and/or find themselves under the influence of oppressive religious discourse. With particular reference to one woman’s therapy journey, it shows how the articulation and deconstruction of one’s ‘belief story’, in the absence of any prescriptive or proscriptive constraints, can render visible various possible entry points into alternative storylines.

  • Snakes and Ladders: The Ups and Downs of a Self-harming Lifestyle— Diane Clare

    $9.90

    This paper describes work with Jay, a woman who, after experiencing abuse as a child, engaged in acts of extreme self-harm in later life. The work involved a range of health care staff acting as a reflecting team, using outsider-witness practices of narrative therapy. To ensure that this apparently high number of resources used could be justified within the context of budget-conscious health services, the author developed the idea of clearly calculating and reporting on the ‘economix’ of the approach. The article also outlines the practice of ‘bookmarking’ with clients, which became a pivotal practice. The paper concludes with a poignant and reflective postscript given the tragic event of Jay’s death at her own hand.

1,801 Comments

  1. This 3rd module of the introductory course has explained many things I didn’t understanding before in my more casual reading about Narrative Therapy.
    *Using Living Documents for “Assisting people to find their language through the language of others” is an idea that would work great with the youth I work with. They are not accustomed to creating original work, they use the internet to find ideas for any academic assignment and prefer to have a “correct” answer that already exists instead of trying to think of unique solutions with their own set of knowledges. I think that by having a living document with other youth who have contributed to it readily available for them to peruse, would help scaffold their own voices. I think seeing how what others wrote helped them would reassure them that their writing about their own skills and knowledge and experiences will not be for nothing: it will help other too.
    *I think I will try to encourage the students to create a text like this, perhaps about how they got through bullying, or how to navigate social media in a healthier way, or whatever concerns they think would be best addressed. Reading “Holding Our Heads Up: Sharing stories not stigma after losing a loved one to suicide” was a heartbreakingly beautiful example of sharing skills and knowledge used to get through painful experiences.
    *I never thought of writing letters to recap a session, and I like this idea, especially the reminder that we need to negotiate how the letter will be used so it just doesn’t remain unopened or in the garbage.
    *” The Narratives in A Suitcase story” was great, as I mentioned in comments on the previous module, I am very interested in the relationship between NT and Arts Therapy. Metaphors reminds me a lot of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (which I am NOT well read on yet), is there a connection between ACT & NT too? Taking the suitcase metaphor further by Mapping of the Journey and having a Story Circle (which brings in outsider witness practices right?) ensures their stories are truly enriched and thickened and help others as well as themselves.
    *Finally, I knew nothing about Outsider Witness before. I always believed “It takes a village to raise a child”, and I guess, as is quoted at the end of the article “It takes an audience to solve a problem”. I will need to practice this much more, as I never thought of therapy in this way (I’m new to counselling) but I love that it creates accountability, creates a link to “real life”, that the preferred story becomes more authentic, gets us out of our head, and gives a feeling of being helpful.
    Leah, Canadian in Cairo.

  2. HI I saw it on facebook last night and have shared it there and to twitter. It is beautiful and will learn the words. thank you

  3. Two things really stood out to me. 1) White’s discussion on externalizing voices associated with schizophrenia – unpacking their authority, and diminishing their power – this resonates with my work. 2) the Introducing Sugar and Lateral Violence scripts are amazing and I’d like to try that forum with the problem of methamphetamine in my hometown.

  4. There was so much to celebrate in this session. Mr & Mrs aids the Mt Elgan Self Help stories of the children and the creation of a solar panel. The learning to celebrate with traditional dance. The stories from the indigenous communities were and are inspirational. I am learning so much from these sessions. Thank you to all who have contributed.

  5. Thank you for these amazing stories and listening to Tileah. What a great way to encourage the remembering of a rich culture and to enable the positive stories to be revealed that allows healing. It helps this non indigenous parent of indigenous children/grandchildren to have tools to build restoration, healing & pride in my family & the wider community I work with. Thanks again

  6. Each text was a piece of a puzzle building a bigger picture for me of what Narrative Therapy is.

    The PPT has helpful sample questions for me to start practicing the different language practices of NT so I can become more seamless and natural in this way of thinking and speaking.

    “Sugar” gave a great tip about who the group is culturally and individually. Giving questions beforehand scaffolds confidence for participants to develop and ask their own curiosity questions when the time is right. I also liked how “drama” therapy through role play was shown. In the PPT art therapy was also mentioned “Could you draw a picture of this problem for me?”. I am personally curious to learn more about how drama/art/play therapy can work within the Narrative Therapy philosophy/framework.

    The Commonly-asked-questions gave even more chances to practice with words and ways of speaking/thinking that can give the problem a living form.

    This chapter of the course solidifies for me that I stumbled onto a practice that really suits my ways of thinking and I am looking forward to learning so much more.

  7. It was very helpful for me to picture changing the adjectives people use to describe themselves (and therefore their problems) into Nouns. Even proper nouns through personification, like Mr Mischief, or Ms AIDS, help externalize the problem for both adults and children and lesson some of the personal shame and/or cultural blame that often stigmatizes many problems.

    Also helpful was realizing we can help develop richer alternative stories by externalizing positive perceptions too.

    Finding other metaphors to use rather than combative or conflict related metaphors was a good reminder that there are plenty of ways to find and describe unique outcomes by looking for the ways the problem was escaped/revised/tamed/ etc…

  8. hi All.
    am Indian American, not born in the US but in India. America is now my country and my childrens, I hope we could have an anthem where no none have to kneel, but stand and sing with pride and joy as this one.

    best wishes
    Peace

  9. Hi course-mates. I am Canadian writing from Egypt. I work with adolescents in a school setting.

    When academic/career counselling my focus has always been that the students are the architects of their own lives and can use their existing expertise to work through the choices they are contemplating. Narrative therapy fits right into that as I am learning to be a social/emotional counsellor as well.

    Question: If we decide at the end of this course that we would like the certificate, can we pay and do the tasks then, or must we be on the certificate track from the beginning?

    Thanks, looking forward to learning with you all!

    • Hi Leah, You can do it either way 🙂 It’s fine to just work your way through it all now and then decide at the end if you want to attain the certificate. We hope you find the course helpful.

  10. Just uploaded the essay. Thanks to the Dulwich Centre for walking me through my first Narrative Therapy experience/learning. I will definitely be returning to your site and courses in the future.

    Cheers

    Shane

  11. Between the lines of every story, there is nothingness. Who are we if we drop the stories we carry around about ourselves? This is a scary question. So it would seem understandable that we do not easily drop our old worn out stories.

    Narrative therapy is a tool to help re-write for ourselves an alternative story line in which we can ultimately feel reborn. The space we occupy becomes bigger and greater through the development of alternative stories. By engaging our imagination, we begin to see ourselves in a new light and with a new purpose. We awaken to ourselves through a process that is both cathartic and transformative.

    B.A. Beal, Colorado

  12. HI,
    Just wondering about the Certification for the Aboriginal Narrative Practice course and how it is progressing. Thanks 🙂
    Angele James

  13. Hi all,
    I work at an AOD agency supporting clients whose children have Child Protection involvement. Some of my clients identify themselves as Aboriginal, and I want to know more about working with the client cohort. Look forward to learning a lot from this course!

  14. To me, ‘critical thinking’ means filtering ideas, situations and way of thinking before taking up those as mine. It allows me to take my own perspective and to interpret the object in my own way.

    As a relatively new comer to the Australian community, I observe and hear very different things from my own culture. This background helps me to stay awake in doing critical thinking instead of taking everything for granted or as natural.

  15. Hello from Texas. I appreciate the information in this chapter, especially moving from naming and connecting to taking a position and making a value statement. I can see how all four stages of externalizing really begin to empower the client. I am most excited to help the client move toward taking a position in regard to the problem and establishing their values in relation to the problem. Great teaching. Really enjoying this course.

  16. I am Quandamooka woman and a counselor and I look forward to doing this course! Narrative therapy is a beautiful resource for mob, can’t to learn more.

  17. Hello from Texas! I am excited to begin training in narrative therapy. I first became interested in narrative therapy while in Grad school – I naturally gravitated to it as a former English teacher. We are full of stories, some good and some challenging, but if we “read” our stories with patience and compassion there is an opportunity for growth.

    I am trained as an EMDR therapist. After using that modality for several years, I have become inclined to see it as too harsh and intense for survivors of trauma. I have seen many successes with EMDR, but there is such a risk involved with staying within “the window of tolerance.” What appears to be true for most, if not all, who suffer with PTSD is that thoughts and beliefs become internalized to the point of shame, anxiety, fear, etc. So, the concept of externalizing is what most interests me about narrative therapy. Externalizing feelings, negative beliefs, and harmful thoughts or behaviors seems paramount to understanding our wounds and let the healing begin.

  18. Before studying this chapter, I had already searched around to find details of “Tree of Life”. While, found more about it that lead me to implement one in my own practices. Thanks for sharing all these and look forward to gain more experiences for it.

  19. I found the practice of outside witness amazing and powerful when have someone with similar experience and witness the therapeutic process. I believe that not only the person consulting therapy being helped in the process. The outsider witness is being helped too, that may further strengthen their beliefs. Amazing

  20. This section made me understand the great benefits i received from taking my family to the Bouverie Centre in Melbourne for family therapy. In the sessions i had there i was at first very surprised by sitting in a room in which there were five therapists behind one-way glass in another room as i talked with my family to one therapist in the room with me. The feedback i received from the therapists gave me a tremendous amount of energy and i felt very loved in a way i had never experienced in therapy. It was such a support and somehow an honour to be the focus of so many people’s attention at one time. I went for four sessions and came away with new ways of thinking about my family as well as pointers for how to re-imagine my history in a new positive light.

    I also found the suitcase project very inspiring and am thinking of how to adapt it to the people i work with in the “disability” field. Many clients come to the centre who have very limited ways of expressing their individual stories or any way to communicate what their lives are beyond the centre in which they find themselves. Small books that are sometimes made of “who they are” are usually treasured with great pride by the clients who show eagerness to have that focus on themselves and to be able to share that. The suitcases would provide a tool to develop that reservoir of information in a more sensory, more delightful and hopefully enjoyable form in opposition to a “book” which sometimes seems depersonalising and formal, almost negatively bureaucratic.

  21. Anita from Waikato in New Zealand. I have been part of an on-line mum/step mum community for about 9 years now. While it isn’t set up to run on narrative therapy principles, a big part of the support offered is about challenging the narrative. It’s about helping each question our presumptions and assumptions. This community has evolved to become a group of friends committed to ‘owning their sh*t’ and becoming people who challenge their own narratives, along with supporting our friends to do the same. I think there can be a great value in exploring on-line communities and support groups. There is always a danger of these groups becoming echo chambers and spaces where people become more entrenched in their narratives, narratives that are perhaps not serving them as well as they could. Looking at how we can embrace narrative therapy principles and practices in an on-line community is a big part of how I want to develop my practice.

  22. What a wonderful alternative discourse, inviting conversation around such meaningful and memorable experiences. We are too often caught in the web of popularist paradigms and this gentle approach to grief offers a message of hope for us all. Thank you.

  23. Gelmar C.
    Tampa, FL (USA)

    I particularly enjoyed the Externalising – Commonly asked questions (Maggie Carey & Shona Russell) resource. It provided practical guidelines for common problems that I have experienced during therapy. Externalizing truly brings the client into an equal position with the therapist to consult and work together against the problem.

    I plan to externalize more problems with children in my practice who are experiencing ADHD, depression, and anxiety. I believe that it will allow them to trust the process further, understand that they can make changes/have power over the problem, and collaborate with others at school and home.

  24. I am very happy to participate in this online course. I love narrative therapy, I am from Chile and I study at PRANAS Chile.
    This course gives me more breadth of learning and I resonate with the words “thin description”. I think about the importance of a story being thick, because that gives strength to an alternative story to the problem and to a limited identity of oneself.
    I think that if we promote alternative stories, we can change people and the world. Yes, I have a hopeful view of life, but it is because I have known the power of narrative practices in people.
    I work with children victims of sexual abuse and abuse. For me it is still hopeful in the dark, it is to make them shine with different stories, love stories, stories of care, protection and happy moments. Thanks to these stories, we all advance to a new and welcoming territory.

  25. As a Social Prescriber I frequently work with people who see themselves as in crisis, overwhelmed and stuck. I am beginning to recognise how I might use a narrative approach to support my clients to identify their own current stories and support them in co-authoring new and/or different ones, knowing that they are not the problem, the problem is the problem.

    • Yes, this resonated with me also. I was looking for another approach to support clients who feel helpless or stuck – the Narrative metaphor can help people explore, develop and live alternative stories to ‘thin’or problem oriented stories! This approach is a client centred approach which helps us to see people have more than one story – rather there are multiple possibilities, all impacted by time, history and social, structural and cultural constructs. Thinking about stories in this way makes hope and exciting opportunities possible. It makes it possible to see people as more than limited, thin labels, stories or problems. It makes it possible to see the exceptions to the dominant stories, and to challenge these dominant stories with alternative story-lines that open up gaps in peoples otherwise problem-saturated stories. These alternatives can then be richly described to help create real and preferred possibilities as people re-author new and preferred stories for their lives.

      Thank you for this free course!
      Regards, from Sydney, Australia

  26. Thank you for this excellent online course!

    I’m enjoying thinking about the ways that we story our lives, and how narrative therapy can open up opportunities to re-author our lives in ways that are more multi-faceted, complex, and full of possibility than the tired thin storylines that can sometimes dominate the ways we make meaning of the world and our experiences. For myself, this chapter had me thinking about a dominant storyline in my family about how I’m not sporty or athletic. It’s a story that has gotten in the way of me relishing movement, and working through the resources in this chapter had me thinking about all the moments from alternative plot lines, where I have been physically adept, and getting excited about uncovering the subordinate plot lines of my life, and the ways that they may better serve me now, and into the future. I’m looking forward to learning more, and thinking about how I can integrate learning from this course into my work as a social work educator. I’m keen to get creative about what narrative ideas look like in a community context.

    Tanya, Whangārei, Aotearoa New Zealand

  27. Thank you so much for this course. I uploaded my assessment and I hope to learn more in this new field/life of Narrative Therapy.

  28. Thank you for the course. I just uploaded my assignment.

  29. I entered into collaboration with a client who was experiencing auditory hallucinations with multiple voices constantly talking to herself and interfering with her ordinary routines. I and the client together named each voice like ‘grumpy (client’s name)’ and ‘risky (client’s name) and discussed their impacts on the client’s functioning. That allowed my client to put those voices under control and contributed to regaining the custody of her child. This surely empowered her and got back the sense of ownership for her own life.

    It seems that the sense of entitlement as a professional can work as a barrier for the collaboration with clients.

    What I think is important for collaborative approach with clients is to do reflexive practice. By reflecting on my own thoughts and feelings with clients, I can avoid going into the sense of entitlement and can enter a genuine partnership with clients.

  30. what particularly intrigued me was the idea surrounding connection between dominant narratives that individuals hold and social/structural aspects. It also reminded me that even the concept of family can be changed with different ideas and cultures affecting us.

    The history shows that as human beings, we are allowed to open to new narratives, not stuck in the current dominant stories. This seems to lead us to social movement seeking justice and human rights.

  31. In my original culture, people are not familiar with the concept of therapy, however, still have a lot of trauma in their history and cultural oppression. This collective way of working with narratives appear beneficial for my people’s group to overcome their dominant narrative.

    I am currently making effort to connect to a narrative practitioner in my own culture for a possible new project. I hope this goes well and I can contribute to the recovery of my community.

  32. As an AOD Clinician offering counselling sessions for those with substance dependence issues, the Certificate of Abstinence or Reduction can be utilised to acknowledge their efforts and achievements. It might be possible to change the colour of the certificate depending on the number of days of their maintenance of abstinence or reduction.

    The idea I got from this lesson is that I could create documents for my clients or encourage them to keep the journal of their change and include other people surrounding them. I would have to discuss matters in relation to confidentiality and organisational policies, however, can offer the chance to my clients at least.

  33. The PPT file regarding the statement of position was identified very helpful with some good example sentences I could use with my family. structured and well-guiding.

    I would be able to externalise my issue in relation to watching too many dramas on Netflix these days and then explore its impact on my life along with how it has impacted other people as well.

    As the material indicated, externalising the problem would enable more thick and rich description, and distant myself from the issue.

  34. I would describe the narrative metaphor as a medium to create meanings of our identity and life. We allocate particular meanings to events, people and situations to be aligned with the story we hold for ourselves. It is noteworthy that our stories are also affected by social and structural elements.

    I like the possibility of re-authoring that narrative approach may offer. As a clinical social worker, I would say that the narrative space allows my individual clients to reflect on their own way of interpreting their identity and to reconstruct it with their strengths, resilience and competencies. Collective identities might also benefit from group re-authoring process.

  35. Thank you for providing access to narrative therapy. I enjoyed the challenges presented by the course and look forward to further training. My essay has been submitted.
    peace,
    Lisa

  36. Thankyou, fantastic intro to Narrative Therapy and looking forward to using this therapy in community

  37. Problems are products of culture, history, indoctrination; not people. When it is understood that people’s relationships with problems are shaped by history and culture, it is possible to further explore how gender, race, culture, sexuality, class have influenced the construction of the problem. This is how identity is shaped. Create space between the person and the problem or their personal qualities, which are commonly internalized. Once problems and qualities are externalized (e.g. they don’t simply exist as an inherent aspect of a person) they can then be put into story-lines. Now we can begin to provide people with a lot of information and richer understandings of how they might be able to reclaim their lives from the influence of a stated problem. Externalizing conversations can be flexible and creative! They are also ongoing. We do not use externalizing language one week and then use internalizing language the next. We address one particular externalized problem at a time (as there can be many).

  38. Gelmar C.
    Tampa, FL.

    I was reminded of the importance of being curious, collaborating with our clients, and honestly believing that they can bring as much expertize into the conversation as we allow them too as therapists. People’s dominant stories indeed have the opportunity to change depending on the way we choose to explore, challenge, highlight, and empower their current perspectives.

  39. Really thorough session. I feel that mapping tools is very useful. It seems is would be especially when struggling or not feeling effective. I also appreciate taking a stand about who the expert is.
    I enjoyed learning from Jack, the pouncing wolf monster expert. ☺

  40. Joy in the Wheatbelt, WA
    I really appreciate the invitation to participate in an ongoing conversation about privilege as well as the invitation to examine our own place in the world and how that impacts our practice and how we interact with those around us.
    I am naturally a reflective person and I may not always say things in the moment but if an idea or situation makes me uncomfortable, I often come back to it and examine why. Just yesterday, in a conversation with a white Australian woman, I found myself uncomfortable with the suggestion that I should be introducing Aboriginal children to Aboriginal art. I have the opportunity to do a bit of teaching and we always include coloring because the kids enjoy it and they would miss it if we chose to do something else at the end of the lesson. Anyway, this woman was talking about her experience growing up with an Aboriginal boy in her home and how creative he was. And then suggested that I incorporate Aboriginal art techniques into these teaching sessions if possible. I mentioned that if that were to happen, I should probably find individuals within the families themselves who currently practice traditional Aboriginal art to be the ones to impart this value and knowledge. My comment seemed to fall on deaf ears and the conversation went elsewhere. In reflection, I wish I had been more clear that it is not my place to teach culture in that way since I am not Aboriginal or even Australian for that matter. It is one thing for me to go back to the US and share with children the symbols and some of the art I have been introduced to and the significance as a way of introducing them to Aboriginal culture. It is quite another thing for me as an American to teach children from Aboriginal families about their own art and culture. Facilitating this experience, perhaps there is a role. Encouraging artistic expression and providing a venue and/or materials if asked and invited in, once again perhaps there is a role. But teaching or imparting my limited knowledge as a means of engaging and encouraging culture crosses a firm boundary for me.
    I find this is one of the hidden ways that privilege sneaks in to everyday conversations. While this woman said nothing outright negative and indeed she was praising the creativity and artistic gifting of indigenous people, it was giving fodder to stereotypes and felt very disconnected to me. And she was also implying that these children aren’t receiving this education, to which I have no knowledge one way or the other. This chapter helped me work through some of my own thoughts in relation to this conversation as well as others. And hopefully this materials will help engage my mind to produce some questions and words to potentially dive into a harder conversation about privilege with this woman should another opportunity present itself in the future.

  41. Thanks for this beautiful song.
    I played it at the start of my team meeting. It was part of the welcome to country. The other people in the team asked me to email the link around.

  42. I wondered if the therapy can be performed like a workshop which helps more people, unlike we usually do as individual session. How powerful it is ? or how is the people/technician ratio like to make it impactful

  43. Really looking forward to learn a lot from this training session.

  44. Hello all, it is Shane again from the Okanagan Valley, in British Columbia Canada;

    The idea that most intrigued me was the emphasis by Epston & White on the importance of maintaining “a sense of adventure” with the work. I found this idea freeing as it seems to give permission for individual practitioners to continue to grow the practice of Narrative Therapy. In addition, I found it comforting as a developing practitioner as it belies the idea that the therapist must know the final destination. For me it was identifying that with each new client, and in fact each client session, we embark on a new adventure of discovery, during which both the client and therapist will experience change.

    For me it will be challenging to maintain this permission to explore, I know I will want to search for definitive answers and structures to achieve these answers. So, moving forward I want to bring into my practice the thrill of curiosity and find ways to encourage clients to see their attendance with therapy as an adventure that has goals but no defined limitations (minus the necessary ethical ones) on how to achieve those goals.

    Thanks for reading,

    Shane

  45. In the context of special needs in which i work, externalising is useful as a way of talking about problematic anti-social behaviours with lightness and playfulness. I already use social stories as a way of talking with participants who have behaviours which cause them to be excluded from public events. Externalising techniques shown in this chapter show me how i can further explore difficult subjects without judgement and using the language which is the most appropriate i.e. not pathologising or steeped in pyscho jargon.

  46. As I work on-line, as part of the relationship building with my clients, I set each of them up with a private facebook group with me. It’s their space – they use it in a variety of ways. Some use it to outline their situations and the work they wish to do with me, before we meet for our first session. It is also used to post session summaries, I do the summaries initially, but as the client becomes more comfortable and confident, they begin to post their own summaries. I find it a useful tool to see what resonated with the client. The clients can also use this to post memes or articles, I also will also post things I think are useful or supportive. I find it helps the client to feel ‘held’ in between sessions. They can also reach out in times of crisis. The comments I have received have been overwhelmingly positive – one client who had been working with a psychologist for years prior to working with me noted she felt more accountable. She was aware of the work between sessions and continued to work on things, whereas before she had walked out of the session and forgotten about what was discussed til the next session.

    I wasn’t following a theoretical framework when I decided to work this way. It was reassuring to go through this module and find one.

  47. I love the idea that externalising removes us, as therapists, from having the voice of power, and the position of expert. Is this not, in itself, a form of justice and healing (as discussed in the Charter for Story-Telling in the last module)?
    I would also like to comment on Handy Hint #2 from Externalising – commonly asked questions, “Try to remember that externalising the problem is just the start. The next steps involve richly describing the alternative story”. Personally, this is my key concern relating to externalising, that we see only two steps: step one – externalise; step two – explore additional stories. While the shifting from internal problem to external problem is certainly a beneficial step, my primary goal is to transcend the idea of ‘problem’ altogether. Externalising can offer excellent tools for this if we follow it through to what I see as step three – realise ‘problem’ as story.
    Once we invite ourselves to consider that the idea of ‘problem’ is, itself, a story, we can move beyond the frustration and potential powerlessness of there being a problem at all. While I do not advocate re-internalising an externalised construct, I do support realising that the construction itself is an internal process, and we, therefore, have the power to change it, or even transcend it.
    To put this into context, I can begin to shift from
    Step one: I am a problemed person
    Step two: There is a problem
    Step three: I created an image of a problem, the power is mine.
    From step three, I usually explore the problem as opportunity/gift, or the problem as illusory construct pointing to a deeper meaning and value system in our lives.
    Of course, this must be done delicately, and is only suitable for a certain set of the population, namely those viewing life from a subtle or causal construct, to use the words of Terri O’Fallon (O’Fallon, T. (2017). Concrete, Subtle, and Causal Tiers. Seattle, WA, USA: Pacific Integral.)

  48. What a powerful TED talk. I had never considered the fact the children’s books in Australia presented one story and one experience and the consequences this would have on children are not part of this single discourse. It is also interesting and so true that I feel foolish for not even considering that there are multiple stories and discourses of White Australians and New Zealanders where there is only limited stories of Indigenous Australians and New Zealand Maoris, and often these stories are so limited and provided by individuals who are not part of these cultures. I find this perspective very refreshing as I have witnessed the negative stories attributed to Maori and seen how it does not fit with my Maori family and community. I hope in the future there is more than a mere shelf of Maori children’s books.

  49. Dear David,

    Thank you to you and everyone at Dulwich for continuing the long legacy of inspirational leadership that intersects healing and justice work.

    All the best,

    Steve

  50. Hi Chris,
    I am intrigued and inspired by your Narrative Walk program. I live in the US and recently graduated with my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In the past, I have worked in ministry, and in that role, I often noticed how creating opportunities for connecting one’s mind, body, and spirit with the natural world builds hope and opens one’s mind to considering new perspectives in overcoming challenges. I love this program you have created and was wondering if you would share your manual /forms with me, as I am interested including a walk like this as part of the curriculum for a group for adolescents struggling with anxiety, depression, and/or self-esteem issues.

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful program through your video!

    • Hi Barb, you put the intentions of the program into such wonderful words. I’ll send over the Hosts Manual. You can also read about the program in the latest International Journal of Narrative Therapy and some examples of trials I ran initially in developing the program.

      I have had so many people contact me and discuss the different ways and populations that they may use the program with. Please keep me informed as to how you go. CD

  51. Singapore.
    The project “Little by Little, We Make a Bundle” struck me as powerful for communities who are facing external issues which threaten/ harm their communities.
    For example, urbanization has impacted Ulaanbaatar’s agrarian economy, and many are struggling to find employment. Some who fail inadvertently turn to alcohol for solace, and this in turn affects a whole generation of youth who need adults to guide them through this confusing time.
    Framing these challenges as external events may help them take a step back to assess what is happening to their communities, and help parents and children alike to look hard at options/ creative ideas so that good healthy choices can be made while they figure out how to adapt and overcome the challenges

  52. Pedro (Spain)
    The project that catches my attention is the tree of life. In my opinion, an incredible way to connect the person with his roots and likewise the rest of people inside of the community. I think that a way to work with this could be using the tree of life in jails, with prisoners. We tend to think that because they did something wrong they do not have feelings, emotions, wishes and, of course, hope. So, it could be a fantastic experience to use the tree of life inside of a prison and connecting prisoners with their origins and also within the system. I am wondering what this could bring?

  53. This chapter was enlightening for me as it bought clarity on the importance to where the outsider witness/es are pivotal in ensuring insight for a written narrative to be a true reflection and where support is on track to nurture positive outcomes. Also the positive aspect where written documents can help in so many ways.

  54. What I found interesting is the silence associated with stigma and where narrative therapy can investigate this area and assist in the realisation that stigma is not something you have to live with. Stigma is not a personal problem but a problem within society.

  55. Thanks for putting together this great resource and opportunity. I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land upon which I am studying today, the Turrbal and Garumngar people, and I’d like to pay respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging. I feel our country has much to learn from a narrative approach, from listening to story and supporting both ourselves and others to move away from oppressive discourses.
    Thanks again, Jess

  56. Hi Chris,
    Your Narrative Walks program is inspiring to learn about. I’d be interested in trying it out at the medical clinic that I practice out of. Do you have guidelines as to how many people can participate in a walk, how many facilitators are required, and what kind of screening you do?
    Thanks for all your work,

    Mike

    • Hi Mike, the groups that I tend to work with are around 8-15 people in size. For every 5 people I add an extra facilitator (I call them hosts) e.g 10 – 2 facilitators, 15 – 3 etc. I’ve found that this works well for the outsider witnessing groups and exercises in separating the participants up into groups of around 5. It also helps manage risk and time. The extra hosts are not necessarily mental health workers and are often people that have completed a Narrative Walk themselves in the past.

      Groups have got bigger since I opened the criteria up and I have found the conversations diverse and rich when mixed gender and age.

      I ask participants to complete a consent and information form with questions around any diagnosis or physical injuries that could impact the walk. As this is non-pathologising (and in many cases de-pathologising) program, exclusion criteria is often only around acute symptoms reported by the participant and can be discussed before the walk. I do highlight the importance of it being a self reflective process and responsible sharing through the Welcome Letter and before the walk begins.

      Thanks for your interest. Feel free to ask me any more questions. CD

      • Hi Chris,

        Thanks for the details, I really appreciate the information (Would I be able to get a copy of your manual and consent forms for reference?). One other question I have is do people do the walk more than once or is it a one time experience? And is it sometimes offered while somebody is participating in therapy?

        Thanks again,

        Mike

        • Hi again Mike. Ill send my forms over to you.

          Some people do the walk a number of times and even work on the same problem. Even though the process is the same each time, people report different experiences depending on the other people in the group, they’re mood, the weather ect. Also some people may come back if their problem starts to sneak back into their life. It can also help the process if there are people that have experienced the walk before.

          Something that I have found is that people sometimes have wanted to return, not necessarily for the therapeutic aspects of the walk but for the sense community. And whist that’s is great its not really what the walk is designed for. When this is the case I have gently helped them find social walking groups.

  57. Hello from Melbourne!

    I work in the special needs field with participants who are often limited in their vocabulary to express themselves. There is one person who has an anti-social habit of yelling very loudly and banging the wall with her fist. It is not clear what she is trying to achieve by this behaviour and though she has some language it is tightly scripted around three key phrases that she repeats over and over. The narrative therapy concept of externalising may provide a way of talking about this behaviour, which has caused her to become socially isolated and no longer invited on many of the programs, without making her feel is simply “wrong”. To understand how this behaviour is benefitting her seems i.e. her position seems an imperative first step in order to work out how to use alternative means to achieve what she wants. With the use of the suggested questions in the powerpoint and the concept of the chart, in which success and failure can be plotted without dismay at some questions falling flat, hopefully there will be progress made in gaining a more full understanding of the woman’s unmet needs and more support to lead to an expansion of her emotional vocabulary.

  58. I love how Michael refuses the dichotomy of omnipotent therapist and helpless client. How often do we have difficult days ourselves – pants falling off or otherwise – where we feel we have to hide our problems? It must be so liberating to be able to ask out clients for help, when appropriate.

  59. Pedro Betancor, Spain.
    What forms of documentation might be most relevant or resonant in your context?

    In my context, working with people with Schizophrenia, I guess that letters could be the most relevant and resonant aspect to use. Different types, showing who they are, what they want, welcoming or saying goodbye.

    Are there particular ideas or practices you found within these materials you might draw on in your future meetings with people?

    Watching the video about “Narratives in the suitcase”, an idea came out to my mind related to psychomotor activities. Usually, I work using techniques that make the clients write, paint, cut and paste, and use their psychomotor skills, but I didn’t realise until now that this can be used to create their “Narrative Stories”. The video was revealing to me.

  60. Joy in the Wheatbelt, WA.
    I am really struck by the ability for Collective Practices to cross to larger groups of people. So often counselling is an individual work for a single person or a couple. This can extend sometimes to a family but so often trauma and problems that impact the individual are communal and have a much broader reach. An individual can work through things on his or her own but I can see the potential for larger change that could come with collective practices like these.
    An example of this is from the project in Uganda where when only one child was sponsored, that this child would then be able to make a gift to the other children in the family. This is a physical example but I think it could extend to emotional or spiritual gifts as well.
    Another gem that I pulled out from this section was from the interview with David Denborough. When he talked about “rescuing the words” I was reminded of the role of the counsellor in this practice. Instead of rewriting or giving someone different words, the goal is to pull out, repeat or “rescue” the words that the individual or community are speaking or using. This was also practiced in the Uganda project when the outsiders gave their perspectives but used the words that they were hearing from the community. There is something amazingly powerful in this seemingly simple practice.

  61. Astrid from Amsterdam. Although I have used session notes with counselling clients in the past succesfully now ideas come up in how to rephrase parenting agreements we draft more focused on intention and recognition than just focussing on agreements made and potentially even a news document that could be shared with the children. Also the suitcase work may be done in a varied way when working with children of seperated parents, it will be interesting to see if we expand the metaphore of a new journey after separation into one where the children feel much better packed.

  62. I’m amazed at how much success patients attribute to the therapeutic letters. They consider it to be equal to 3 face to face visits or 70% of their clinical success!

  63. Cordet Smart, UK, Devon. This chapter has been very reflective for me – it has reminded me of ideas such as post-structuralism and critical thinking, which I draw on everyday to analyse various interviews and texts. However, it has also furthered my thinking – the table illustrating the implementation of post structural therapy was particularly helpful, as it clearly shows the ways these ideas can be important, which students often struggle with. I particularly liked the method of introducing discussions of privilege, and the suggestion that discussing common reactions to the conversation first. I really liked this technique, and am keen to implement it.

  64. My name is Joy and I’m currently living in the Wheatbelt, WA.
    I find documentation and outside witnesses really interesting and an important part of Narrative Therapy. There are so many different types of documentation but I find in current reflection that the ability to have something tangible to come out of the sessions to be a potentially very powerful tool. Even a small document produced in conjunction with a client can then lead to something that is a good reminder but also something that can be revised and edited as goals and circumstances change. Or even as a reminder of how far someone has come.
    As for the outside witnesses, I feel like I still need to dive deeper into this and understand more about their role. I see the benefits of bringing others in to support and encourage but I also see potential struggles if those being brought in are not understanding or willing to participate in positive ways. I’m also wondering about this in an Aboriginal context but hopefully that will be covered in the Aboriginal Narrative Therapy course. Definitely more to contemplate and explore here.
    I’m continually encouraged by the flexibility of this practice to be able to be molded into different contexts. From David Newman’s use to living documents to Ncazelo Nucbe-Mlilo and the suitcase project. Each of these is documentation but done in a way that is beneficial and appropriate to their own contexts. I’m excited to start exploring some of the ways to work this into my current context.

  65. Singapore

    HOME is a shelter where foreign workers find refuge while claiming for lost compensation/ unfair dismissal. While enjoying free meals and board, they unfortunately have no legal status in the country, are subject to curfews, and restricted from employment. This all adds to a deep sense of displacement, and many lose their identity while caught in the bureaucracy and the waiting.

    That time could be put to use in creating documents which witness their resoluteness to fight for what they believe is rightfully theirs, and thickens their own story – often centered around love and sacrifice to provide for their families.

    These could be artistic endeavors (like the suitcase), song or poetry – shaped during their commitment to patient endurance of due process. Those documents may also function as an alternative kind of ‘outsider witness’ to encourage others who later come into the shelter under similar circumstances.

    Produced during the time and space of their agonizing wait, the document serves as a permanent marker which validates their existence in an otherwise transient place which will often forget them after they are gone.

  66. I am interested in how I as a worker facilitate conversation and use/manage my power. I have observed a particular look or shake of the head with an Aboriginal mum who talks to me when things are not going well for her, she wants to talk, but some of her story is not for me. She takes the lead in the decisions on which parts of the story to tell. There is still plenty of room for the double story and this is helpful with the shame narrative.

  67. This shows the importance of providing the opportunities for people to narrate their story and the importance of us to encourage people to explore the different narratives of their life and not only settle on the one story.
    It shows how easy it is to make assumptions about others when we only focus on the single story and how this gets in the way of how we see others.
    we start to show empathy and compassion when we are able to see a person from their many experiences and then we are able to see more of the sameness than difference.

    • I am really appreciating the stance of narrative therapy. I have had many conversations with coworkers about how our words to each other affect the work we do with our clients. It is essential to hold that curiosity when you are with clients and when you are updating/debriefing with coworkers. Especially in times of high stres.

  68. This idea of people having the right to define their own problems in their own words and on their own terms is so relevant for me right now. this is the only way therapy is meaningful.

  69. I am excited to learn more about narrative therapy. The idea of enriching peoples stories and expanding on their ideas to create to broaden their perspective is so interesting.

  70. UK
    I work as part of a school re-integration team at a children’s hospital. My role is to support children and their families with the multiple challenges which accompany returning to school following head injury, complex orthopaedic injury, or intra-abdominal injury.

    I would describe the narrative metaphor as a way of understanding: a person’s perception of self; their perception of how different systems in the world around them interact; and finally their perception of support and resource available to them. This narrative can be thin and one track or diverse and multifaceted. For people who have experienced trauma, this trauma often becomes the dominant narrative and all others become secondary to it.

    Sadly, single/thin narratives are common in the hospital setting. Although we will gather a broad range of information about a person in our assessments, we still tend to define of the child in terms of their injury rather than thinking of their injury as one of many stories which make up a much richer narrative. As a result, I think we can dis-empower families from using previous stories/ experiences to allow them to cope and re-define the current story.

    In my work, I think I could use the narrative metaphor to encourage children and families to think holistically about all of the skills and resources they have developed in the past and how these experiences/ stories can be drawn upon to create or return to a much richer multifaceted story which allows them to move forward with this injury.

  71. Diolch Iawn for all the introductions and comments. I acknowledge that I am learning on Wiradjuri country, the elders and Aboriginal people here, and their stories. I am a little excited to understand for myself how using narrative in a cultural context can work.

  72. Hi Again.
    Cordet, UK. I was most struck by the conversations, both from Barbarah Wingard and with Sam. These conversations for me normalised the notion of narrative ‘therapy’. They took away the ‘difference’ that can make therapy itself seem so mystical – and seemed to provide honest insights into everyday lives and challenges. I was also struck by the learning cycle from the clients that Michael had worked with, and the ways in which the narrative approach seemed historically related to research methods, including anthropology. This took me back to my own research using narrative methods, and the similarities drawn, particularly in how joint analysis can be conducted, which I have recently written about. Again, I am inspired by how it appears that these are ‘informed conversations’, rather than therapy, and how the therapist themselves therefore might be just a ‘normal’ person in how they act with another.

  73. I feel like this chapter feels very practical and applicable. I am ready to start applying externalization with clients now. Thank you!

  74. Hi all, Cordet from the UK again! I have once again enjoyed listening to and reading these innovations. I was surprised to see the tree of life metaphor here, which I recall being used in a conference that I went to a year or so ago, and remember then being inspired around service user involvement in the development of service user involvement in the UK. It was really interesting to see how it was developed, and to engage with narrative practices in a broad, community based manner. The projects were inspiring to me as they seem to be approaches to ensure that collective voices are heard, and how to engage with, and respect a broader range of culturally different groups. I felt particularly gifted to have the opportunity to witness some of these different interventions and was in awe of their creativity.

  75. Hi, Cordet from the UK again. I am finding that these new ideas are coming more quickly, and it is reminding me of practices that I have been involved in. I love the letter writing idea, and this is not something that I have used, but I am considering getting students to use to themselves, about their own learning. There are so many thoughts from this module – I loved the creativeness of the suitcase, and the simultaneous metaphore of journey and narrative, and the careful way in which this seemed to develop alternative stories for those in the workshops. I am also inspired to do more group work, as I can see that these group connections might be exceptionally validating.

    Finally, I would like to comment on the outsider witness paper, which I enjoyed, having worked in reflecting teams, but was interested in its extension to use lots of different people who might have similar experiences. Again, I was intrigued by the connections, but also a little struck by the skills that may be required in order to manage disclosures in this way. The balance of this is something that I will continue to reflect on.

  76. I guess I was struck most in this section about how very similar the construct of externalisation is to qualitative research and methods, which I have studies and worked with for many years. I guess that I was wondering how narrative therapy might go beyond these ideas, or differ, but actually it seems to me that the client in these contexts becomes the narrative analyst. I was also struck by the development of narrative therapy from social justice backgrounds, and just started to become intrigued by the discussion of ethical principles, and the real challenge of developing an approach that is inspired by human rights, and the upshot challenges of cultural sensitivity, which I am keen to pursue.

  77. I am enjoying the exposure to the narrative therapy and look forward to learning more. I was particularly struck by the parting words on the Friday Afternoon Talk – “We cannot separate healing from justice”. As a social worker, this is something I think we don’t give enough attention to.

    • San Antonio, TX (USA) The Narrative Metaphor in relating one’s story reveals the impact of significant experienced events in shaping one’s world. These narratives can be a mixture of both good and bad experiences where an individual has a choice to build upon successes, forging their healthy narratives emerging strong and resilient. Narratives chosen and focused exclusively on bad experiences/influences weaken the human spirit and require intervention to lift the veil of the negativism creating problem(s).

  78. Patricia Lewis from Sydney Australia, Christian Counsellor and Spiritual Psychotherapist

    The Narrative Metaphor is liberating for people who have experienced trauma and have been stuck in a box with a thin conclusion that only involves the traumatic storyline. To be able to re-author their lives with an alternative story where trauma is not the defining factor in their lives anymore is a door of hope and a door to freedom. As a spiritual psychotherapist, people come to me to explore their traumatic experiences with the added opportunity of exploring their spiritual dimension. Some spiritual leaders were great storytellers like Jesus and they used metaphors to communicate their teaching in a meaningful way to their hearers.

  79. MATT DENNY DARWIN

    1.
    What forms of documentation…

    Right now, I am inspired. Realising that being flexible and adaptable to the individual or group using this brilliantly obvious methodology is where its power lies. The ‘suitcases’ being a great example of this adaptation. Taking what is offered, and drawing the best out of it to help with what needs to be achieved. All of this info is relevant to the therapeutic alliance, and a very worthy vehicle to ease the journey of empowered healing, forward movement and growth… (Creating a lotta peace too!!!)

    2.
    Are there particular ideas or practices…

    Yes.
    My toolbox has increased.
    The use of documents that can be constantly referred to, daily reinforcing the chosen desire to be accomplished can be used in a 5 minute session on the street with a stranger (if pen n paper is on hand), through to a fully blown counselling session.
    Powerful stuff!!!
    I guess that I’ve realised that I am an outsider witness even without importing an outsider, and reading the hazards to being an outsider witness cuts close to bone of being an effective listener, so it’s not so much as what I would draw on, but the changes that have taken place in my being from the exposure to this work; influencing my future.
    Thank you!

  80. Jerusalem, Israel
    In my work with adolescents an overriding theme has been, ‘People don’t get the real me’. In narrative terms, ‘people only see this theme of my life, which has come in and taken over my life’. The message of, ‘I really want the ‘real me’ to be seen by others and for the ‘real me’ to connect with others’ has been an underlying message. As such the concept of documents has really resonated with me as a way of helping a client facilitate connection of the ‘real me’ with others, in a way that is not confrontational and can be done on their terms. In particular the idea of a Document of Circulation really struck a chord of allowing the ‘real me’ to share with others something that may not know about me because of an alternative theme.
    Letter writing has also been something that has resonated with me, especially as something to use in a case where a client moved to another country. Giving him something in a tangible form that allows me to share my thoughts of the meeting is for me showing, showing the client that you made an impression on me and that even when we’re not sitting with each other, I have thought about you.
    I am fascinated by the concept of outside witnesses. This is something that I really want to incorporate into my work. The idea that we can bring non professionals into the room in a non-judgemental way, purely to hang out with the emotions of another and explain the impression that these emotions have made on them is phenomenal. For me the biggest thing in a therapy room is opening the terminals of connection, in directly teaching a person the power of connecting with others in some way. Outside witness allows them to feel what it is like first hand. I am excited to explore this more.

  81. Pedro (Spanish) writing from Australia (Darwin) and Spain (The Canary Islands: Lanzarote). I was living in Darwin until recently and I had to come back to Spain.

    Which resource in this chapter particularly caught your attention and why?

    Everything caught my attention but specifically the story of Sugar and how conversations and externalising can be a powerful tool to teach others and let others speak about their worries, concerns and wishes to know, understand and learn.

    What sort of problems could  be externalised in your context?

    I think that I would like to know a little bit more about conversations, externalising and Schizophrenia, this is the field where I currently working and also AOD. I see different connections between both aspects and I consider that a deep research on this could be amazing for me.

    What difference might this make?

    A lot of difference, first let the clients speak about what they think about the illness, what the heard and know about it, and how they are living their own stories, that sometimes, as professional, we forget to consider.

  82. Thank you so much for this course I havr learned so much. While I am not a therapist, I will find this practice really helpful in my mentoring position. A lot of parents in the area of mentoring I am volunteering with, are judged by others because of their children’s association with the criminal justice system. They feel judged as parents and feel their children are judged also. This practice will be of immense help to me and other mentors. We have touched on the topic, but this course has really illuminated what I had touched on.
    My wish is to get into community research and to collaborate with the homeless community in my own community. Homelessness is a problem I am passionate about. Those living without a home are stigmatized greatly and it is a problem that is seen as an ‘individual’ problem. It is assumed those living without a home have alcohol, drug or mental health problems when really it is a much broader structural problem. We must examine our assumptions about a community of people who have hopes, desires and dreams just as we do and to work with this community to assist in realizing these hopes,dreams and desires would be so rewarding.
    If anyone has any experience of using this practice in community research I would be delighted to hear from you.
    I look forward to continuing my journey of narrative practice learning. Thank you once again Dulwich Centre for sharing this wonderful knowledge with the world.
    Ann from Dublin in Ireland

  83. Jerusalem, Israel The narrative metaphor, for me, is a way of seeing that life, instead of being black and white, is so rich and interesting. By giving labels and putting people neatly into a box, identities are squashed to the extent that the recipient believes that life all or nothing. I’m either completely motivated or I am not.
    The narrative metaphor is about hanging out with the grey; seeing that as humans, our lives are complex and that we all have an interesting story that has shaped who we actually are. When looking at life as a story with lots of different themes running through it, different facets of identity can be seen. Stories are therefore widening the identity of individuals, showing that instead of life being very narrow and rigid, people’s lives are actually so rich and super interesting.
    Thinking in this way has been an empowering experience for me. The typical DSM labels have always scared me. How can I possibly work with someone who is ADHD, depressed etc? However, thinking in terms of, hanging out with the grey, has turned things around. It’s now exciting to meet people with these ‘labels’, knowing that there is so much more to them then a black and white diagnosis. There is a story there waiting to be told, which in turn has strengthened my curiosity.

    • Patricia Lewis Sydney Australia. Yaakov I share with you the thrill of finding in the narrative metaphor a way of escaping from the box that people seem to always try to stash me in. I relish the freedom that it brings to realise that we have multiple stories, that often those stories may seem contradictory to others and even irreconcilable but they still form part of who we are as people. I have found family members, coworkers and acquaintances often try to force a dominant story on me, and myself protesting HEY, hang on a minute, there is so much more to me than that. As a therapist, I hate labels. I see my clients as people with stories to tell. Nearly 100% of my clients come to me as a result of trauma, so to find an approach to therapy that allows me to see them outside of the lens of trauma survivors, is refreshing. You are from Israel and this reminds me of Jesus who was from Israel too and was a great story teller. He told stories to help people make meaning of their lives. As a spiritual psychotherapist, storytelling is a great tool for me to have and to use in reaching out to my clients who often come to see me due to the opportunity of exploring their spiritual dimension with me.

  84. Hello All;

    It’s Shane again, writing from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. The idea that stood out the most for me was the song writing/playing. I find it interesting that this would be the stand out project for me, as I don’t have any musical capability so I cannot transform this idea into action on my own. However, what I really liked about it, and the rest of this module, was the demonstrated scalability of the Narrative process. It can work for individuals, small groups, larger communities, and as demonstrated by the “Song for Australia” it has the potential to resonate at a national level. This is level of flexibility I have not encountered with other modalities.

    In all honesty, I doubt that I will action any sort of song writing (and definitely no singing) in the immediate future. However, I will keep this idea lodged away for the day when I am collaborating with people possessed of the necessary skills.

  85. I am looking forward to this course. I live and work in Saskatchewan a province in Canada.

  86. The critical thinking reading was excellent for me. I struggle to separate the word ‘critical’ from the act of ‘criticizing’ This paper was so helpful for me. When I was in college I struggled when asked to critique a paper. I had it in my head that the author was more experienced than me and how could I critique their paper’s. I am still learning and this course is teaching me a lot. Ann from Dublin in Ireland

  87. I loved the story of June and SP. It was a great example of using Narrative Practice. I am not a councilor or social worker but I am mentoring parents of young people in the criminal justice system in Ireland. The course is excellent for self reflection and I am trying hard to reflect on my own assumptions and I find the idea of externalizing an excellent one.

  88. Pedro (Spanish) writing from Australia (Darwin) and Spain (The Canary Islands: Lanzarote). I was living in Darwin until recently and I had to come back to Spain.

    How would you describe the narrative metaphor?

    I would describe narrative metaphor as the group of stories created by one person and connected by the beliefs, conditions, social pressures, and place where the person lives. Stories that can be differently observed and understood and that can be modified and evaluated with a different lens if you have the correct tools to do it.
     
    What might thinking about stories in this way make possible for you?

    Thinking in this way changes my point of view of situations and events. Even a traumatic event can be understood differently if you can see the case through a different perspective, from the outside as something that is happening, something that has a name and that you can identify due to you can modify it ( The story ). This is my guess, and I hope to work even more on this to understand correctly.

  89. Hello Everyone,
    My name is Joy and I’m currently living in the Wheatbelt, WA.
    I was struck while working through this material at the need to develop the skill to listen for the other stories or other ways the narrative could be told. Whether implicit or explicit references are made, it is the practitioner’s job to hear those, recognize them and tease them out through more questions and conversation. It’s lovely in theory to say that our goal is to give the problem stories new, beneficial meaning but how to work through that in practice (especially with deep, internal beliefs) is another thing all together. I look forward to working through this course and seeing some of this in action through different examples.
    I will also need to sit down and spend more time with the 7 specific articles in the Charter and think through how they apply in my work context. As much as I believe that healing and justice do have an important link, I’m wondering if healing could be beneficially separated from justice in cases where justice might not be so easily reachable. It makes sense that healing and justice should go together but I’m wondering how that looks when justice is absent for some reason.

  90. Hi, Astrid here from Amsterdam.
    What stood out for me in this chapter in general terms is that I have always believed that the Gestalt based training I have received was contra to Narrative. And it so is not! It took me a moment to redefine that in my head.
    What I enjoyed most was listening to and watching Mark; if only he could talk us through the whole course 🙂 This lively discourse of all the stages during map 1 and his visual example of it were helpful to me to remain superengaged and keen to try for myself.

  91. Thank you for this course! I’m really interesting in narrative therapy. It’s great I found your site.

  92. I was really inspired by Ncazelo Nucbe-Mlilo’s project called “Narratives in the suitcase.” She expressed how dominant stories of children as being “reckless,” “hopeless,” “good for nothing” can be limiting and very thin understanding of their lives. Through this project, it seems that these children were able to reconnect with their hopes and dreams, to become more aware of their skills and knowledges, to reflect on where they came from and where they are headed, to keep memories of family members close and their values, and to consider their future steps in realizing their dreams. I find all the questions asked in this video very useful for rich story development. I also believe that sharing stories, drawing pictures of their journey, and witnessing each other stories with facilitator can be very powerful experience that validates and acknowledges preferred identities and alternative stories.
    I think that using therapeutic documents can be very useful in endurance of alternative stories and preferred developments. I agree with Epston that, “…the words in a letter don’t fade and disappear the way conversation does; they endure through time and space, bearing witness to the work of therapy and immortalizing it.”

  93. Thank you for this talk Hamilton, your openness and honesty and your sharing really touched me.

    I am currently completing a Diploma in Counselling and one of the Units is on Narrative Therapy which led me to the Dulwich Centre and to your talk.

    I have also considered doing Peer Support Work and found your reflections very interesting and they are definitely giving me food for thought. I too have spent time in a psychiatric hospital. Coming to terms with it rocked my world and turned it upside down. I am starting to see with the help of my psychologist what my experience has to offer others.

    I also like Catherine, feel that lived experience in a therapist actually gives you more empathy and understanding.

    Again thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Hi Michelle,

      I am deeply touched by your appreciation. I initially studied social work, but was drawn to peer support work because of the freedom and potential benefits of it. My thoughts are that my experiences with the mental health system would be useful and meaningful no matter which path I had taken. I should think they would be the same for those like us.

      Our hard earned knowledges and skills are so valuable in this line of work. I hope you enjoy the rest of your studies and continue to show what your experience has to offer others

  94. Hi Chris! I’m Anne-Sophie from France. Your outdoor program means so much to me: it combines the need for human beings to walk and need to make sense, at the same point. Brilliant! I am currently handling a similar program around Travelling.
    A journey/travel is, to my point of view, an authentic manufacture of alternative stories and exceptions, without the social or job pressure. It is a small life too with a beginning, middle and end, and a lot of emotions and sensations. Hope our paths meet one day. Thank you for sharing: amazing job! Anne-Sophie.

    • Thankyou so much Anne-Sophie. Ive been overwhelmed by the responses and by the number of people that are also working in this way. I have completed this program as a 20km walk and a shorter 10km a number of times and find that the 20km walk allows much more space and a sense of journeying and therefore has been more sort after. Later this year Ive organised a 3 day overnight hike on the Bibbulmun Track with a Narrative Walk as one day of the program and am interested in what does for the participants. Happy Travelling CD

  95. The article “Commonly asked questions” stood out to me the most because it answered important questions and clarified possible confusions with this practice. I appreciate mentioning postructuralism and how not only problems but also ‘strengths’ can be externalized. In my context, all problems that I can think of can be externalized. I tend to listen for internalized statements such as for example, I am depressed, or I am worthless person, and so on. Externalizing makes a difference in many ways some of which include but are not limited to experiencing sense of relief and separation from the problem, increased understanding about the operations of the problem on their lives, experiencing less self-blame and judgment, increased sense of hope that they can do something about their problems, seeing oneself and relationships in a new way, becoming aware of skills and knowledges that are relevant in addressing the problem and so on. I really appreciate this practice because as a therapist I am taking a political stance against pathologizing people and reproducing the dominant cultural discourse that includes normative ideas which are often oppressive and have negative effects on people’s lives.

  96. People are social and interpretive beings who make sense of their lives through stories. They live their lives through stories and these stories have significant impact on their lives. The dot exercise is a great illustration of how we can help people construct new stories by helping them assign meanings and connect those events or experiences that are outside of problem-saturated story. With narrative metaphor we see people’s lives as stories. This thinking about stories make possible for me to co-create new and more preferred stories with my clients. As a result they can live their lives according to their preferences, values, beliefs, commitments, and purposes. Our stories are also influenced and shaped by social/cultural/historical/political contexts in which we live. This makes possible to consider how problems are cultural in nature and socially constructed. Respect, freedom, liberation from oppressive discourses, privileging local knowledge, and non-pathologizing view of people are some of the most appealing aspects of narrative therapy to me. I am looking forward to learn more!

  97. This is so helpful and will definitely affect my work with people – sometimes an Aboriginal mum is referred to me when her kids have been removed and she is to do a parenting course (Circle of Security) with me…just do the course – get the certificate is what they want. I’ve never just done the course, like that but this teaching here is helping me see even more how ‘damaged’ and how that’s a colonised way of doing things and how she is deemed to have a problem – I always bring it back to the collective, the intergenerational trauma, try to externalise the shame etc..but what is offered here is really deepening my understanding and sensitivity to this area of work.

  98. I’ve seen that TED talk before and wow how powerful is it! I love too the concept of stories and storying…and how this fits with Aboriginal cultural ways anyway…and the listening to stories aspect…how we all love to hear stories. I fear this is a skill and a beautiful part of human culture everywhere that is going extinct, listening to and respecting stories and story-tellers!

  99. thank you for offering this for free such a great resource !

  100. Thank you for offering this course, I did a three month training a number of years ago and have been using many ideas. I welcome the opportunity to revisit and incorporate more ideas. Following attending the ‘Power, Threat and Meaning’ Training recently, I have renewed interest in becoming more skilled in listening to and helping develop people’s stories.

  101. I found the video about Joey really helpful and very interesting. I work in schools in the UK – I’m from Essex in the south-east.
    I found the chart a good tool to use, thank you. When I met with a 7yr old boy this afternoon he found making a lego model during our conversation ended up representing what he called his “Bird’s Eye View” of the problem and he used a model I had made to support his “BEV” in exploring ….to be continued ….

  102. I found this chapter a really affirming one. I have been using externalisation with my children since they were little. It gave them space to address and change their behaviours without feeling shamed, I can see how this works in a therapeutic context. I loved the idea of externalising diabetes as Sugar and like another contributor mentioned above, can see how using a similar method with anxiety etc could be very powerful. The thing that stood out to me was the power of giving people questions to ask, as a way to help them find their voices. Such a wonderful technique.

  103. Kent from Indiana in the USA. What stood out to me is the way narrative ideas developed through relationships, dialogue and friendships. It makes me recognize the important relationships I have in my own life and the ways these friendships are shaping my ideas and the way I choose to practice.

  104. Hi, Ann from Dublin in Ireland. I loved Barbara’s article and the idea of ‘conversations under a tree’. I think this is a lovely way to listen to someone’s story and sounds so relaxing. I love the idea of reconnecting with our loved ones who have passed away. My friend recently lost her daughter at the age of 34 and she is struggling with her loss. She has been to therapy and the therapist insists on my friend ‘letting her daughter go’. She is finding this difficult. I think the idea of keeping a relationship with our loved ones much healthier. I hope to help my friend with this idea. I have lost my parents and my son and I always feel they are still with me I have never thought of letting them go. I have a different relationship with them.
    The idea of co-research also intrigued me. The idea of ‘doing research on problems and the relationships that people have with those problems, rather than on the people themselves’ changes my whole idea of therapy. It creates a sense of ‘working together’ rather than an ‘expert’ working on a person to ‘make them better’. As I have said previously, I really admire Paulo Freire and his idea of a dialogue where the people’s empirical knowledge of reality is nourished by the leaders critical knowledge and gradually becomes transformed into knowledge of the ’causes’ of reality.

  105. Hi, I’m based in Waikato, New Zealand. I first came across narrative therapy while doing my undergraduate psychology degree. It resonated with me in a way that nothing else has. I now work with couples and individuals in step and divorced families on-line, predominantly in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. I find a narrative therapy framework very useful for not only helping clients unpack their stories and examine the beliefs they hold, but also in helping them imagine a life that sits more in alignment with their values, with who and how they want to be in the world. Understanding that their story is possibly not shared or understood by their exes or the new partners of their exes is an essential tool.

  106. Hi, I am a psychologist near Sydney, Australia. The contents and basis for NT resonates with me as I have always considered each person’s story as unique to both their experience and, their perspective. The narrative changes the direction of experience, it influences choice and decision, and forms the basis for personal expectation. This is all without considering others’ narrative of oneself! Chimamanda Adichie’s presence is lovely.

  107. Very inspired and energized by the work David Denborough shared about songwriting and narrative practice. As a social worker/music therapist I have frequently used songwriting as a practice and found it very powerful. Now thinking of it through the lense of narrative practice really opens up new ways of approaching this with and makes me feel more connected to others who are using songwriting in their work. I’m very grateful to Dulwich Centre for making this resource available.

  108. Thank you so much for your insight on clinical notes and records, and the choice of words and stories that are incorporated into medical records. I am a palliative social worker who has worked in long-term care (nursing homes) and hospice. I always strive to have conversation and to get to know the person, I have never thought about asking them what they would like to be included or to be excluded in their records. I will start incorporating this practice with everyone I meet.

  109. Ann from Ireland.
    I am a big fan of Freire and was really inspired by his idea of a pedagogy of desire. We have a homelessness crisis in this country at the moment. This is due to a neo-liberal housing policy of over dependence on the private sector for housing. This marginalizes those who cannot afford to access housing in this way. We have seen an increase in men and women, young and old living on the streets. We have families living in hotels and ‘hubs’ and their is a concern for the mental well being of the parents and children living in these circumstances. There is a fear now that homelessness is becoming ‘normalized’. I think this idea of a pedagogy of desire is an excellent idea to make it clear that living without a home is not normal it is a social, historical, political and economic event. We need to explore the reasons for people being on the streets and discuss with the people living without homes, their wishes and desires and what needs to be done. I do not believe that people aspire to live on the streets nor do I believe that it should ever happen. The saddest thing I heard from a man living on the streets in Ireland was ‘If I don’t wake up in the morning, problem over’. I am interested in getting involved in a community based research project with people experiencing life without a home and hearing about their wishes and desires and as Freire says ‘creating a context in which street people can rebuild their wishes and desires’.

  110. Hello everyone,

    Firstly – thank you all at the Dulwich Centre for offering this wonderful online course. I am a training counsellor with a prior degree in English literature, and this introduction to Narrative Therapy made me feel like I had found my counselling spiritual home. I am inspired by its optimistic, kind and just practices, and feel these will help shape the work I hope to do with future clients.

    I was considering the idea of a ‘thin story’ after watching this section, having previously been a creator of my own thin (but for ages completely watertight) story of personal difficulty. A thin story works like hagiography: every moment indicates the inevitability of the saint’s eventual canonisation. For us who are not saints (!), a thin story more often works in desperate reverse. I wish early experiences of therapy had helped me to create a richer narrative that examined and challenged my own thin story of hopelessness: I might have been able to acknowledge and incorporate a capacity to survive, and thus face down a narrative arc which had currency with others as well as myself that I was inexorably destined to fall into a heap. Instead, I was encouraged to adapt to (and therefore accept and remain silent about) the injustice I experienced under the guise of fixing my faulty perceptions of those events.

    I feel Narrative Therapy’s stance is not only egalitarian and optimistic, it is such a powerful way to resist the perpetuation the effects of injustice, personally and socially. Even more importantly for me, it is without blame – we all have our narratives, and we all do the best with them that we can. From time to time we might just need a little help to see the possibility of a richer story.

    Cate.

  111. Listening to the danger of one story made me think about what I have been taught in school and how we are conditioned to believe there is only one story. As children we accept what we are told and read without questioning.

  112. Hi Hamilton, thankyou so much for your wholeness, your honesty and integrity. I have studied peerwork, but am yet to practise it formally. Your talk brought me so much strength that I can do this from my current position, just being a peer to work things out together. I was surprised by your comment that you couldnt be a therapist. I wish more therapists had lived experience and were in it with me. I think this would help me feel human rather than “the person with the problem” all the time.
    I have been considering studying Narrative Therapy in a few years time and wondered how it would link in to peer support. Thanks for breaking new ground in relation to this.
    Catherine

    • Hi Catherine.

      I am so thankful you were able to see honesty and integrity in what was said.

      I think studying peer work can provide us with useful skills to practice in any environment!

      I too have felt very much like a person with the problem and connection with my peers has served to lessen this.

      I hope that peer relationships can influence NT and other fields going forward. We can all be a part of this.

      Sincerely

      Ham

  113. 1. The resource that stood out for me the most is this chapter, is that of externalisation itself. Externalising in a way, to me, is an extension of reframing. This epiphany moment for myself, opened doors within. Not only for those I counsel, but also, and most importantly…for m own journey. Overall though, ‘the problem isn’t the person’ rules supreme as the outstanding resource…why…because it promotes change without the weight of external locus of control.
    2. Any thing can be externalised. This links in with meta cognition skills and separation from physical reality (meditation). I appreciated the information on taking responsibility for care in externalising certain issues from Mark.
    3. Having a solid grasp on the skills of externalisation, from my context in the role I am engaged in, potentially can (and will) make all the difference. Not only does it add to rapport through showing care and interest, but actually gets people ‘out of their own heads’ and stop owning that which needs not to be carried, and most importantly, allow room for self chosen growth leading to quality change.
    Michael must have been a very special man.

  114. Great introduction to a course I am looking forward to completing the course and implement what I have learnt in my work

  115. Hello Hamilton

    I really enjoyed listening to your talk about finding ways to use both Intentional Peer Support and Narrative Approaches. Altbough I have little knowledge or experience with IPS, I could relate to a lot of the questions you raised about power and the politics of mental health. Later this year I am going to be experimenting with the therapist/client binary in a project in which I will join in as a participant re-engaging with longterm, hard to shift problem stories, together with a number of others, while also taking a big share of the organising and facilitating jobs. I’m hoping the shared conversations will reflect a mutual fluid shifting along the spectrum of expert and insider knowledges, rather than being locked into a fixed binary with a hard border between ‘client’ and ‘therapist’. Listening to you talk, I was reminded of the trickiness of doing this, without hiding or ignoring the real intersectional power relations shaping the shared convedsations. Knowing you are experimenting with these dilemmas too will give me heart when I find myself floundering.

    I also share your interest in the proliferation of failure identity stories and ways to subvert these. I’m quite pleased when I come across these stories nowadays, as I always find amazing treasures while rummaging in the failures heap. Its like an old school opshop where everything is jumbled in together and you always find some forgotten piece of magnificence, which can usually be taken home for a song! Thanks again! Manja

    • Hi Manja,

      So glad you enjoyed listening to this talk. I am excited to hear about your future experimenting with transcending the traditional binary. Whilst this can be tricky as you said, I have seen over the past year your non-binary superpowers and know that they will be strong enough to overcome any trickiness.

      Whilst experiencing failure can be a challenge for myself and others they often make possible something to be magnificent to be forged. Thank you too Manja!

  116. I would be so Proud to stand up and sing this beautiful version.

  117. This is absolutely amazing. i wish i could help. I am a youth worker in Canada, please if there is anything i can do.

  118. Newman’s idea that spoken word can be a complex process of expression resonated with me. He mentions complexities and nuances, such as eye contact and pauses that are demanded from talking. Many individuals may find writing a more accessible form of therapy (rather than ‘talk therapy’). Newman’s point about written word being accessible for young people exemplifies this. Verbal expression may be less accessible for a young person who is navigating a problem in their life, along with understanding and developing their identity. ‘Juggling’ these aspects of growing up may better be expressed and interpreted through writing. I wonder whether talking about problems can create another problem? I suppose written word can be a way to truly hear others’ voices.
    Nina, Sydney, Australia

  119. Gerry from Victoria.

    This module reminded me of some meditative practices that I have learnt over the years, particularly practices that deal with that loud voice of shame and worthlessness.
    I really value this module, though I think it will take some practice and adaption to do well within my work setting. I like that it is so fluid and the examples given such as the Sugar story that was culturally intelligent and Marks story of Joey show how it will work in different contexts, the charting is a great tool for helping to solidify the concepts in my mind and gives me more ideas about the various ways a conversation may go. Linking it with histories and culture I believe will be helpful to peoples understanding how pervasive some ways of thinking are arrived at and taken on as normal.
    In the context of my work, I believe the difference I will see with young people is the opportunity to externalise rather than internalise the problem and the chance to see ways of challenging problematic behaviors in a way that values themselves rather than being in a perpetual loop.

  120. Hello All;

    It is Shane again from Western Canada. Regarding the documentation I found the Documents of Knowledge to be particularly interesting. I can visualize the development of this type of document fitting well within the typical 50 – 60-minute therapy session and how it could be used to bolster client strengths. I visualize this as a therapist suggested but client lead activity which because of its collaborative nature could be used to strengthen the therapeutic relationship. Perhaps making it a useful action before engaging with more painful/challenging issues (Note: If anyone has insight on the validity of this idea it would be great to hear).

    Aside from the use of the Documents of Knowledge, I am intrigued by the various ways that outsider witnesses can be used to assist with re-enforcing developing narratives. Particularly the outsider witness approach of being more attuned to an individual’s preferred identity that emerges from the story they tell. Then engaging with that person in a manner that re-enforces that preferred identity, by sharing with the individual how their preferred identity has/had a positive impact on yourself. This will take some practice to incorporate into day-to-day communication but I’m excited to try.

    Cheers

    Shane

  121. Hi, this is my second contribution here. I support change the date, change the flag and change the anthem. A lot of those opposed to this view, led by our current Prime Minister, respond by saying they are not ashamed of our British heritage. OK, I get that is extremely blinkered, but it is a lesson for all of us with a more enlightened view – stop the “make wrong”. Ask yourself, what is important? Is it important that you are right and “they” are wrong? Or is it important to change the date, change the flag and change the anthem?

  122. Hi Ann here from Ireland. I am not currently working in the area of therapy but I am mentoring. I find the outsider witness practice really helpful. It reminds me that the therapist and the outsider witness is not there to ‘solve a problem’ but to actively listen and and make links to our own lives. I have a lot to learn and I am really looking forward to continuing the course and reflecting on my own history and maybe even documenting some of my own personal stuff.

  123. Hi Chris, I am really interested in connecting with you and exploring ideas around nature connection and narrative therapy. I am a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide as well as a practitioner using narrative practices in groupwork and counselling. Given the enormous amount of research showing the benefits of nature for health and wellbeing, I am really interested in different ways of integrating nature and narrative practices. I would love to read more about your program.

    • Hi Lucy, thank you. I think there is something about to be published on the program in the International Journal of Narrative which outlines the process of developing of the program. I will send you my email so we can continue the conversation. I’d enjoy hearing more about your work also and anyone using therapy in an outdoor setting. CD

  124. I particularly like the statement of position map/ the chart of maping the problem. I tend to use many visuals when I conceptualize my work with clients, and this is a wonderful tool. I think it is an organic way to reach the values and preferred ways of being, especially for people who may not be able to name what is important to them or how the problems is perhaps influencing their behaviours, choices in ways that are not congruent with their values systems, preferred stories etc. This is going to be very helpful for me in tracking my exploration of the problem and following the client. The format of the video and interactive sheets is an excellent approach to online learning, thank you.

    • Hello from Ontario! I liked the detailed questions that came out of Mark Hayward’s presentation. I appreciate the exact wording of how to complete an ‘externalizing conversation’ with a client. I can really appreciate the question of are you in favour or against the problem- which is something I have never thought about before. We make assumptions that people are against the problems that come up in their lives without asking the person about their position on it. This is key, as Hayward refers to, in being able to tease out what it is like to live with the problem they are having. It allows for ownership in a way I have never seen before.

  125. Hi! My name is Rebeca, I comme from Brazil. I am now living in Wollongong to start a Maste of Social Work.
    I am thinking about David’s presentation on the narrative therapy charter of storytellig righs, because this is a question that is always present in my reflections: not separating justice from healing. The charter reminds s some principles that can be helpfull in our work to enable people to experience justice through the re-authoring of their live in their own terms.

  126. Victoria, Australia.

    What a wonderful introduction to narrative therapy. The power of actively listening to the story and words a person tells will enable me to understand a person and their situation.

    I am currently studying uni and narrative therapy has been something that has stood out to me and I am excited to continue onto the next chapter.

  127. As i was reading the material and watching the videos, I got a lot of clarity, especially with regard to dealing with such cases where there may be a need to take responsibility of the actions. One thing I was worried about was what if the person’s position on the problem is such that they feel they need it to stay with them. I understand that we would still then be curious and try to find out what values these are coming out of and why they feel the need to let the problem remain. I was wondering about how we would then proceed with the conversation?

  128. Stephanie from Brisbane Australia.

    Another engaging unit on collaboration and accountability. I really enjoyed reading about the evolution of Just Therapy Family Centre from providing individual therapy to community development practice. It seemed like such a logical and responsive transformation, and such a thoughtful way to structure inbuilt accountability. I’m looking forward to doing some more research and similar developments in my local area.

  129. Stephanie from Brisbane Australia

    I have really enjoyed exploring these resources on externalising. I think this is such a useful concept, particularly for engaging with populations experiencing isolation, stigmatisation and disempowerment.

  130. Hi, I am Debbie from South Australia, currently on placement and finishing my Master of Counselling Practice. My placement includes a High school and through the Uni practice also see people of all ages.

    Studying “Narrative Therapy” as a subject 3 years ago gained my interest and desire to work with this modality. I now am using this online course as a refresher to give me confidence to develop on my placement while continuing to learn and grow new skills.
    .
    Which resource in this chapter particularly caught your attention and why?
    The black dog video made sense to me of how hard it is when depression takes over. I am keen to share this with a teenage client I currently have who is struggling for words to describe their depression or explain it to their family.
    I am still struggling with mapping, but Mark Hayward’s simple example showed me the importance of really defining the character, how conversations go up and down. To clarify it’s position by the client takes time and needs to be clear before they will be able to get to their values.

    What sort of problems could be externalised in your context?
    Personally, as a beginner counsellor, my fear (problem) of competence while developing new skills can trigger a fall back to externalise “I am dumb”. I have held this since childhood struggling at school.

    What difference might this make?
    This will allow me to less catastrophise or get caught up in my fear and to be gentler and kinder to myself. To put a more realistic perspective to the trials of learning new skills.

  131. Amandine expatriate in Ankara, Turkey, Life coach in education and teacher
    Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?

    The tree of life project stands out; in fact, I learned initially about narrative practices from this project.

    What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?
    I love the symbol, first of all. In Turkey where I currently live, it is a powerful symbol. With the environemental crisis that we know nowadays, I think it is very relevant.

    In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?
    I loved the idea of creating a song about our streghts and resilience. Im sure I will try it with my clients.

  132. I am currently studying psychology with the aim of working as a Play Therapist. I have 6 children of my own and am keen to be engaged in work that gives children the ability to process and frame their experiences and challenges in ways that will support their futures.
    Incorporating NT, especially the assumption that problems are separate from people, looks to be very beneficial.
    I am very keen to continue through this online program, and to learn more through The Dulwich Centre.
    Amelia, Sydney, Australia.

  133. This is great. I am a psychologist but work with art and music therapists, whose founding approach tends to be psychoanalytic. Lovely to have narrative questions to share with them to add to their creative approach

    thank you!

  134. Many thanks – a very warm approach to the work of someone who collaborated with others to form a therapy practice which is so KIND.

  135. What forms of documentation might be most relevant or resonant in your context?

    I loved the idea of a little card that you can put in your wallet or bag and look at when you need to remember your strenghts! And of course the outsider witnesses. I work more and more with witnesses around my client, and it is very powerful.

    Are there particular ideas or practices you found within these materials you might draw on in your future meetings with people?
    I will write letters, for sure! In fact, I just realized how frustrated I was for not having received any feedback from my own therapist, many years ago….So, yes, I will offer that gift to my own clients.

  136. Hello all;

    It’s Shane from British Columbia Canada. I find the process of guiding a client to the externalization of an issue a unique and attractive skill. As such, I found the video by Mark Hayward, and the use of the Statement of Position Map to be a useful exercise for understanding how charting the client’s issue(s), values, experiences and effects can all be worked together to help a client assess incongruences. While my comprehension of this tool is just beginning to develop I still find it a useful lens to use when talking with people (and occasionally to myself) about their own (my) story.

    I look forward to working through the remainder of the program material with all of you.

    Regards,

    Shane

  137. Hi all I am Ann from Ireland and I am currently trying to navigate the site. I am delighted to be part of this course and look forward to communicating with people from all over the world and learning from people with more knowledge in this area. I came across Narrative Practice while training as a mentor for parents of young people in the criminal justice system. I was really interested in learning more and I am excited about the course. Thank you for creating this course at the Dulwich Centre.

  138. Hello! This is Jade, from Toronto, Canada.

    I want to thank you for providing this course—it has taught me more tools for counselling, and relating to others and myself, than anything else I’ve learned! The commitments and values underlying narrative therapy (“the problem is the problem”, justice and healing, a de-centred stance, empowering autonomy, and the importance of language in constructing our worldviews) resonate deeply with my own core values, just as Alice Morgan writes. I feel it gives me hope and the tools necessary to actually tangibly integrate these values into my practice for a powerful praxis. I feel that the accessibility of narrative therapy bridges some complex theoretical thinking with very hands-on skills that can be used in virtually any setting! The tools I’ve learned— externalizing, writing documents, collaboration, outsider witnesses and others— are some skills I’ve already begun to practice and implement in my work and everyday life. Noticing the language I use has been perhaps the most valuable skill, and I have had to opportunity to make a conscious effort to reflect on the language I use to describe people and problems. This is so helpful!

    I am looking forward to beginning my journey with narrative practice, and feel I am able now to begin implementing some of these skills and building on them. I am also looking forward to learning more about narrative therapy, and building on this knowledge. Thank you Dulwich Centre!

  139. Hi, Astrid here, currently from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    A few years ago I attended a NT course and was less enthusiastic than most others in the group; could never really figure out why. Meanwhile, while starting on this one to be on par with a team all enrolling in this, I gain some insight in what may have happened. I will leave that for self reflection from here.

    For the purpose of the course reflection: The power of words… although I can get wordy myself I like to keep things simple. All the sections of this lesson on the narrative metaphor show how important it is to recognise a story for what it is: one story. And knowing that there are always many others to invite to the therapeutic space. Whether that is to elicit empowerment or a richer context to a persons background or our experiences of live today.
    I find it enriching to be made aware of this again from so many different perspectives and to now not only apply this to work with clients but also with supervisees. I look forward to the rest of the course.

    • Hello, my name is Tom and I live in Bristol Uk.

      Astrid thanks for your reflection on the power of words, you set me off on an interesting train of thought that I will try and capture here.

      I am interested in the power of words particularly in the sense that it is so often words, language, which we use to articulate our stories. This can be problematic when our language has been given to us, for example through a medical model where specific diagnosis and technical language suddenly have to do with you and make up the words you have at your disposal to articulate your experience. A diagnosis can be very helpful in the giving of a word to describe an understanding that is shared and common. However so many of these words have connotations or assumptions around them that our social as well as medical. On a personal level, after experiencing a series of episodes of psychosis I have tried to find ways to tell that story. I have been sharply aware that there is not just one interpretation of those experiences or one conclusion as to what they say about me. The word psychosis itself carries a cultural resonance that is not always helpful in the telling of my story. Thanks for allowing me the space to try and communicate what the power of words means to me in relation to narrative.

  140. Hi,

    I’m from the Sunshine Coast, Australia. I’m currently studying social work at university.

    I found the article on the FAQs of Externalising interesting, specifically the inclusion of externalising positive traits. I had never thought that even the internalisation of positive characteristics can be a thin way of examination. I can imagine when they are seen as separate from oneself, almost like resources that can be accessed, they become almost more useful because instead of it being a compulsion, it is a choice to use this skill.

    Nonetheless, the externalisation of problems is also fascinating. This separation from identity would be extremely empowering. Even studying a few mental health courses at university lately they have demonstrated how a medical diagnosis can become the identity of the individual and even mould that person’s behaviour to more closely fit that diagnosis. Once that person is labelled and their identity is founded on this problem it is difficult for someone to realise they are capable of acting a different way. When someone expects you to act in a certain way, you will. Externalisation is much needed in the mental health area.

  141. I really appreciate this course. As a social worker and music therapist learning about narrative therapy is opening up ways I can facilitate conversations that allow people to tap into creativity, tell their story in new and preferred ways. My mind is spinning with ways I can incorporate music and expressive arts in this process as I’m sure I will find others already have. Thank you to Dulwich Centre for the care and thoughtfulness put in to gathering these materials. It has really enlivened my work.

  142. Hi Chris,

    My name is Alberto, I’m a student studying the masters of Narrative therapy at Melbourne Uni and a counsellor in Kensington.
    I viewed your video on Friday Afternoons at the Dulwich and was really taken aback at the brilliant work you and your colleagues are doing. I myself have been wanting to utilise nature in some group work I am involved in here in Melbourne particularly with an older mens group who all experience chronic pain/ mobility issues and isolation. At the moment we also have a social work student with us who is interested in Wilderness Therapy and I was wondering if you could share some of the resources you used on your walks with us so that we could potentially get something sorted here.

    We’ll keep you in the loop if anything does progress,

    Thanks again for the brilliant sharing of ideas!

    • Hi Alberto, Thank you for your comments. I developed Narrative Walks in the hope that people would adapted it to suit all kinds populations. It excites me to see people thinking about this too. Your work sounds very interesting and I would really enjoy hearing about how you go about this. I will send you across the manual and workbook I use currently. Thankyou CD

  143. This looks amazing and really valuable. Is there any upcoming training or workshops that would run through how to faciliate something like this?

    • Not at this point Kate. I would love to in the future if interest grows. The best I can do at the moment is invite you to the next Narrative Walks program we are doing in Perth to experience for yourself. I will send you the details. Thankyou CD

  144. Thank you Mark for explaining and clearly presenting some of the foundational values of narrative practices. Always appreciate learning from you!

  145. The outsider witness role in Narrative family therapy is pivotal as this enables the “thickening” and “validation” to the stories and difficulties expressed by the family.
    So glad I was involved years ago in Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Suffolk, England.

  146. I currently work as a Crisis Nurse within an NHS Child and Adolescent Response Team in South London.
    I previously been involved in Narrative Family Therapy as an outsider witness in the past.
    I would like to develop my and the teams skills in using a Narrative approach in engaging young people who are in Crisis due to their mental and emotional issues. Examples of externalising conversations with young people in crisis would be really helpful.

  147. enjoyable course, fascinating ideas, and of course more eager to learn and practice… looking forward for the results and certification to the next level 🙂

  148. Hi all, this is Alireza from Tehran, Iran.
    I really believe “Rescuing the said from the saying of it” enlightened me to make more documentation about the persons who come to consult with me. Writing records of the session as a letter can be a fascinating idea, I will try. I am convinced to reflect my ideas about the session and what I will hear across the talk will help people to take another point of view in their hands. This kind of therapeutic document will help them, not only in externalizing the problem but also to gain the sense of importance for the counselor. I mean, such letters can make them to know that they are important for the counselor why he/she is thinking about them, even in the absence.

  149. Hi all, this is Alireza from Tehran, Iran.
    As I learned externalizing problems is the basic technique and concept which help both the counselor and the person who comes to consult with us to set a goal to achieve, in a cooperative way. “Introducing Sugar” was the most attractive article which I have read twice. The structure of the article which is articulated as a scenario inspired me a lot to re-form it about any other problems. For example, addiction in my society is a kind of problem internalized for many persons and of course many families that can be personified across externalizing methods. But in some contexts, I think, it must assume as a multi-factorial phenomenon and it must have various faces to be introduced.

  150. How beautiful! Thank you for sharing this program, Chris. I wish I could implement an outdoor program like this where I live but I do see great potential in tweaking these ideas to create an indoor, weekly group that is much different from your standard psycho-ed group about anxiety, depression, etc. We are working towards creating some therapy groups in the community centre I work at and this lovely program has gotten my narrative juices flowing. Thank you again–from Toronto : )
    Wendy

    • Thank you Wendy. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] and I can send you over the materials I use. I would love to hear about how your program goes. CD

  151. I would like to know if Anthony is originally from Alice Springs. I did a Course called the Niche Program (Canadian Indian mixed with the Aboriginal Culture and History. This was in 1991 1992.

  152. Our constitution is our most defining document, while our anthem, flag and Australia Day, our tricorne, are also crucial, reflecting and moulding who we are.
    We are:
    • a diverse multicultural society; with
    • two indigenous races; and
    • a British heritage with a legacy that many treasure.
    However, we are first and foremost a unique, independent country.
    Consider “Aussie values”. They are a vague concept, but clearly equality is one – “a fair go for all” to put it in Aussie vernacular. We could hardly say our origins encapsulated this. Quite the reverse. We were a penal colony. If anything, it grew out of a reaction against these origins. Whatever the case, it is distinctly and uniquely Australian.
    I want the things that define us to focus on our uniqueness and independence, not on just one part of our society. I think it is crucial to our national psyche going forward.
    January 26 marks the day in 1788 the British flag was first raised on our land, proclaiming NSW (as it was then defined) as a British colony. The first fleet had arrived two days earlier and anchored at Botany Bay.
    So we celebrate our national identity on a day when a foreign flag was planted on our soil. This lands for me as un-Australian by definition.
    I also get that Jan 26 is not a cause for celebration for our indigenous people. It marks the day on which the destruction of their lives began. Consider that our claim to support reconciliation is a sham as long as we retain that date as Australia Day. Our national day should unite us.
    I note that many of the suggested alternative dates would put the focus on our indigenous people instead and that to me repeats the same mistake.
    I don’t mind May 8, Mate Day, except it is a bit too blokey for some. I don’t mind ANZAC Day, except some will see it as glorifying war. I prefer September 1, National Wattle Day. Golden Wattle is our national flower. It is something we can all rally to.
    Clearly our flag also lands as un-Australian to me, including as it does that same foreign flag. Consider this alternative:

    Our red centre under a clear Australian sky soon after the sun has set, with the Southern Cross oriented as it was at reveille on the centenary of ANZAC – the same colours as our current flag, reflecting our British heritage; a flag that reflects our indigenous races, both of whom have a strong affinity to land and sky. Subtle references, not “in your face”. A flag everyone can relate to, even those who have neither a British or indigenous heritage.
    There have been many similar suggestions, but the unique aspect of this is morning stars in a night sky evoking the words “At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them”.
    Our anthem is the least contentious of the tricorne and it’s almost passable as is. However, written in the 19th century, it is now somewhat archaic and again many indigenous people do not relate to it. My preference is to adopt “I am Australian” as our anthem. It best reflects who we are and it is a great song. However, I would also be happy with Advance Australia Fair using the new words proposed by the Dulwich Centre. So very well done.
    As for the Constitution, I expect on balance I prefer to leave it as it is.
    I am not in favour of constitutional recognition of our indigenous people, or of a treaty, nor am I in favour of any form of indigenous sovereignty, all for the same reason already expressed: I don’t want to single out any section of our society as “more special” than others. “Australians all let us rejoice”, I say.
    I also have serious concerns about the call to remove “racist” clauses from our constitution, but there has been far too little truth telling on this topic to unravel it here. Suffice it to say that:
    * Australian law as it stands allows for land rights; and
    * If we remove the power to make laws based on race, perhaps land rights will be diminished.
    To me, the only sense in which that power is “racist” is that it pertains to race just as the Racial Discrimination Act does. I can’t see any negative, demeaning connotation to it.
    I would like to see indigenous Australians step up to the plate in several respects:
    1. Closing the Gap. Certainly they will need to work in partnership with the nation in this, but I would like to see them initiate a Truth Telling around all aspects of it and drive the debate on how best to achieve it;
    2. Culture. We missed an opportunity with the Comm Games. Every LGA in Australia should support 3 or 4 events a year with roughly 50:50 indigenous and non-indigenous participation. Let us honour Pastor Doug Nicholls and make “walking together” a reality;
    3. Environment. To me, environmental responsibility is an obligation on all of us and we are all custodians of the land. I would like to see our traditional custodians promote custodianship, not just in relation to their traditional lands, but for the nation as a whole.
    I look forward to reading responses.

  153. A beautiful way to bring the many different people of our land together. I’ll be sharing this with friends and family to create opportunities for discussion and further support. It’s time our nation grew up and this is a fantastic way to lead us on.

  154. Love it. How can we get it changed.its beautiful, respectful and inclusive. Well done.

    We need to get this as the national anthem

  155. Gave me goosebumps. What an incredible offering to all of Australia’s people. Best and most appropriate alternative anthem I’ve ever heard. How can we help to promote this more?

  156. I like this a lot and would back it as our national anthem

  157. Hello! It’s Jade again, from Toronto.

    Wow… this chapter was very invigorating! It is too easy to become discouraged, overwhelmed or hopeless when speaking with others who are experiencing problems that are systemic in nature. It can also be discouraging working within a system that tells one-dimensional stories of people’s lives, placing the problem in an individual or family (I liked Sue Mann’s term, the ‘hospital story’).

    Reading about the ways people have reclaimed their stories, and taken up place as authors, is quite incredible! I strongly believe that recognizing structural forces and systems of power is essential for any practice with people. “Just Therapy” and the other experiences the folks in this module speak about provides some hopeful tools that I will definitely try to build on. Moving from an individualized, medical view of ‘problems’ to one that is structural and systemic is very refreshing!

    I love the collaborative record writing, and will try this in the future. Collaborations with communities for social justice efforts is something that is important to me in my life, but seeing the ways it can be directly intertwined with support practices inspires me. It is great to see therapists, counselors and other support workers holding space for radically deconstructing oppressions, internalized and external. Here in Canada, decolonising practices are very relevant, too.

    I can see how these acts of liberative collaboration could feel like swimming upstream against a current, especially working in a system that is based in individualized, medicalized dominant discourses. When Sue Mann wrote about balancing safety with giving people autonomy over their records, it resonated with me, as I struggle with this in my work on a crisis line. It is difficult to negotiate mandatory protocols that are put in place to ensure somebody’s safety, but “safety” is informed by a dominant narrative that contains certain types of values. This may not always feel empowering for people. It seems that Sue Mann has grown and worked a lot towards empowering people even in systems that can make it difficult to do so. That was so inspiring and educational to read, and I hope I can learn to work like that!

    Thank you to Dulwich Centre and everybody for these contributions. I am looking forward to seeing the opportunities this stance may open.

  158. Love it bring it on my wife cried

  159. This version is wonderful. Great words and beautifully sung. So much more truthful than our out dated current anthem which I can’t stand.
    How can we progress this version?

  160. I appreciated your lovely welcome – Thank you.
    This therapeutic modality really resonates with me & I can hardly wait to complete this course and support people to tell their stories, too.

  161. Hello! This is Jade, from Toronto, Canada.

    I found David Epston’s discussion around anthropology and co-research to be quite enlivening. I love the idea of “ethnographic imagination” and “informed not knowing”. In particular, the statement that resonated with me was:

    “Within the field of therapy, for many years there was an implicit assumption that in order to help someone you must know a great deal about them… However, ‘informed not knowing’ is still knowing a lot. To be able to assist people to know their own knowledge is a considerable form of expertise. It requires a different sort of inquiry, one that involves setting to one side one’s own assumptions, making no pretences that you can know another’s experience and ‘walk in their shoes’, but rather entering into an inquiry based on ethnographic imagination, whereby you seek their versions of how they go about the living of their lives.”

    I’ve always found the idea of “empathy” (or ‘walking in somebody’s shoes’) to have a lot of problematic elements, but I’ve never quite been able to untangle that and find the word that captures a different sort of relating. I feel that an inquiry of “informed not knowing” is so spot on, and I love the possibilities it opens, as well as an emphasis on relating in a way that cherishes differences rather than empathy, which I feel is based on valuing similarities and can tend to erase those important differences and the rich, full narrative somebody is sharing. I think that “empathy” (or maybe, practice based on a value of empathy) risks creating single-storied narratives. I love the possibilities that open up with an honouring, anthropological stance!

  162. Thank you for this course! I have just uploaded the essay, I look forward to hearing from you, and to continuing this work.

  163. I accidentally came upon this anthem on twitter. It is wonderful and so appropriate and inclusive. What an amazing achievement. Beautifully sung by Kutcha Edwards too. I hope you are able to publicise it some more…get it on TV and radio. I would think the great majority of Australian people would love it if only they knew about it.

  164. I’m excited to do more reading and learning around all of the topics. I feel like I could start with the externalising conversations, I have an idea for a document clients might be interested in writing, and am definitely going to continue thinking about justice doing and examining privilege.
    Many thanks for the course, I have been promoting it!!

  165. Sydney, Australia
    Lots to think about! Was good to get a short and clear explanation of structuralism and post structuralism. I have been reflecting on the people I have met along the way who have helped me gain some insight into my privilege, it’s a life long journey. I suppose that’s one thing critical thinking means to me, to keep my radar on for what I’m saying, doing, not saying, not doing etc.

  166. I particularly enjoyed the “Externalizing-Commonly Asked Questions”. This article provided a very approachable structure for diving into how narrative therapy works in practice – not just in theory. Similar to the “Introducing Sugar” article, the question that one may think of as they finally start to practice, were presented to us, and answered in depth. This allowed me to think about questions, and understand solutions and the advice of an expert before putting this practice into action. It got me thinking about how I will personally integrate this into my practice, and what it will look like.

    Problems that could be externalized in my context: depression, anxiety, worthlessness, harsh judgement, fear of failure, impostor syndrome.

    Externalization of these afflictions is so powerful because separating yourself from any one of these symptoms, or beliefs, is the first step to taking back your power. We know that it is belief in control, not control, that protects individuals from depression and victimization. The practice of externalizing reinforces the belief in control and helps to reinforce this constructive way of thinking.

  167. Alkmaar, The Netherlands

    I am delighted by this course and very grateful for your efforts and Philippa’s guidance. Thank you for offering all these resources for free and constructing the material in such an inviting manner.

    I resonate with the values and methods of Narrative Therapy and I’m excited to deepen my understanding. Particularly the ideas of Externalizing and Outsiders Witnesses speak to me as ‘liberating’ concepts to lessen the power of negative self talk and identities that undermine us in a creative and even playful way. I have spontaneously used these ideas in my own life and it worked; I’ll apply them more and start exploring them in my work with others.

    Many thanks and warm greetings from The Netherlands!

  168. This is really interesting. I look forward to the rest of the course!

  169. Alkmaar, The Netherlands

    Mary Heaths’ contribution was helpful to me to better understand the importance of critical thinking and how it is connected to a process of personal development; the intersection of barriers and support on the individual level that either inhibit or sustain our willingness and ability to think critically.

    bell hooks’ words on safety not as agreement, but as knowing how to cope in situations of risk, and how that opens up the possibility of being safe in situations where there is disagreement and even conflict, were an eyeopener.

    Personally I see an opportunity for growth here in taking the emotions out of critical feedback and looking at it more objectively. Also putting my own hardships and or vulnerability into perspective given my privilege as a white person, for example. This helps to get unstuck when I can be stuck in feeling victimized.

  170. Alkmaar, The Netherlands

    I have collaborated and am collaborating now with a Dutch foundation and an Nigerian pastor/social worker, to jointly create a project for restorative justice interventions aiming at African migrants in our country. What makes collaboration possible is a joint vision, open attitude, willingness to build bridges on both sides and experience on all sides in working with other cultures. Challenges can be ‘not knowing what we don’t know’ with regards to cultural miscommunications, and blind spots for white privilege on behalf of us the Dutch partners.

    Reading the Just Therapy excerpt, makes me think that the idea of the Dutch partners being accountable to a African migrant community council could be a good idea, since the interventions are meant to address marginalized African migrants.

  171. I love the concept of finding a balance of the stories of our life. We can’t pretend that some stories haven’t happened but we can create balance by thickening others! Love this TED talk (-:

  172. I am responding from Perth, Western Australia.

    As a uni tutor and writer
    the narrative metaphor offers a way of understanding ourselves, and others, holistically.
    Students introduce themselves to me by explaining who they are and why they want tuition; in effect telling their story, even if it’s a brief one. They elaborate on it during sessions and I offer them parts of mine. We are learning about each other, understanding each other’s needs through the stories; using the way we tell them, the words we choose and the questions we ask each other.
    Narratives in human communication are so important and so enriching for the teller and the listener.

  173. Wow! What to write? I am a teaching assistant in the UK who has had ELSA training by EPS to help children with emotional litercay needs. This is something that I strongly beleive is necessary for our young children as does the school I work with. Over the last two years, I have learned alot and as I continue my journey, I am learning more everyday! I am curious about learning more regarding Narrative Therapy, to further my skills and therefore further help children who need that support. So far, I am understand that Narrative Therapy is a means to help people recognise who they are, what they have and know and realise that they can use their stengths to find their inner self and face everything and anything that comes before them during their lives. As I continue this learning journey, I hope to understand more and be able to help make a postive difference in someones life.

  174. Hello, my name is Jade, and I’m a student in Spiritual Care & Psychotherapy based in Toronto, Canada.

    I absolutely loved the concepts presented in this chapter, and it sparks ideas of the many creative ways documentation can be used across a variety of settings.

    In particular, I do arts workshops and hope to eventually practice psychotherapy with the LGBTQ2SIA+ community here in Toronto, and I think the idea of “rescuing the said from the saying of it” is particularly resonant for me, working within (and being a member of myself) such marginalized communities that have experienced trauma.

    I find the idea of outsider witnesses especially empowering, as I tend to gravitate towards a peer-based, communal approach. I feel that outsider witnesses are a valuable tool I’d love to incorporate that into my future practice.

    The “narratives in a suitcase” project was especially poignant. After reflecting on everything in this module, it inspired me to think up ways I can incorporate documents into my work right now with the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, and in peer mental health support. I love the idea of tailoring the sorts of documents to the culture and life situations of the folks who create them. There is so much potential! It makes me think of “zines”, which are a popular form of expression in the Queer community here, where young people put art, poems, words, and instructions of self-care in a booklet, then self publish it to distribute to others who share similar experiences of sexuality, mental health, oppression, and trauma. I think it would be really neat to integrate collective narrative documents of these sorts with the medium of “zines”! When I get a better handle on narrative practice, I might like to try this.

    Thank you for providing this fantastic course— it gives me so much hope for the future, and I’m looking forward to diving into the next module.

  175. Sydney,australia
    Some really interesting and inspiring ideas, the article about note taking was thought-provoking, I have been aware of the power of what is written in client notes, but there are other factors such as organisational and legal requirements which could complicate collaborative note taking, for example a client might not want me to record a suicide attempt or drug taking when these could have implications for child safety…..I will think about this some more!! Thanks for an amazing course so far x

  176. Paulo Friere makes an interesting point about education no longer being seen as formation, just as training. While elevating the idea of freedom, it does appear as though the dreams and hopes of the individual believer become subjugated to the mass, whether in small communities or large. Within such a system, ‘legalism’ can counteract ‘faith’, forming a spirit that is biased towards actions (externalized vain rituals), which appear ‘more correct’ than words regarding hopes and/or dreams. The environment in which this nurturing occurs is important: a judgmental, harsh atmosphere creates critical, carping people, whereas an atmosphere of nurturing and care gives people the space to intelligently question concepts which may just be social prescription.

    When something goes wrong in a community, whether, for example a family, or a church community, foundations can become shaky. The hope and faith of many is called in question and members tend to isolate themselves with others who feel the same as they do. The only way to prevent a fracture in the ‘body’ is to communicate in an open manner. In this a remembering of the how, what and why this community gathers is reinforced. It is good to learn to know that when one member of a close community suffers, all the members suffer. As with the tree of life projects, I use a ‘seed of truth’ metaphor, which has developed through the marriage of creative writing, art, narrative therapy and art therapy. Externalizing and the witness of the drawing give a voice to the many unshakable foundations we actually have in our lives, and the truths which govern the setting sun or the genetic information contained in a seed. Such knowledge is comforting, a stable foundation on which a community can build a house of hope, which will not be subjected to every wind of change. Music too is an instrument of intensity, capable of producing penetrating emotional redirection and awareness.

    • Hello my name is Tom from Bristol UK. I can’t find a way to make any direct comments for some reason but I am able to respond to Cheryl and her interesting comments, so I will do that instead.

      Paulo Freire reflections in ‘Making History and Unveiling Oppression’ were insightful. Thank you for your additional comments which I also found useful. It was refreshing to frame social injustice through a bigger narrative of the prevailing neo-liberal story and ask how can we be writing alternatives in our communities.

      I will be adopting the Tree of Life project in a refugee scholarship programme I am involved with. We want to nurture the individuals, tackle the isolation they experience and draw them together as a group, it seems like an excellent exercise to do this as it is multi-faceted and well structured. I like your inclusion of the ‘seed of truth’ metaphor in that exercise.

      I was inspired by the Mt Elgon Self-Help Community Project – the way that the community had reframed the role of the sun and the wind in their communities, linking the efforts of the young people with their ancestors was profound.

  177. The power of connection to self and others and the acceptance of difference that accompanies this which is captured so well in times of grief and draws so beautifully on our strengths. What is not to love about this type of work.

  178. As a Social Worker I find the concept of identifying different narratives that I and others have created a very powerful approach. Both in my life and in the life of the people that I work with. By reflecting critically on how these different narratives affect me and whose interest they serve I have been able to break free from some of the oppressive narratives in my life.

    A toxic narrative that I have been able to identify is, “I’m only valuable to society if I am working in a paid job.” I have identified that I have received this narrative through a variety of different people, institutions, systems, structures and stories. During a period of transitioning between professions I have had periods of unemployment while undertaking further education. That narrative has knocked my self confidence down a number of pegs. However, since I have identified it, discovered the exceptions, analysed who benefits from that narrative and began reauthoring a new narrative. I have began to regain my self confidence as I begin my new career as a social worker. These narrative concepts will be invaluable in supporting people as a Social Worker.

  179. Writing from Montreal, Canada. Thank you for such an engaging, informative and accessible course. In reflecting on my work with clients and my own stories, I thought about the importance and beauty of zooming out, choosing different angles, widths, lenses. How when we focus on single (thin) aspects we don’t see or understand the whole picture or ecosystem- the realities,impressions, events, good, bad ugly and otherwise. That we need to consider a full picture, with varying shades, light and darkness, color and texture, rather than mono-tonal, flat pictures that don’t tell the whole story or capture the whole landscape. We cannot see the forest for the trees without zooming out and allowing more than one tree to enter the point of view.

  180. Greetings from the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia – Canada

    Many thanks to the Dulwich Centre, and those participating in this forum for a great introduction to this therapy modality. As a Masters of Social Work student I appreciate the flexibility of the Narrative Therapy doctrine to meet the client “where they are at” and its ability to build an new “at” location using client based and accessible data points. Moreover, I appreciate what I see as the scalability of Narrative Therapy and its flexibility to meet the practitioner (student to accomplished professional) at their own skill level. Allowing the practitioner and modality to grow together as one moves from assisting with the exploration of a client’s dominant narrative (thin description) to acting as a guide for a re-authoring that could have profound impacts on an individual’s whole experience (framing of the past, moving through the now, and planning for the future).

    I am excited to continue my exploration of Narrative Therapy under the guidance of the Dulwich Centre, and with the assistance of those also just starting/returning to this program.

    Kind Regards,

    Shane

  181. I find narrative therapy to be helpful, as this practice is one of the most empowering I’ve come across, to date, By recognizing dominant story lines, and challenging them, we take back our own narrative power. We are all writing our own stories as we live, and interpret our experiences. We all have the power to challenge the conclusions in which we arrive, especially those that empower a negative and limiting narrative about ourselves.
    One of the simplest questions that I ask myself, or others, when continuing to draw negative conclusions, or further a negative narrative: Is it true?
    This does not mean is it true “for you”, this means is it necessarily true. If the answer is no, then there is room to edit this story in a way that can be more self empowering/ helpful in your own narrative.

  182. carmen from sydney australia, I loved the tree of life idea and have shared it with a few of my colleagues, am thinking of trying it out in a community group I run. I was also very inspired by vikki reynolds’s video.
    btw I couldn’t find the radio program via the link though.

  183. Thanks for the warm welcome! i am looking forward to taking part in sharing of stories in a way that make us stronger. i work with children in the rural communities and this is a need.

  184. Greetings to all

    Feeling enriched by this chapter, and I love the engaging way of the conversations presented here, both in writing and on video. Reading/watching material presented in this personal way, makes studying these topics quite effortless, though I love it that the information provided is sometimes quite elaborate.

    The suitcase metaphor appealed to me, and I will keep that one in mind when talking to my colleague about our work with migrants ho experience marginalization here in the Netherlands.

    Also I liked the outsider witness practices and the emphasis on celebrating the clients live through acknowledgement of how preferred narratives have moved and enriched the witness.

    Thank you !

  185. Greetings from Alkmaar, The Netherlands

    I enjoyed this lesson and particularly related to the WHO video.
    Looking back I’ve spontaneously used the ‘externalization’ approach with fear of insomnia in my mid 20s, it was effective and externalization, to me, brings with it a sense of freedom, playfulness and creativity. In short, it takes me from a place of feeling stuck and fearful to seeing possibilities again.

    I wonder to what extent ‘positive’ traits are externalized in narrative therapy? Is externalizing something a strategic choice for getting the best outcome for solving a problem or is it a standard approach because narrative therapy is based on the view that our identity is constructed by personal/cultural/collective narratives ?

    I work in the field of restorative justice and I’m interested in applying narrative approaches to restorative interventions. I look forward to learn more.

    Greetings, Femke
    (My first attempt to leave a comment failed so I’m trying a second time)

  186. Hello from Bangalore, India.
    Thank you for this wonderful introduction to Narrative Therapy. The word tapestry resonates so well with the idea behind this form of therapeutic healing, that is not a single thread but the entire weave is what makes the experience. I am so glad at least one form of therapy gives equal credence to different genders, socio-economic strata and cultures when talking about people’s lives as survivors and victors of trauma (and not mere victims) than only a white, middle-class, male perspective.

  187. Cheryl Penn, South Africa.
    The absolutely soulful images of Shaun Tan, lends credence to the notion that documentation is not just about writing and/or speaking, its also about producing images as documentation, no matter how naïve or unformed they may be. Stencils are easily made for those who feel they cant paint and the surprising thing is how individual each glyph is, as much as handwriting. Glyphs can also be so loaded and they offer immediate visual nudges which are often increasingly more emotive than words. Words, sometimes hastily written and written ‘the same’ are visually quite one dimensional in accessing creativity in order to solve problems. Further, I have also found that people are quite reticent to share written words, as though committing them to paper gives the emotion a notion of guilt – ‘what if someone else found this and read it’, whereas a glyph can actually have great meaning for the maker, allowing it to sit in the public space without giving the viewer too much information. Documentation in any format is a very valuable tool in therapy as the articles have expressed.

  188. Sherri from Melbourne, Australia here. I found all of the projects inspiring and heart-warming, and I think that the essence of empowering people to find answers and strength within themselves and their community is a great foundation for any project or initiative.

    I just wondered if anyone has experiences of working with interpreters when taking a narrative therapy approach and how they have found this?

    Secondly, there was a specific issue that cropped up amongst clients who had migrated to Australia and presented with pain and injury as a primary diagnosis, but were referred for support with symptoms of depression and anxiety (potentially PTSD also). Are there some good narrative resources on pain management and links between physical and mental health that are available or examples of initiatives targeting these issues with people from a narrative perspective?

    Thanks for such a richness of resources and materials you’ve provided here.

  189. London-UK

    Reflections on the Narrative Metaphor

    The narrative metaphor offers a framework for social constructionist ideas to be implemented in a psycho-educative way to service-users. I think it’s strengths lie in the commonality with reading novels (which most have been exposed to). It also provides a temporal transcendance to childhood. The idea of the simplicity of texts, at this level, moving along with what one would be capable of during adolescence and into adulthood. By the end of this process, the expectation would be that the ability of the client to produce thick and rich complex stories, would grow in the way that ability does with development.

    Psychotherapy is a developmental intervention. This framework offers a structure through which a practitioner can conceptualise growth in non-linear terms.

  190. In my current role, there is a large demand for administration and care coordination documentation and correspondence to be regularly sent. It has at times provided oppoopportunity to adapt this towards a more personalised and individual theraputic letter. I feel challenged to do this, yet affirmed by David’s words on the power of written language. I often spend lengthy periods trying to find the exact words or expression to articulate the right tone and meaning within correspondence to clients. The idea of inserting reflective questions to keep the collaborative spirit alive within correspondence.

    Wellness and Safety Plans are a tool I already use as a planning document, and they can be documents of knowledge or documents for circulation. I’m frequently looking for more ways to make these documents more client-centred and a process where they feel more engaged and better understood, rather than just a document that needs to be completed.

    In previous roles, I have utilised a peer worker as an outsider witness. This was a really effective use of a person with a lived experience in engaging clients and initiating deeper conversation about people’s experiences of managing their mental health. This resource is not as freely available in my current role, and it has left me aware of the value of an appropriate and skilled outsider witness.

  191. I have recently been reading about shame and how it impacts of our perception of ‘who we are’ as opposed to ‘what we do’. I can see how externalising helps people to separate themselves from the shame of the problem/s in their lives and thereby allows them to work towards a future not being controlled or debilitated this shame.

  192. The absolutely soulful images of Shaun Tan, lends credence to the notion that documentation is not just about writing and/or speaking, its also about producing images as documentation, no matter how naïve or unformed they may be. I have devised a system of easily made stencils to depict emotion (I don’t make them, they are made by class participants), which as immediate visual nudges are often increasingly more emotive than words. Words, sometimes hastily written and written ‘the same’ are visually quite one dimensional in accessing creativity in order to solve problems. Further, I have also found that people are quite reticent to share written words, as though committing them to paper gives the emotion a notion of guilt – ‘what if someone else found this and read it’, whereas a glyph can actually have great meaning for the maker, allowing it to sit in the public space without giving the viewer too much information.

    Cheryl Penn
    South Africa

  193. Hi Tiffany

    I just watched your video. It deepened my understanding of how to work with hopelessness when it knocks on my own door and that of others. Thanks a bunch.

    • Hi Gene,

      Thank you for this comment! Your and Jill’s work has been so meaningful in my own practice. If you ever want to chat about hopelessness, or if you have ideas about furthering this work (which feels very embryonic), I would be so interested!

  194. London calling! Thank you for sharing your introduction stories – Really looking forward to this course and learning more about how to integrate this Narrative element into my current life/work world!

  195. Greetings to all from the Netherlands

    I found the Dulwich Centre and this course because I came across the Charter of Storytelling Rights, which I resonate with deeply. Likewise I’m very excited to learn about Narrative Therapy and the narrative metaphor.
    To me this is like a new lense through which to look at my own and other peoples’ life; a way of looking that is not etched in stone but fluid and creative. To become aware of our dominant or thin story and to realize it is a construct (instead of ‘the truth’), and that there are more constructive narratives possible that work for us rather than against us to me is incredible freeing. I was reminded of Erich Fromms work ‘Mans search for Meaning’, how our freedom to choose how to give meaning to our experiences is something that can never be taken away.
    Interesting as well that our own narratives exist within the context of cultural and societal narratives; which can either constrict or strengthen our sense of personal agency.

    I find this introduction to the narrative metaphor and thin and thick stories very enrichening and it awakens my curiosity about the narrative that people in my life have about themselves. And to re-examine the narratives I have about them in order to maintain my dominant narrative.

  196. I am really enjoying the humble approach of narrative therapy, particularly in regards to relating to people of diverse backgrounds. The “introducing sugar” reading was such a great use of externalising to engage with a target group that have not related to health information presented in other formats.

  197. As much as I value words I am reminded again and again of the connections we make to place through images, metaphors and sound. That many opportunities exist if we are open to exploring them for people to step away from the heaviness of things like shame, that what lies beneath is strong because it drives many along without quite knowing how or why. To bring that which is hidden forward is such a gift to witness, participate in and experience. It reconnects me to the many reasons why I love counselling for it is so much more than simple words.

  198. In listening and reading of resistance and survival I am taken to a place of reflection. Reflecting on my own family’s story of leaving a home country because of the impact of war, of traumas that have occurred in our family both known and unnamed, and my own experience of family violence. Taken to a place to reflect on the strengths shared and drawn on to ensure emotional and psychological survival. The part that music, words and dance have played across generations. How easily these can be lost when we take a path of avoiding pain when we don’t know how to carry it with us and don’t know how to seek support to do the same … and how powerful, hope full and strengthening it is to collectively find ways to trust to feel again, to connect in our humanity and nourish those parts of self that are still there in spite of the traumas.

  199. In my work as a teacher I have seen how young people understand and crave stories quite naturally and how it is possible to use this urge to enhance their learning. In my own life, the power of story has also had a significant influence on my development. In my mid-twenties I hiked the Camino de Santiago from Pamplona and had 33 days, while walking, to reflect. Each day I wrote in my journal about the journey and, nearing the end, I could see how transformative the journey had been. On the trail I had finally had the chance to re-evaluate the experiences of my life to that point. In the months afterwards I took it upon myself to try and write down the most important events of my life up until that point. This exercise continued the process of re-evaluation, wherein I began to see who I was throughout all of the events in my life in a new way. None of this was planned (well, the lessons were planned while I was teaching and I *did* put a good amount of planning into packing my bags for the Camino). My students’ craving for story came naturally, my mind went to the place of story while hiking unbid, the desire to write my life story came from within – this points to something powerful.

    To me, the narrative metaphor is a name for something that humans do anyway – we long for and enjoy stories AND they can help us to understand ourselves and our lives.

    Thank you for this free on-line course. I’m looking forward to the rest.

    All the best from Vancovuer, Canada.

  200. Writing from The U.S.

    Watching the TED TALK on “The dangers of the single story” is what resonated with me for this portion of the lesson. People could really benefit from this talk because we all fall victim to the single story as well as abusers and users of the single story.
    Avoiding the single story mindset takes active thinking to push yourself to be a more evolved human to better your relationships, your way of thinking, and your environment.

  201. Hi, My name is Jennifer!

    After reading this I believe externalizing is not only a key concept for Narrative Therapy, but also for daily living. If people weren’t as judgmental and didn’t objectify people seeing them purely as their problems life would be a whole lot kinder.
    It’s important to take a step back when you believe you know the answer about someone.
    I also think I should attempt to not only use the concept of externalizing with clients and my relationships, but should also attempt using it for myself.

  202. Kitchener, ON Canada
    I found the WHO video very helpful. The visualization of the dog really seems to capture the spoken description. The visual magnified the spoken word. Thank you!

  203. Greetings from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
    The narrative metaphor allows us to understand how our stories are shaped by our own perspective and the influence of others. I am intrigued by the complexity of story lines and the impact of the rich and the thin aspects of story. It seems the narrative metaphor works to open the individual perspective to encompass the many stories that are part of their experience. The work of Chimamanda Adichie, along with the line diagram visual, are particularly useful in demonstrating this concept.
    The variety of video, audio, and written formats provide an interesting mix for this online learning. The written and audio presentation from Michael White allowed me to experience the information in different ways. Thank you! I look forward to the rest of the course.

  204. I really loved the WHO video and the statement of position worksheet for mapping. In my experience externalizing can be done relatively easy but I think this lesson has made the point that there is a level of shallowness that can be done (as a therapist trying to externalize) that limits the depth of the therapeutic activity that can easily follow.

  205. Love this version,it brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully sung as well.

  206. It is so inspiring. So beautifully sung. The version by Judith Durham makes my spine tingle

    Politicians of all persausions take note as it will happen !!

    It actually reflects what a lot of Australians feel deep down

    • A beautiful rendition with great lyrics – what a voice! All Australian’s should join forces and make this change happen. It’s about time and this is what the people want.

  207. Yes yes Please I have thought about this a lot I am sick of seeing our children sing this song and lie about us having boundless plains to share !

  208. Absolutely love this. An anthem to be proud of.

  209. Bill Stewart from Kenosha WI. I enjoyed this section. In discussing critical thinking and privilege, I reflected on the opportunities in my life and experiences that led me to becoming a professional in this career. While i do not take any of this for granted, I think it can be difficult to take ourselves out of our positions but it is important to do so in order to build empathy and understand our clients better. As a director of a therapy agency, I encourage my staff to gain a deep understanding of our clients and families, therefore strengtening the relationship we have with our clients and better understanding how they view their own strengths and challenges.

  210. This was a very interesting section. I will be making efforts to integrate outsider witnesses in upcoming sessions for sure as i do see the benefit of it. Our work involves a team approach so often outsider witnesses are formal supports such as other counselors, professionals etc. Finding informal witnesses may be challenging as often in our cases, the family all contribute to the client’s thin descriptions and are not seen as outsider witnesses. I think one thing to possibly discuss is changing the family’s role to that of witness which would then assist then in reframing and redefining the thin descriptions as well. Sorry thinking out loud 🙂

  211. This was a solid introduction to the course. I feel that storytelling is an important part of our culture and defining ourselves within our family and social contexts. It is how we interact and engage with others, identify commonalities and form deeper connections.

  212. Dec 19 2018
    Northern Territory.

    When an individual experiences trauma, they change. At the present level of human social empathy and mentality, these changes become stigmatising and are viewed negatively, becoming part of the trauma, forcing the individual/group to the fringes, experiencing isolation…The worst of outcomes. Narrative Therapy metaphor, seems to give opportunity for the traumatised to tell their story, become normalised through experiencing acceptance of extraordinary outcomes from extra ordinary circumstance, including the intricacy of other running narratives from the past, to form healthier and even transformative future narratives. A skilled NT practitioner would be like a godsend for the traumatised who are unfairly judged and stereotyped and garbaged.

  213. I love it! Original words written 1878. High time they reflected modern Australia, as these do. I have shared it on my Fb page. Will also send ti to selected players.

  214. Brilliant and absolutely has my vote for the national anthem.

  215. Yes yes, this includes us all, would gladly stand and sing this with pride.

  216. Absolutely love this Anthem. I would love this to become our National Anthem. It says so much more than the other one. Please send it to our Politicians and get them to listen to it.

  217. Amandine Rozet from Turkey

    Which resource in this chapter particularly caught your attention and why?

    I really appreciated the world health organization short film. I always understand and learn more quiclky with images. I could understand the concept of externalization “intellectually” but now I understand it with all my mind.

    What sort of problems could be externalised in your context?
    Teenagers feel that they are “unfit” to their world (school and parents) and this is highly emotionnal for them. By externalizing the problem, it is easier to define it and to remedy to it.

    What difference might this make?
    Externalizing allows me to deeply understand the problem and its issues instead of going too quiclky to the solution (I’m a coach and “solution-oriented”). The person will feel more listened I believe and the therapy will be more efficient.

  218. The original anthem was for a time that was not inclusive of all the peoples of Australia. These lyrics are more rational, meaningful and relevant. Let us change the lyrics of the anthem! ASAP

  219. Love it, it gave me goosebumps. I will happily learn to word and embrace this new Anthem. It embraces inclusiveness and equality for our. This sacred land needs to adopt is powerful Anthem. Have lit on repeat, makes my heart swell with pride.

    I have sent this to my friends and family who are culturally aware and tplaced it on my fab wall.

    #Respect

  220. I really like these words and I would vote for them to be adopted as the anthem … bonus, not a girt in sight! Seriously though, these words express what I would like our values to be in this land, and reflect an intention of reconciliation.

  221. This is brilliant. It’s fair, just and inclusive. I would happily stand and sing this. I love the powerful wording and the journey from past to future. I love that it reminds us to respect all cultures and to look after the place for future generations, and tells us to respect the nations of the first peoples. From the depths of my heart, thank you for this Judith Durham, Kutcha Edwards, Lou Bennett, Camilla Chance and Bill Hauritz.
    Side note: Kutcha Edwards has an amazing set of pipes on him

  222. This is very moving. I would happily sing this anthem shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with all my brothers and sisters in our island nation. What a difference this could make in the world. I’ve shared this and will learn the words.

  223. I love this and would love to sing this. The song filled my heart with love and an appreciation for all that is. Please make this our national anthem.

  224. Absolutely love this! should be our anthem!

  225. The Shame Mat is such a powerful tool for physically representing the externalisation of Shame. I can only imagine the energy shift when the women experienced this for the first time – I’m sure the yarns would have freely flowed that day!

  226. This TED talk is so powerful. Reflecting on my experience as an Aboriginal woman – this speaks to the daily challenge of redefining the single (or more specifically,dominant) narrative that is ever present for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

    • I found myself reflecting on the conversations that I have had with an Aboriginal woman who works in my team. She is very strong and part of her resistance to colonisation is how she curates her story and doesn’t allow others to interpret it or tell her what should or shouldn’t be in it. Through her I have learned some more stories that have helped me be curious beyond the single story. Narrative has powerful effects for both the teller and listener.

  227. The narrative metaphor is created through the linkage of particular events, in line with a particular theme, over time. Emphasising these connections can make sense of events, however by creating a singular dominant story we can flatten our experiences and disempower ourselves by overlooking the variety of stories which exist. Chimamanda’s linkage of power to the single story is an interesting concept that I would like to further explore, as internal and external power relates both to the creation and the endurance of these stories.

    The narrative metaphor encourages practitioners to seek gaps in dominant stories and question what is being told. The concept of thin and thick descriptions is valuable as it directs practitioners to question thin conclusions of the self which are created by dominant, problem-saturated stories. While it makes sense theoretically for therapists to collaborate with clients in re-authoring stories, encouraging practitioners to seek ways to ‘richly describe’ these alternative stories provides direction in practice.

    Sydney, Australia

  228. I heard this Anthem on FB, just loved it. Yes, let’s change the pathetic one we have and us this one, it is so much more relevant.

  229. Thank you for the amazing opportunity. I’m looking forward to learning.

  230. Fantastic. Fantastic. Fantastic.
    Everything about it is just sublimely Fantastic!

    I’m of British heritage but born in Aus, as were some of my Grandparents and have never felt connected to the old anthem. I have been secretly praying for an new anthem, and a new flag for that matter, for our sublime country for Decades now.
    I’m so glad you hear the call of the people and have crafted this master piece!
    I’m going to invite my tribe to join me in singing this with me…..Video it….and send it over.
    I can’t wait to be a part of this change. It’s time!
    It’s sublime and definitely holds all people living on this magical land, Australia, in one container as ONE peoples.
    Thank you!
    Let’s make this happen!!!

  231. Hello fromm Turkey where I currently live with my family. Thank you for this alternative way of learning (wich is so closely related to educationnal innovations). I was being frustrated by not being able to learn Narrative practice within a community and here it is!
    As an expat, I can experiment in my day to day life how our stories about ourselves are constructed -which can be good when the story is positive about our skills “I’m this and that; I do this or that”- and how expatriation/migration can de-construct this main story. It is a challenge for a lot of expats to accept to change their stories even tough their new life demands it. I accompany them in this new path. The alternative story is like a new gem found inside you.
    Years ago, I personnaly experimented it when someone, by a few questions, changed the way I was seing my life and made me feel as an author to my life and not anymore as the victim of it. Also, I can see a lot of commun points with NLP and hypnosis which are also my tools and frameworks when coaching.

  232. I found the reading “Listening for more than one story” particularly interesting and very practical. I like the idea of making a list of the effects of the trauma in order to demonstrate that these issues do not define the individual but instead are effects of the trauma they have experienced. On the flip side making a list of the stories of resistance/healing/reclamation is a nice positive way to round it off. Both lists give the counsellor opportunities to explore further with the client. Looking forward to implementing this into my practice.

    • I loved the talks and the understanding that there are different untrue and true story’s, I can relate to the way the story’s were told about the Aboriginal people in all parts of Australia during Colonisation. How a Nation of people are judged on these story’s.

  233. What struck me was the reference to indigenous practitioners from Just Therapy. I had the honor of hearing representatives from Just Therapy (and purchasing their book) years ago here in Canada I believe in Calgary. I was struck that this was just starting to be part of their conversation in the 1980’s how far we have come – and how far we have to go – in terms of de-colonization and honoring the stories and profound wisdom past and present of indigenous peoples throughout the world (including Canada, Australia, and NZ)

  234. Love it and would love this to be our national anthem. I have shared and am going to continue to share this with others. Thank you!!!

  235. This is fantastic! A really powerful message for kids to grow up with

  236. Thank you so much for writing this article. Your wisdom surrounding the illness narrative being about the person with the illness and, (in this case, me),and the relationships between the family and the “medical professionals” providing the treatment,has left me in a place of isolation, anger, sadness, terror and all the varied nuance of emotion in between. This journey has been a very lonely one trying to get the help I need after a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Even though I distracted myself by staying busy with work and school, my mind-body-spirit completely fragmented and broke down without my permission. I’ve been left in a space of despair. My providers post surgery have been dismissive at best, and arrogant, condescending, and rude at worst.

    I’ve gotten through many traumatic situations in my life and I’ve always been able to come out on top. After dwelling in the chaos narrative for months, I am finally at a place where I am moving into a healthier quest narrative . My plan is to use this pain as a purpose so other people who have surgery causing adhesion’s, and constrictions in the soft tissue or (fascia), don’t have to deal with this type of reductive, authoritative, and frankly , quite ignorant and harmful type of treatment.

    Warm Regards,

    Julie

  237. i would take out the word And before honouring the dreaming…its not an add on it stands on its own…will sound better and makes the stepping into dreaming clearer.
    Other than that tiny adjustment, i feel this is extraordinary…i want the tshirt. I want to help

  238. This makes my heart sing with happiness. Please,can this be our new anthem

  239. I’ll be singing it this way from now on.

  240. This was very thought provoking. The outsider witness idea still seems a bit scary and difficult to me! But I love the idea of a letter summarising the work done together, and also a collection of documents of knowledges, I could imagine starting with something like that. Carmen from Sydney Australia.

  241. This makes me proud to be on this precious land! Go the change!

  242. Kind and spiritual- brings peace to my heart
    Congratulations I am guessing this wasn’t created in a day. A lot of thought has gone into this. Peace be with you.

  243. Our Anthem as it should be…love it !

    Thank you to everyone involved in pulling it all together so beautifully……it’s made my day.

  244. This an awesome anthem, the words have the meaning that is appropriate to all Australians. The best national anthem I have heard with heartfelt sentiments. I would certainly stand for this. We need the words to be published online so they can be reproduced. I will certainly take this to my children’s school with a request that it be used.

    • Hi Mandy, We’ve added the lyrics above and there is also a link to a printable pdf of the lyrics!

  245. Kutcha you have nailed it!!!

  246. Oh my! Words that actually make sense on so many levels….. And resonate very deeply! Please lets change it!

  247. can you add a link to a transcript so we can print it out for practice and Australia Day 2019 – if we can’t quite change the date for 2019 – at least we can tweak the anthem

    • Done 🙂

  248. Goosebumps here ❤️ Well done to the lyric writers! This is what I would happily sing, what would move my heart every time. Surely most Australians would agree?

  249. This makes sense. It speaks to what the country/nation is and should endeavor to be. It’s current but would speak to future generations of Australians. I live in the USA but would be proud to sing it and hear it sung. Its sentiments would instill a noble purpose in those who sing as citizens and stewards of the Australian continent.

  250. I love this version. I want to learn the lyrics and sing this. They are meaningful and suitable words for our national anthem.

    I wish we’d all simply start singing this.

  251. Love the anthem. I refuse to sing the current one as I have never agreed with it. Would sing this one.

  252. Mark, this talk was freeing to me. I don’t measure up with society’s norms and have been feeling like a loser. Now I am starting to see that as soon as I find my own truth, there is no need to adapt or live up to something. I am an ok person right now!!!

  253. The best possible Australian anthem we could possibly have. I love it and have shared with everyone I know. I would be so proud to stand for this anthem!!! Well done

  254. Your video has really made an impression on me, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Your reflection about weaponized positivity and the neoliberal admonishment to “do something” in the face of hopelessness for me really highlights the paradoxes of engaging in activism in late stage capitalism. We have weoponized positivity on the one hand and the way we are expected to respond is often to demonize (or weaponize!) hopelessness… like your sister said, in all that it is the capacity to see people as they are that is lost. As you guys wrote in your letter to Dr Ford”: What’s clear has been the value of “holding on to integrity”, of acting despite knowing the result might not be what one hopes for. Sending lots of love and solidarity from Santiago, Chile.

    • Hi Kitty,

      Thank you so much for this comment! These paradoxes of engagement are so real, and so thorny. I would love to hear if you have any further ideas or if you’d be interested in chatting about this.

      I was really inspired by the #EducaciónNoSexista movement that happened in Chile last year, and would be so interested in hearing about any ripple of effects of that action.

      Returning all that love and solidarity! Tiffany

  255. Hi, Nicola here from Perth, Western Australia.

    Which resource in this chapter particularly caught your attention and why?
    I really liked the way Mark charted his externalising conversation. He noted that he spent more time on the earlier steps of externalising and that these were necessary before step 4 (the ‘values’) could be truly addressed.

    What sort of problems could be externalised in your context?
    As an audiologist I tend to work with specific problems (for example hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis and misophonia) but Auditory Processing Disorder is my speciality. Children are brought to my clinic for a range of reasons but ‘poor listening behaviour’ is usually one of them and some kind of label is usually mentioned e.g. a parent may say ‘I was the same when I was a kid and I always thought I was stupid and I don’t want that label for my child’ or ‘we’re not sure if he is autistic or a bit deaf or he has an Auditory Processing Disorder’ or ‘we’re not sure if he’s just naughty or he really has a problem’ and so on. In fact, one of the difficulties of working in Auditory Processing is that has been stigmatised to some degree by various people because we’re working with parents who are occasionally accused of ‘label shopping’ for their children. I am deeply keen to find skillful ways of having these conversations with parents and children in ways that externalise the problem from the child, and conversations with children where they can label the problem themselves and de-centre the problem from themselves.

    What difference might this make? I think for many of the children I see, they undergo multiple assessments and understand there is a problem of some kind and are at very high risk of internalising it. I always check with parents if they’d like me to discuss test results with the child involved or with the child in the waiting room, and most choose to have the child involved. I think it is critically important that I find ways of explaining test results that externalise the problem from the child and give the parents and very importantly the child some space from the problem.

  256. This is Paddy Farr from Eugene Oregon USA. For me, in order to define critical thinking, I first have to look at the etymological roots of ‘critique.’ The word ‘critique’ has a direct connection to the crisis, or from Greek κρῐ́σῐς (krísis). In Greek, κρῐ́σῐς (krísis) means:
    Decision, determination, judgement
    Trial, sentence, accusation
    Quarrel, dispute
    turning point or decisive point of disease progression
    It is from this that Marx posits the capitalist system, because rates of profit fall with the rising rate of production, has an internal contradiction thereby forming the engine of historical materialism. However, in Marx’s view of crisis, it is not only “turning point or decisive point of disease progression,” but also the engine of critique that provides the materialist view the funds for developing a revolutionary force. It is as such that critical thinking becomes revolutionary but in a postmarxist poststructuralist work this moves beyond a mere class analysis. In the work of Outlined by Salome Raheim, the binary between bourgeois and proletariat become one intersection within the overall structure of dominant narratives. Hence, the binary of rich and poor requires the addition of a multitude of addition lines that intersect class at key moments: race, sex, gender, ability, education… Critical thought becomes the theoretical movement pressing grand narratives to the brink of destruction, toward the abolition of oppressive conditions without positing an end point. Here, negativity becomes the force that moves the world. This is what critical thought means to me.

  257. This is Paddy Farr again from Eugene Oregon USA. In this module, I was particularly struck by the importance of what Michael White termed decentered and influential practice. The explanation through the four quadrants seemed to restate his quotation from the previous module that solidarity “is constructed by therapists who refuse to draw a sharp distinction between their lives and the lives of others, who refuse to marginalize those persons who seek help, by therapists who are constantly confronting the fact that if faced with the circumstances such that provide the context of troubles of others, they just might not be doing nearly as well themselves.” The deconstruction of binary relationships between clinician and patient through decentered and influential practice this brings the importance of solidarity to light as a social-political relationship between two subjects, an intersubjective becoming. In just this way, the decolonization of identity stories by Tileah Drahm-Butler becomes the flowering of subjectivity as an agent act of resistance. Decentered and influential, the relation of clinician to patient becomes a shared story of struggle.

  258. This is Paddy Farr from Eugene Oregon USA again. One of things that drew me Narrative Therapy and one of the things I see reflected in the readings above is the strong connection to solidarity and decolonial practices. Here in the US, we have just gone through the national holiday Thanksgiving, a holiday which the dominant narrative portrays the pilgrims as giving thanks for what we have by stuffing ourselves with turkey and sugary sweets. Yet, beneath this narrative is the history of colonization and slavery where white colonists have stolen land and lives in order to create the nation as it exists today. Doubly ironic is the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, people across the nation fight (quite literally resulting in riots and assaults) one another in shopping malls for the best Thanksgiving deals on Christmas presents. My family is bicultural and biracial, and we take part in an alternative: the National Day of Mourning wherein we fast followed by Buy Nothing Day wherein we break our fast and get together as a family. We, along with many of our loved ones, take part in this as a protest that builds an alternative to the dominant grand narrative of manifest destiny by pointing out the connection to genocide that these holidays forget. It is practices like these, the building of collective narratives through solidarity, that I see related through these modules.

  259. This is Paddy Farr again from Eugene Oregon USA. As I read through the various projects and writings in this module, I was reminded of what drew me Narrative Therapy: the focus on anti-oppression politics and critical theory through story. I was reminded of my earlier work in the anti-violence movement through social-political-community organizing for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, discrimination, hate violence, police brutality, migration trauma and prison slavery. These efforts culminated in art and protest by and for survivors in Tucson Arizona USA where the stories of survivors became the narrative basis for political action. In my current practice, I have integrated writing and song about the loss and struggle involved with drug use, homelessness and psychiatric survival into the formation of punk rock music therapy. Every week we come together as a collective to play punk music as reminiscence, to write punk rock music about our past and to transversally eliminate the boundaries between clinician and patient. This module was especially important for me to re-realize the importance that the narrative has on my work.

  260. This is Paddy Farr again from Eugene Oregon USA. I have a few thoughts. In David Newman’s paper and talk above, he posits that therapists should recenter therapeutic discourse on the written word as a potential path out of common pitfalls. Newman work reminded me of Jacques Derrida’s recentering of the written word over the logocentrism of speech. From the letters of authors, explains Derrida, comes their death and life through the object. Moving out of this symbolic Death, I recalled the work of Judith Flores and Silvia Garcia on the testimonio with torture Survivors of the Pinochet regime. Together, the therapist and survivor would create a document as testimony against the regime wherein the survivor would tell the story of their torture. The death of the author becomes their immortality over the death of the regime.

  261. Wow, to find a free online course for Indigenous Narrative Therapy is fantastic! I look forward to learning more!

  262. This is Paddy Farr again from Eugene Oregon USA. Here are some thoughts. As I began reading the explanation of externalizations in the FAQ, I made the prima facile connection to psychodynamic externalization as a defensive mechanism wherein problems are posited to occur from outside the self. In Vaillant’s view, this is a more adaptive defense but still beneath higher defenses such as sublimation. In psychodynamic work, this can be used as a phase of ego building wherein the individual becomes more capable of adapting to conflicts. However, this view has always struck me as potentially victim blaming, and as I worked on through the chapter, I found the notion of externalization more and more closely aligned with my own analytic work. For me, in both Clinical work and personal therapy, the externalization of trauma and oppression from internal conflicts has provided a means for pointing out the impetus of the problem as beyond and outside the mind. I was doubly affirmed as I listened to Mark Hayward describe the importance of focusing on responsibility, or what I have always thought of as accountability, as different and distinct from the externalization. Both are possible and necessary within clinical work: the problem is the problem and yet the person has the capacity to transform.

  263. My name is Paddy Farr from Eugene Oregon USA. Thank you for this course! This is amazing! I have a couple of thoughts.

    The constellation of points, a few of which are plotted within the narrative, explained by Jill Freedman and Gene Combs of Narrative Therapy Chicago, brought up thoughts of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno’s concept of the constellation where ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars. Thus, the narrative which is formed through the plotted points becomes a narration only after the narrator has developed the construction. The narration is only one of many that can be developed by the constellation just as a constellation in the heavens could just as easily have been constructed with a different combination of stars to form a different picture.

    When Alice Morgan writes that “I have tried to explain, narrative therapists think in terms of stories – dominant stories and alternative stories; dominant plots and alternative plots; events being linked together over time that have implications for past, present and future actions; stories that are powerfully shaping of lives,” I am struck by the parallel of Narrative Therapy to the work of Jean-Jacques Lyotard. Where Lyotard focuses on the end of the grand narrative in his “Post-Modern Condition,” Narrative Therapy seems to have the potential to complete that work on the individual level. Thus, to deconstruct the dominant story means to restructure the stories which arise from beneath the dominant narrative.

  264. This is fantastic. Often I feel ill-equipped in terms of how to relate to young people from Indigenous communities who contact me for counselling. Understanding what can be seen as colonised language is such an important first step for me in this course!

  265. Given that I am working in a Centre Against Sexual Abuse this was a very informative video and I know I will be able to utilize some of these practices in my work with women who have experienced sexual abuse, developed a mental illness because of the abuse and now have the further stigma of mental illness and/or addiction. I will be able to work with women on preferred identities and in this look at ways that they are re claiming their lives from abuse. Acknowledging that I am a male I will be rigorous in the way I approach my work as I no doubt will have my own biaises.

  266. I have several issues come up recently in my life that have been deeply entrenched in colonialism … I try now to use narrative as a form of self care and resistance both personally and in my arts practice .. I have also engaged with a narrative therapist

  267. I believe in this so much… that we are our own experts in our stories by telling our stories we empower ourselves in a culturally appropriate/safe way and is really important for our people to be heard.

  268. thank you for your lovely welcome I am a proud pakana woman/mother/grandmother/artist/mentor I work with young Aboriginal people at risk with in the education system

  269. The exercise of telling our story is political, and has a sense of justice. Returns the ability to have control over life and its course. It is a very powerful exercise and necessary mainly in cases where there has been abuse. I find the material presented in this course very beautiful and useful.

  270. Hello from QLD! I am currently studying counselling and find myself drawn to narrative therapy for many reasons – the way it can empower people with many different life experiences.

    I work with young adults and through many conversations with them it seems social media is a source of joy and despair – so one of my interests is in this area.

    The stories we tell of ourselves on social media has a huge impact on our identity – how we may see ourselves, how we want others to see us, or how they interpret us.

    Many of the dominant stories of our lives are shared or cemented in social media which do not allow for complexity – it is so easy for people to be viewed in one way due to comments, photos and similar posted online.

    I wonder if this single sided presentation is what we as a society are taught to offer up – to provide a clear identity and direction in life. With so many influences and pressures for people to act a certain way, be on a certain path by a certain age, perhaps the single story is a way to gain a sense of control over who we are.

    Narrative therapy will allow us to understand all of our skills, successes, and stories, rather than define ourselves by one.

  271. Thanks to each one of you for your words. It is very good to be able to access this virtual training space as a person interested in narrative practice and in having a critical view at the discourses that colonized us.

  272. Externalising allows the problem to be de-centred from the client. This allows some freedom from the problem, to enable the client to view the problem as separate to them and examine it’s varying affect and influence on their lives. It is important for therapists to take care in these externalising conversations to allow clients to describe and name the problem for themselves, and also to externalise positive virtues the client has described in their lives. This allows a means to richly explore and describe alternative storylines. It’s also important to be aware of not incorporating this approach into other humanistic psychology approaches but recognising it as a separate post-structural approach.

  273. Thanks for sharing. It is a lovely thought, that a story is told then retold in a positive and stronger way that builds.

  274. Great introductions, looking forward to hearing the content 🙂

  275. Hi, Nicola here from Perth, Western Australia. A narrative to me means the telling of a story which occurs over time. A metaphor is a literary device where you refer to one thing by mentioning another, and by doing so you compare one thing to another or draw attention to their similarities. So to me, the narrative metaphor is where we refer to one’s life or identity as a story. What does this make possible for me personally? Something that struck me was in Michael White’s interview he mentions a young man telling his story to a social worker, who then recounted her ‘take’ on his story. This allowed him to relive his experience from another viewpoint with another set of possible interpretations and emotions – how powerful. And when a narrative therapist listens to someone’s story (the problem-saturated one), they are listening to the ‘untold’ story…the exception…the anomaly…the strong story that is invisible to the teller at that point. By encouraging the storyteller to go into detail about those anomalies the storyteller tells (and hears through re-auditorisation or listening to themselves) another side to their story, some threads to their story that are hopeful and counter to the problem storyline.

  276. Lovely to hear each person’s welcome – we are all so unique!

  277. Having worked in Aboriginal Communities in Urban, rural and remote contexts, David’s mention of the Palestinian inspired work around “Justice is a form of healing and healing is a form of justice” resonates strongly.
    The internalising of the colonisers dehumanising language is something so apparent in the intergenerational trauma here. It appears Narrative Therapy may be helpful in giving us ways to tell and live inside new stories and possibilities without being re traumatising. “As people begin to inhabit and live out the alternative stories, the results are beyond solving problems” – I love this! Thank you for giving this information so freely!
    Looking forward to learning more.

    • Hi, Ann from Ireland. Just starting out on my journey of Narrative Practice and I am really enjoying it. Lots to learn and I love the Charter and how it is laid out. Looking forward to the rest of the course.

  278. Very excited about Narrative Therapy and using it in my work place.

  279. Fantastic initiative that will allow me to apply for the Masters.

  280. The Introduction of Sugar is a great example of how to use externalization within group work and how to reduce if not end with feelings such as blame or shame. I did really enjoy the video in which the depression is represented by a black dog and I think it creates a pathway on fighting stigma introducing the idea of separating people from their problems (“The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem”).

    Working within the mental heath services
    I feel there is so much work to do within the field of personality disorders. Starting to externalise problems and behaviours could bring new approaches and new ideas in the way we engage with people.

  281. Hello,
    Just wondering when I will know if I completed the course successfully.
    Many Thanks
    Emer

    • Hi Emer,

      Thanks for your question! We have passed you essay onto our tutors and will email you the essay feedback and certificate once it has been marked.

      Warmly,
      Charlotte.

  282. What does ‘critical thinking’ mean to you?
    Critical thinking to me means objectively trying to understand an idea, or a concept, taking into consideration the context of how it can be interpreted from my own experience and point of view and being able to explain it clearly to others around me.

    How might your practice be different on account of your engagement with these materials?
    I have become familiar with the post-structuralist way of thinking and considering about ideas over the years and have tried to implement this way of understanding when talking about such broad topics as privilege. It has opened understanding not only in me, but those around me who I have engaged in conversation with.

  283. In what ways have you entered into collaborations before? What made these collaborations possible?

    Working alongside people in anyway, in my opinion, is a form of collaboration. Specifically though, my form of collaboration as a physical fitness instructor involves working with people in a one-on-one setting as well as in groups to achieve their optimal physical health, which can often encompass mental health as well.

    What might make it hard to enter into these practices?

    Willingness- whether it be on part of the therapist or instructor or the patient/client, both parties must be willing to accomplish their intended goals, otherwise it becomes something other than a collaboration. Rather it becomes a stratified structure where one person has more power over the other.

    If these ways of working fit for you, what next steps could you take to build partnerships/collaborations in your work?

    Be open to create more relationships with people in the community in order to open new pathways to collaboration.

  284. Hi!
    I´m Cristina and I’m writing from London.
    I love this course, Thank you for sharing all these materials.
    Narrative metaphor is a beautiful way of understanding human beings as a whole (history, values, culture, life events, abilities, skills…). I have been working in mental health settings for a while and sometimes you can find people seen as a single story. Brilliant the conference given by the novelist Chimamanda Adichie about this and how single stories can participate in the creation of stereotypes.

    It is really important to encourage people to tell their own stories and to help them find alternative stories that might help them overcome life difficulties.

  285. I love that clients get to ‘take home’ the therapeutic process, and it’s potential for ‘endurance.’

    The suitcase documentation is such a wonderful idea. I will be looking for ways to utilise something like this in the future.

    When I worked with teenage girls rescued from the sex trade, we had them document their life & transition with a map similar to Ncazelo Nucbe-Mlilo’s ‘Journey map’. At the end of several sessions of hard work, our girls asked if they could hang their beautifully coloured Life Paths next to their beds. Even though their histories were full of betrayal and sadness, they felt victorious and hopeful with their beautiful pieces and outcomes. We covered origins, places visited, places they still want to go, milestones achieved, storms (we externalised these times / events), ways they came through the storms, goals, possible obstacles ahead & ways to overcome those barriers, gifts received, ways they hope to grow, and areas they want to contribute to… We emphasised skills and knowledge learned, survival kit, core values, circle of support and obstacles overcome — all significant contributors to an overarching positive perspective of themselves and their future. We had also documented the ‘Tree of Life’ with them, so there were some repeated reflections.

    I am now working in a high school context, supporting 16-year-old boys as they document their journeys… Their reflections and discoveries have been both heartwarming and powerful. We are encouraging them to focus on character strengths and overcoming. The creative / sensory space is an enjoyable and non-threatening way to engage them in sharing their stories, processing their feelings, and projecting their forward choices. They have learned new things about each other and themselves. And will also have something to take home with accomplishment and pride.

    I have been so encouraged by the therapeutic benefits with this form of documentation.

    I appreciate how Esperance Munyarugerero mentioned that they brief the audience beforehand.

    (AJ — Sunshine Coast, Australia)

  286. I am sitting here with my jaw somewhere on the floor. Actually it fell several times as you spoke. First it was about activism. Never thought of myself as one, I am a ‘follow the rules’ kinda person all along, as I wanted to be ‘good’. Well, I think I’m at an age where I could gladly say, am not anymore! I had grown up being told that my elders knew better. That “medicalised & sanitised” terms of suffering hides the human sufferings and injustices. I know that I’ve been getting rather annoyed when someone is immediately dismissed as PD (personality disorder) as though that explains why we can treat the person a certain way. Like it’s strange for a person to be in despair after being physically and mentally abused for the last 30 years??

    Your other self-care idea as the breakdown of our resilience, as it’s not just a personal responsibility of not being able to take care of ourselves, so hence burnout. I love what you said “Burnout denies that it’s social structures of inequity and social injustice that harm all of us.” Butting our heads against discourses, norms… I was falling off my chair laughing so hard when you said you drank water and did yoga, but doing those have not built one housing unit in your city 🙂

    I’d write more, but these are the two that I thought I’d share with you. Hearing you, have firmed up my belief in doing more of what I have been doing, to connect more deeply with the people who come to see me, to get to know their stories, their actions of fighting against injustices and norms that have caused harm to them. To continue doing those “immeasurable outcomes” because they do matter.

    • I was so excited tripping over myself (obviously my typing is much slower than how the words/thoughts were popping into my heads!). I wanted to share that two things really struck me. One, the idea that mental health or people’s experiences have been neatly squeezed in a box by mental health diagnosis; and the other, about selfcare being a collective care. Thank you so much for this.

      • Thanks so much for your response Anny, it is so important to know the work resonates, because that is what feeds my hope and solidarity
        peace vik

  287. In just one chapter of the book, I have become more aware about culturally sensitive therapies. In particular, asking the client to define their problem and what that means to them was very helpful. I am curious to learn more and to feel more confident in this approach.

  288. The power of the written story read back in the person’s own words. No assumptions or interpretations – just written as it was said.

  289. I enjoyed hearing all the welcome stories.

  290. Thank you. I am a Navajo living on Cree land in Canada. I appreciate you sharing the article on grief. It is true, we as Indigenous Peoples experience a lot of losses. It is sad because it is driving our people to addictions , suicide, abuse of themselves and others. Many are ending up incarcerated. I believe ceremonies and our own ways of spirituality and our stories will heal us and help us recover from our losses.

  291. I love this stuff – it’s standing up to and challenging the predominant voice of colonisation that we all too easily wear inside whether we like it or not

  292. I’m writing from sydney, australia. I can see the value in using these externalising conversations to reduce shame, and therefore open up the use of the imagination in finding a solution and understanding. I work with women with drug and alcohol issues and they experience a lot of shame which can make it hard to see solutions. Thanks for a fantastic course!

  293. I’m writing from Sydney. I loved Chimamanda’s talk and it made me think about how we naturally make connections between the thing someone has just said, and some pre-existing idea in our head, without necessarily checking whether that is appropriate. I like the way this approach doesn’t define people as one thing or another, both can be true and many other things besides. I found the charter very empowering. Looking forward to the rest of the course.

  294. Queenie from Manila Philippines here.

    I found the tip of using a document as a reminder extremely helpful. The case where the lady carries a small card in her wallet and reads and rereads her alternative story is particularly useful. Too often, people leave the counseling room happy and relieved, but are not able to continue this in their daily lives. Having a document to remind them would be most helpful. I immediately thought of a friend who would benefit from this practice.

    I also like the Narrative in Suitcases example. Children often find it hard to express their inner thoughts and creating a document which shows their hopes and dreams is a wonderful way to overcome this challenge. This is something I hope to apply in a similar way in the future.

  295. I am really interested in how Michael White places the work of family therapy in relation to narrative therapy. His emphasis on the importance of considering the ‘problem’ of the individual to be related to all family members and that of the community. His linkage of family therapy to feminism was surprising for me, as I have never made such links between the two approaches before. The stories and interviews opened up a new school of thought within my personal and professional practice framework.

  296. Hello,
    The Mt Ego Self-help community project was particularly of interest to me as I have not thought about linking narrative practices to social and economic development before. The steps which the project offers the community are also very practical. It is astonishing to find out how we can work towards empowerment and establish self-determination of social groups and community using this technique.

  297. Finding out more about the different types of documentation as mentioned in Hugh Fox’s article has opened my thoughts on how I can apply this to my current work place practices. I seek to further explore the usage of “document of knowledge” for future clients as it provides them with physical evidence to refer back to in challenging times.

  298. Hello ,

    I found this chapter very interesting. Externalising problem is something we often think about doing but may not necessarily understand the reasoning behind or know how to do it effectively. The chapter, especially the video delivered by Mark Hayward offered an effective and descriptive explanation of this and allow me to apply them to my current and future practices.

  299. Hello everyone,

    My name is Minh Thu. I am in Sydney. Learning about what Narrative Therapy is has been very helpful. I especially like the work of Alice Morgan in her book, What is Narrative Therapy. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to understand more about this technique. Alice offered simplistic explanation in how this form of therapy may look like in counselling and community development. The case examples were also extremely helpful. I believe using and/or keeping in mind such technique would be extremely useful as it empowers the individual/group people we are talking to and allows us to look at the problem as separate from the individual/s.

  300. Thank you for the information … Islamic and good Australians … they help open up our country with their camels…may God bless us ALL…

  301. Even though my story remains part of my lives, my lived experience, I don’t have to live out or from the ‘old’ pain story, I can create a new story encompassing the strengths and learnings from my lived experience. Once I create the new story that facilitates healing opportunity I can then practice living out that new story until it becomes the dominant story line and the ‘old’ story gradually has less influence in my life.

  302. Nakkiah Lui made a impression on me in a talk once when she urged the audience to always, every day, check our privilege. I still think about that a lot.

    Lucy, Wollongong

  303. The Shame Mat is certainly something I would like to incorporate into my work place in dealing with children and families, in a positive way for children to open and acknowledge their identity.
    Unfortunately most families I work with will not openly disclose they are of First Nation descent, until I acknowledge that I myself am.

    There is still a sense of shame for some families that is hard to break down that barrier.

  304. Looking forward to the course, and putting it into practice in my school.

  305. Which particular ideas or stories intrigued you?
    I really enjoyed reading Cheryl White’s transcription of a conversation Michael White had with a patient regarding losing a button on his pants. I thought the idea of being on a level playing field with someone seeking treatment went a long way in humanizing the patient and giving them the opportunity to provide help in a situation instead of just seeking it.

    Why do you think these things stood out to you?
    I think it is because of the idea that when in a patient/therapist dynamic there is always the idea that one person has everything going correctly in their lives and the other person is looking for help from the other in order to accomplish that as well. It can often create an imbalanced relationship and cause the patient to rely on the therapist for every problem in their lives. Thus making it much more difficult for a patient to improve.

    What from these histories would you like to take with you into your future practice in some way?
    The aforementioned idea that the therapist is also a work in progress just like the patient and that it is a collaboration between both to improve each other’s lives together. Yes, the therapist is there as a guide, but maybe not as someone who knows it all. By having this type of dynamic I believe it creates an atmosphere where additional healing can be achieved instead of slowed down.

  306. I am glad to enroll in this course.

  307. I Like all the introductory stories. Looking forward to the course. Thanks to Aunty Barbara and Dulwich for making it available

  308. This is such a fantastic idea,and an opportunity to learn how to do this in practice.

  309. Narrative Metaphor is clearly depicted by Morgans analogy of driving . This gives a clear picture of relation of negative and positive events in framing our life story. The connecting dots metaphor of Jill Freedman gives a clear picture of framing of our dominant theory.

  310. It is so valuable to be reminded again of the power of privilege. One can slip so easily into sustaining the narrative of privilege, without questioning it or its impact on others. Sue, Canberra, Australia

  311. I think we do the same thing with individuals who have heard voices. We tell one story, we give them one label and when they try to tell theirs we say they are “delusional”. It’s important to hear everyone’s story and what they are experiencing in their own words.

  312. Looking forward to this course! I live and work in Whitehorse, Yukon and we have some similarities over here 🙂

  313. I’ve noticed with adolescents in particular, a tendency to talk about “my depression” and “my anxiety” as if they were talking about inherent traits they possess that make them special. It becomes their identity, and they tend to seek out others who also take a diagnosis on as part of their identity. It’s almost second nature to externalize problems with younger children because it’s necessary to use metaphors, stories, and play in therapy. I really found all of the examples given quite useful, and I love how externalizing problems can naturally reduce shame.

  314. Hello all!

    I’m Adam and I’m writing this from London, UK.

    I think it’s brilliant that such a comprehensive collection of resources have been pulled together in one free online course – so thank you to the Dulwich Centre! I’m sure many people have and will continue to make use of it and help to spread the word about narrative therapy.

    In terms of contributing to the discussion about the narrative metaphor, I think this and narrative approaches more generally can be so effective because it is something we can all relate to. People are natural story tellers. It’s something that makes us human. It has been a part of our make up for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years and most of us, one way or another, have been engaging with language, and therefore narratives, from a very early age.

    I think the narrative metaphor can be an effective tool for building on the stories people bring into the room. It can provide a way to explore the more ‘problem saturated’ narratives and reframe them to develop richer, more balanced alternatives. It’s a process and approach that spikes my interest and I am curious to learn more as I work through the course.

    I look forward to reading through other comments on here and hearing your thoughts.

    All the best,
    Adam

  315. I really like the Tree of Life documents, particularly the reflection on our roots, skills, directions and relationships. I can see myself using this activity in a my current context working with young people, who often, with their limited life years, can get so engulfed by their current dominant story as its presence has sometimes been for a large chuck of the lives. I can see you people responding really well to the reflection on their roots and the distances and directions they have come already in their lives.

  316. I am a psychologist that has received lots of training in using narrative approaches in addressing multiple problems. I recently became more vested in wanting to acquire more skills and knowledge around supporting people struggling with effects of drug misuse/abuse and other addictions. I am grateful for this body of work that you are freely sharing with people like me.

  317. This section made me think about how often young people introduce their problem to me using medicalised or psychology language. “I have anxiety” is probably one of the most common things that young people tell me in our first meeting. Usually the young person has been told this or has done their own research and is trying to map their own experiences onto this medicalised or professional model. From my experience with young people, this process alone seems to cause helplessness and sucks any sense of agency the young person has over these experiences.

    These resources, particularly Sugar, really made me reflect on the ownership of language and the role that I as a therapist play in providing a platform where the young person’s language takes a primary position. As I think about this, I’m wondering about how this matches up with messages the young person receives from other players. For example, schooling and education sometimes encourages a passive position to learning and creating understanding. Depending on how strong these messages are in the young person life might determine how readily they engage in the ownership of the language we use.

    • I’ve noticed with adolescents in particular, a tendency to talk about “my depression” and “my anxiety” as if they were talking about inherent traits they possess that make them special. It becomes their identity, and they tend to seek out others who also take a diagnosis on as part of their identity. It’s almost second nature to externalize problems with younger children because it’s necessary to use metaphors, stories, and play in therapy. I really found all of the examples given quite useful, and I love how externalizing problems can naturally reduce shame.

  318. I was really drawn to Aunty Barb’s story for a number or reasons. There is a clear parallel to the injustice experienced by Aboriginal people and the injustice that Maori in NZ have experienced as a result of Pakeha (white people) domination. Too often, their grief from their loss of culture, goes unacknowledged.
    I’ve often thought how uncomfortable it must be for some clients to come to our centre and sit in a room they’re not familiar with to share their stories. It was so lovely to hear of Aunty Barb sitting with her young client to ‘tell stories under the trees’. Why do we need to call what we do ‘counselling?’ Just the name of it suggests that we (counsellors) are in a dominant position.
    Like the Aboriginal people, Maori also hold onto their loved ones who have died.Aunty barb talked of a gathering of Aboriginal families where they were encouraged to find ways of remembering that made it possible for people to see themselves through the eyes of their loved ones. This is a powerful way for people to remember stories and memories and to shift how they currently see their lives.

  319. Thanks so much for putting this course online and sharing it freely. The idea of narrative therapy is really resonating with me as very important.
    Things that stand out are the danger of a single story, the way we choose (and allow others to influence) our dominant story, the need to curiously be attentive for evidence of an alternative plot to our lives.
    I think these ideas will be very helpful to me personally, but also to those I work with, in remote parts of the NT.

  320. How would you describe the narrative metaphor?
    In my mind, the narrative metaphor is this perfectly chaotic bubbling fluid. Each crew and valley makes the next and at any one moment there is a dominant peak. I enjoyed reflecting on my own dominant narratives and the role that my own development and journey, in particular the connections to people and places, has played in bringing a particular story to the surface. I also liked reflecting on this metaphor as a global concept, that our stories in relation to others is just a story, nothing more, and one of many. I like the space for flexibility and accomodation this allows for.
    Thinking in this way gives me a sense of hope in relation to some major political, social and environmental issues that I care deeply about. It removes a sense of finality and indisputable truth. In my practice, it gives me a way to give my clients the space and power to be the ones to make these changes, on their own individual lives but also on this broader social scale.

    Lucy Wollongong

  321. Aotearoa, NZ
    Critical thinking for me is the belief system of the practitioner engaging in practice and how this may then influence our client relationship.
    A reminder to remain the naive enquirer with safe and honest supervision.

  322. Aotearoa, NZ.
    As a social worker working collaboratively means that I work broadly to identify issues and become involved in social justice matters.
    What makes it hard is the privacy act and funding issues that create silos.
    I am always interested to network and build relationships and try to think out of the box.

  323. The Narrative metaphor for me described timelines and themes of events that link and often reinforce together a persons story.
    Thinking about stories in this way i reflected that there is scope for creativity to utilise perspective such as using small figures, asking someone to read or interpret out story etc

    • Cheryl Penn: Artist/writer/lecturer/motivational speaker, South Africa. As an artist who is engaged in workshops/lecturing dealing with art tools/subject matter to access instinctual creativity and conceptual thinking, the narrative metaphor is vital in understanding what underpins peoples approach to any sort of creativity and/or creative thinking. Narrative Therapy is essentially the power of story telling to personally understand identity, problems or a particular life view. Thin, or for that matter ‘thick’ stories are particular sorts of information and experiences which govern the way we see things. Nudges towards a new/richer plot are used to encourage a far more generous version of information about our lives than we currently experience. A story told through experimental art and/or through written words gives the narrative physical evidence. To speak is to verbalize and to realize, but to paint and write using the same narrative nudges somehow makes reflection more meaningful (in my experience!). Narrative Therapy has definitely enriched my course material in that it gave me the tools to uniquely connect art and therapy.

  324. Brilliant, I work for Danila Dilba in Darwin, I am a white male social worker, I work for one of D/D’s health clinics in the Darwin CBD.
    The importance of men being able to “yarn” with each is so important, as is older men who can fit into the role of mentors for younger blokes.
    These videos are fantastic, bravo to everyone involved in these interviews.

  325. Hello! I’m writing from the Philippines

    I found the video with Mark extremely helpful. The way the questions are phrased to enable us to go through the Statement of Position map, the sample responses to a client’s narration — all these were good concrete examples on how I might use externalizing when talking to others.

    It also struck me how open and non-judgmental we must be when facing and talking to the person with a problem. This attitude is a must to be able to do the statement of position map well.

    • The easily stated summary of externalizing the problem by giving it a particular look/feel/texture/color/shape is very visual. It again reinforces the idea that putting a name to, or creating some kind of visual glyph (eg the black dog) externalizes and acknowledges the problem without invalidating it in anyway at all. When looking at a problem, people mostly see the person – in a sensory manner (sight) and so by externalizing the problem, one creates a new visual space for IT to operate in. By giving the problem a ‘look’, the person can more easily respond to the problem in the third person and thereby gain a more objective view to a mostly subjective issue. This externalization can provide a more intimate position on the problem. Even using the + or the – symbol as a drawn visual aid and spider diagraming the positives and negatives can nudge further understanding of their position. Should the person draw/paint their own version of the problem, it belongs to them and this artistry prevents the therapist from being the primary author/artist of the problem. Even the use of the chart by the person together with the therapist provides a readable diagram for both parties. Colors can represent notions/emotions very effectively.
      Cheryl Penn, Durban – South Africa

  326. The narrative metaphor to me highlights how each person can embody various ways of being and acting. We are not just one ‘person’ we are able to tap into many different characteristics depending on which storyline we are following. By recognising and developing our many stories we can become more empowered.

  327. Sue from Canberra, Australia. Loved the Mount Elgon project with its focus on reliance and strength. How empowering for this community to be able to speak their hopes and dreams and then work towards realising them.

  328. I’m from New Zealand. My role involves working in therapeutic ways to support change within families. Although we hope to see change take place within communities it may take decades before significant change can be seen. I was really struck by the enormous potential when whole communities are involved in working towards change. The collective sharing of knowledge and skills has enormous strength. This was reiterated for me by the wonderful use of a bundle of sticks to show that each stick is so much stronger when brought together into a bundle.
    The Tree of Life and the Mt Elgon Community Project resonated for me in the way they brought together the past, present and future. I loved the way a “rich textural heritage” was created in the Mt Elgon project by asking the people where their hopes and dreams had come from; who had passed them on.”Raising heads above the clouds” is something I will use in my work.

  329. The narrative metaphor, as I understand it at this point, is the notion that people digest their reality and understand themselves and others through story. It is also the understanding that, for a reason that is not yet completely clear to me, we tend to cling to a single story. Maybe it’s easier? Maybe the single story is a powerful well-structured one that is clear to us? Maybe it was born out of urgent necessity for sense and provided comfort through its internal logic, a calming simplicity which one is naturally reluctant to let go of? Maybe it was reinforced by people who were meaningful to us? Based on this understanding, the narrative metaphor encourages us to pay attention to this story’s periphery, to listen for divergence, for complexity that can be used to thicken the plot or create new stories. It is also a tool that gives us the opportunity to take a step back and recall that we are not only the main characters of our stories, but also their storytellers, writers and editors.
    The dominant stories I tell me about myself are often quite rigid and severe. Inviting the narrative approach into my thinking gives me the possibilities of agility and playfulness. It enables me to listen to softer stories that I may already be trying/wanting to tell; stories that are not heard because they haven’t been given the space, time or attention they need to be fully told. It invites curiosity and creativity into my personal storytelling, and reminds me that memory, reality and truth are not set in stone. They are shaped by the voice and tone I use to tell them, by the circumstances in which I allow/invite them to emerge, by the words and structures I choose to tell them through, and by the roles and dominance I give certain elements (characters, events, etc.) within them. The narrative metaphor gives me the possibility to continuously challenge, create and get to know myself by experimenting with the ways in which I interpret my life.
    I’m writing from Ramat Gan, Israel (:

  330. I was a member of ANTaR Victoria and tried to get Federal Parliament to change the lyrics.Letter back from Malcolm Turnbull saying no.
    Also had meetings with the AFL and I believe we can win them over to sing the new lyrics at Dreamtime.

  331. Having commenced a Masters of Counselling which is based in post-modern epistemology and therapeutic approaches which are embedded in the this epistemology. Clients as the expert in their own lives – Just as they have the glue to become stuck, they also possess the solvent to become unstuck.

    What I find liberating about Narrative Therapy is it’s focus on engaging in conversations which are collaborative and non-pathologizing. I enjoy the process of listening to client language and stories and deconstructing dominate narrative – thickening stories.

    • The narrative metaphor, as I understand it at this point, is the notion that people digest their reality and understand themselves and others through story. It is also the understanding that, for a reason that is not yet completely clear to me, we tend to cling to a single story. Maybe it’s easier? Maybe the single story is a powerful well-structured one that is clear to us? Maybe it was born out of urgent necessity for sense and provided comfort through its internal logic, a calming simplicity which one is naturally reluctant to let go of? Maybe it was reinforced by people who were meaningful to us? Based on this understanding, the narrative metaphor encourages us to pay attention to this story’s periphery, to listen for divergence, for complexity that can be used to thicken the plot or create new stories. It is also a tool that gives us the opportunity to take a step back and recall that we are not only the main characters of our stories, but also their storytellers, writers and editors.
      The dominant stories I tell me about myself are often quite rigid and severe. Inviting the narrative approach into my thinking gives me the possibilities of agility and playfulness. It enables me to listen to softer stories that I may already be trying/wanting to tell; stories that are not heard because they haven’t been given the space, time or attention they need to be fully told. It invites curiosity and creativity into my personal storytelling, and reminds me that memory, reality and truth are not set in stone. They are shaped by the voice and tone I use to tell them, by the circumstances in which I allow/invite them to emerge, by the words and structures I choose to tell them through, and by the roles and dominance I give certain elements (characters, events, etc.) within them. The narrative metaphor gives me the possibility to continuously challenge, create and get to know myself by experimenting with the ways in which I interpret my life.

  332. Loved the Sugar illustration. This could equally be used to work with depression or anxiety. Found it judgemental and empathic and externalising allowed the separation of the person and the problem. Very powerful.

    • I have just finished reading the article on “Sugar”, which was written so well I could imagine Sugar standing in front of the group, growing stronger, diminishing, and talking in language that the people could understand and relate to. She offered a way to talk about the problem of diabetes that allowed her audience to see it as that–a problem that exists but also that there are other ways to think and talk about the problem.

  333. What strikes me is how inherently non-judgemental and compassionate this approach/technique of externalising the problem is. The clip with Mark Hayward was helpful for me in understanding how this happens. I would like to say that without embodying non-judgement/acceptance/unconditional positive regard (which no study can teach), though, the technique (and all techniques) would be rendered unhelpful and meaningless.. Perhaps there’s room to be open about one’s judgements/reactions in a sensitive, respectful, therapeutically helpful way within this approach? I no doubt will learn about that! Robert – Gold Coast, Qld, Australia.

  334. So freeing to come to the realisation that we are not what we have been told we are – by our family, society, key people in our lives.. And how we can choose different realities to build our sense of who we are.. broadening our consciousness.. Seems a very powerful approach, orientation, and way of thinking & being. How much kinder can we be to ourselves and to others when we stand in this space?

  335. At the end of her introduction Philipa said “..as always take your time”. I really heard it this time and it was certainly important for this chapter.

    There was so much to process in such a small number of words. Particularly as I am doing this alone at the moment and the chance for proper discussion will not come soon. I feel a bit psychologically paralysed by all of the ideas to consider in relation to privilage. Having others to discuss it with seems vital in order to be able to pull it apart into digestible amounts.

    It pervades many areas of my life I am sure and will require much concentration in many situations to explore and find different ways to mitigate it. (Dublin, Ireland)

  336. The narrative metaphore is a way, Narrative practice work, that in the first way tries to add arguemantation, provided for the people cunsulting rather than for an institution, to the main plot of the people’s stories. In this particular way, what this metaphore tries to do, its to enrich people’s stories, in a way that they ‘catch’ a newer perspective about what’s happening in their lives.

    this metaphore warns us about the danger of a single storie telling: Enclousure, struggling, get bogged, presure, an so on. Thats why this therapy works to desolve this matters, and pushes away all, to increase stories and open endings.

  337. The Sugar story was amazing. What an insightful way to set up a safe environment for people to ask questions and gain an understanding of diabetes. I also loved the Balck Dog video.This was a great visual aid to support an understaning of externalising a problem.
    I found it really helpful to work through the transcript of mark’s conversation with Joey, particularly the way Mark dropped back a level when Joey was not yet able to indicate his position. I’m from Whangarei in New Zealand

  338. Hi, Alex Here, From Mexico

    The thing that i find most fasinating is how Michael’s White ideas developed through out time to end up being one of the most interesting ways of dealing with people’s problems. It is quite amazing how through the sharing of ideas with his partner David Epson everything came together to build this way of seeing people and their problems.

    Specifically, what I like the most is how they both changed the whole game in how other psychologic theories and practices treated with ‘patients’, and how they used to see their lives (phatologizing their life with ”inner concepts”).

    Instead, they noted that, within cultural contexts, power relationships, narratives of power,gender biases, racial and socioeconomical views, most of the people’s problems coulded be deconstructed, ending up in the frase: ”The person is the person, and the problem is the problem”. In other words, watching people as something separeted from the problem.

    Such a relief!

    In general, I find all of the Michael´s White work and ideation as a very important bundle of ways of treating with people, their conditions, and their problems. A way of including them into the conversation and a way of acknowledging their experience.

    Thank you very much.

    I look forward to get to know more of the practices included into the narratives approaches as I read through the chapters.

  339. My name is Ivan Alejandro Rodriguez Santarriaga, and I’m From a City in Mexico named Juarez!

    I really liked this Narrative Therapy Chapter because of it’s Community projects. I specially engage with the ”Little by little we make a bundle” paper, because of the personification the facilitator made about HIV and Mr. Care, to create an ongoing conversation with the participants struggling with those health conditions. It made me think on how can I apply this way of dealing with serious problems in my context and community, leading me to the conclusion and desire of working with drug related problems.

    In my community, located in Mexico, the drug related problems inbetween young people are constantly prevailing, many times because of a lack of work and educational opportunities, so, in this regard, translaping the Little by little we make a bundle ideas into the context of problematic drug use and abuse is appealing to me: Externalizing the ”Drug consumption” and personifying the ”willingness to leave the drugs”! I think that in creating a conversation and a safe place for young people to express their concerns, likes and dis-likes about drug use, and peripheral things that sustain the usage may be a very good idea to try to analyze new possibilities in to how to relate one self to life…

    Alex From Mexico

  340. I found this chapter very interesting! This, because of the usage of the therapeutic documents, in counselling context. At the same time I was reading this chapter, I was reading other book too about this same topic, and in it I found very interesting statements about the using of documents in therapy, and how this idea was brought to the narrative practices.

    The mind idea is that documentation always has been an importan vehicle to ”add” seriousness and respect to human deals and relatios. For instance, when a couple get married, a document is considered very importan to legitimize the union. When a lawyer comes with an arrest order to someone house’s the situation becomes more intriguin , and at last, if I buy a house or a car, I will want a ”paper” that states this good is mine.

    Coming back to our talk, it is very intelligent how authors of narrative practices noticed that, and included that way of legitimize into the counselling context. I like a lot how this way of work can improve therapeutic process, cutting the number of sessins used to deal with people’s problems.

    On the other hand, the way of working with audiences is wonderfull! I liked a lot the quote saying: Within witness audiences people may be seen in their own terms! I found further more interesting the analysis laying under this witness practice. Not replicate the relations of power people may come with, instead looking always out for the unexpected outcomes in order to thicken stories.

    I also loved how the outsider witness practices document give hints on how to procced within the usage of this practice, and ways in how ”not to”: Not applaud, one of the most important, I think.

  341. Hola/ Hello Friends Of DC!

    Well, my coments about this Map on externalizing conversations are: It’s great to see that there are some practices that allowe people to take distance from what they call their problems, specially when it’s been soo long since they have been strugguling with them.

    At the same time I Could say that the efects of externalizing are great! Because they provide a point where to ”pull” to an other places: richer stories!

    In an other book I read that the questions we make thru externalizing conversatinos are called ”relative influence questions” because they try to find what are or were the effects of the problem, what are the present of the problem, and where do we want to go regarding the problem.

    Also a very good point I can find here, it’s also the chances we have to separate ”Qualityes” and to find out how they were created.

    Thank you Dulwich Center

  342. The concept of the narrative particularly resonates with me. I’m a social worker who is counselling veterans and their families. They come with stories of trauma and fractured relationships but what I see is strength and resilience. Seeking alternative and thickened stories will help to illustrate their inherent strengths and resilience.

  343. I was inspired today to read of the ‘stand’ taken by Primary school student Harper Nielsen:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-12/national-anthem-kenmore-school-brisbane/10235792

  344. I found the role play of ‘sugar’ very enlightening and something that can be used in many situations. It takes the focus of the individual to see the problem as a live entity.

    This could work well in OCD particularly pure O.

    Having OCD as a separate entity from themselves may invite them to recognise the problem is not them.

    The mapping of conversation was also insightful to enable me to expand conversation. Also to be mindful of the questions I am asking clients that they may not be ready for, it allows me the opportunity to create the space where clients can reflect and gain their own insight.

    It was very much a relief to know that within narrative practice, perpetrators of violence in whatever form are given the space to take responsibility for their actions and its impact.

  345. What made it for me in this chapter is the notion of poststructural way of thinking. It is very important to be at the look out for ways of speaking that better describe peoples experience at the therapy room, and I think that the externalized way of talking has come to fulfill this neccesity.

    I deeply find appealing the notion that our identity is shaped by other differente factors such as family background, historical and social contexts (that are completly moveable, or at least more than those ”inner self components”) rather than the ”inner and fixed personality”.

    This notion, is in many ways liberating, specially in those cases where a heavy tag has been putted. Alchoolisim, Drug addiction, Poverty, and so on.

    In terms of critical thinking, It is to me spotting the advantages that a statement said for a person in power puts him/her in to. Also, looking for the intentions that might be hiden on a discourse, and seeing the ways in which I may be able to separete me from the undesireble effects.

    I’ll be always in the look out of ways I may be contributing to spread privilage and relations of power, even though I know it is a work that has its difficulties.

    Alex, from Mexico

  346. It is certainly hard and difficult to have this kind of conversations as a natural way. It is true that most of the people in this post-modern world is looking to have a good and confortable live, specially when the social system is constructed with that pourpose. Study a degree and you”ll have better job opportunities than if you don´t study any of this school degres. So, it is hard, specially for profesionals like me (psychologist) and many others not to enjoy ourselves in the privileges the schoolar and social system its been putting into our heads since they exist.

    But I also understand that our responsability as profesionals, and highly educated people, to take into consideration the other peoples’ life conditions in order to try to push in a way that favors them in ways otherwise they wouldn´t.

    I don´t know how I am sounding with this text, but I consider my self a person who is always considering how all that I’m saying may be affecting the people sorrounding me, taking in consideratio also their life conditions. Even a friend how may not be doing as well as me in a profetional career, for instance if he/she is not able to pay for a cup of coffe that I’m able to pay for, either I invite my friend the data at the coffe shop, or if I consider that my friend would feel offended, I may offer or suggest going to an other more-at-their-capacity cofee shop.

    It is very joyfull thinking in this matters of privilege and power, as a individuals, and always trying to make the best for our friends or family members and people in general in order to make them feel good with themselves and creating an enviroment where respect is always present.

    Alex, From Mexico.

  347. Hi from Dublin,Ireland again. I enjoyed thinking about collaborating as I was reading this chapter and was particularly struck by Sue Manns reflections and practice change in relation to writing in peoples notes. I used to write in a set of shared notes and I understand how alienating it must feel to people to have a set of notes about them that they cant look at whenever they like or contribute to in a meaningful way. This was very refreshing for me and something I would consider trying in the future. It was also interesting that not everyone showed an desire to write collaboratively in the notes.

    I also found the detail of Amanda Warrall’s communication with June about SP very enlightening. It was interesting to see how to June realised what she valued and how this in turn led to discovering new ways of managing SP.

  348. Using Externalising with clients has enabled them to create a separation between them and the problem. Within that space they have been able to connect the dots they had previously not been aware of. Allowing them to recall other layers of their story.

    This process has enabled me to listen and ask questions in a different way, to be a witness and support to clients on their journey to recovering themselves. It has also given me the vocabulary to widen the conversations within the therapeutic space.

  349. Hello everyone,
    My name is Joanne and I am currently based in Townsville, North Queensland. I work as a social worker at a women’s centre and have an interest in narrative therapy as way of helping people recover from trauma, particularly domestic violence and sexual assault. I recognise that I am very early in my learning journey but already finding much that resonates such as the continual reinforcement of the dominant narrative metaphor (or story) in our lives and how it can be changed by applying different lens or perspectives. Also,the comment about externalising the problem and the solution is sometimes not the personal.

  350. Hi there,
    My name is Celine and I come from Sydney. I have come to the Dulwich Center to learn more about and familiarise myself with the healing conversations of narrative therapy. I am a trained counsellor and psychotherapist and I am currently doing an undergrad in Psychology.
    I find Narrative practice a very powerful method of retelling and reinterpreting our life experiences. I loved Alice Morgan’s text. For me part of the power of narrative therapy is the ability to change our overused and often unhelpful story lines when reliving past experiences. Why are these narratives still running and what purpose do they serve us or our clients? Introducing and exploring new narratives can have such a powerful effect and challenges us to think differently about ‘the problem’. Thinking of stories in this way makes me realise that there are other narratives, gaps in storytelling, strengths and positivity within the self talk of clients struggling with particular issues and that the current narrative is not the only story that makes up this experience. There are in fact several narratives from which we can grow and learn – returning power to the client.

  351. Hello, I am a Clinical Psychology registrar who works across a diverse population. Narrative practices fit well with my way of looking at the world. Life is not a single linear path. A metaphor I often use is that our lives are like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The pieces ultimately fit together but as we build the puzzle, pieces seem to overlap or be missing, or sometimes turn out to be in the wrong spot or the wrong way round. As a qualitative researcher I believe individuals to be the expert in their life, that the perspective of an issue or situation is the truth for that person at that time, and that it is possible to have contradictory views at any one time.

  352. I am writing from Vancouver, BC. I have really enjoyed reading about collective narrative practices, and I think my initial reaction to it says a lot about how rare this kind of work is in therapeutic work. I think the idea of communities banding together and sharing their resources of healing with one another to be beautiful, and I kept being struck by how little work it would be for the therapist to allow these groups to share with one another. In the past I worked at a school with autistic children and the approach was so directive, that the idea of taking a step back and allowing people to share with one another instinctually gave me a feeling of slight anxiety, as if I should “be doing more.” I think this says a lot about how we are trained to lead the therapeutic process, and although how directive we need to be varies between contexts, this reaction confirmed what some of these training sections have been saying about the agenda of the therapist and how it can stifle expression and exploration for the one in therapy.

    I can speak from personal experience about the power of collective narrative practice as well, although I did not realize until now that I have been a part of one of these practices. Years ago I was asked by my therapist to join a panel of adolescents and young adults who had grown up in high conflict divorce households, and the event was attended by psychologists, therapists, lawyers and judges because they wanted to hear experiences from the child’s point of view. At the time I imagined this experience to be about helping the field, but I remember even without going with the intention of therapeutic growth how beneficial it was for me. It was a place where my experiences involving pain and confusion had value for others, and that knowledge provided a very profound feeling of validation and respect in my experiences. This knowledge gives me a sense of hope in using collaborative narrative practice in the future.

  353. I am writing from Vancouver, BC in Canada. I find many of documentation practices interesting, particularly the documents of knowledge/authority described in the Hugh Fox paper. Reading about narrative practice has been fascinating as a whole because I find it encapsulates what many of us instinctually do in daily life to cope anyways, but contains it in documents that can be used and looked at repeatedly. I think the idea of carrying a document of authority around like Anita did could be very helpful. The points that were documented struck me as similar to the things we try to tell ourselves all the time when we are trying to create a change in our lives, but when it is only what we’re telling ourselves there is so much room for shame to take over. I thought writing it down and having it onhand at any instance would be a great way to stay on track and remember our intentions for a shift in identity or lifestyle.

    I love the idea behind documents of circulation as well, because I think so many therapeutic modalities are so individually focussed that the impact of community is left up to chance. The idea of circulating documents of intention about one’s identity is a lovely idea but I am curious what would happen when they are not met with understanding, which I am sure happens all the time. I am curious to learn of some of the methods used in helping individuals to cope with that.

  354. I am in Dublin, Ireland and I enjoyed reading about the Tree of Life projects and was interested that it could be used so effectively with adults and children. The importance of the forest appealed to me as a way of highlighting the value of our community and family and friends. One of the biggest difficulties people often face is a feeling of isolation and feeling they are not alone can be very healing. Using the roots to help explain why the person is where there are allows their story to be heard but it becomes clear that this is only one piece and there is a lot of room for alternative stories.

    I was also interested to hear how songs were being used to strengthen people and their stories. Music is so powerful and we given its potency we don’t use it enough to help us to feel understood and less isolated.

  355. Hello, my name is Athina. I come from Greece, Ioannina. I am teaching at the university. I have also worked in parents’ counselling. I’am also ivolved in teachers’ personal and professional development, recently in terms of narrative practices. I really enjoyed narrative metaphor chapter of this online course, so thank you for this!
    I think of narrative metaphor as a whole paradigm of thinking, feeling and acting. Stories can be a significant resource through which we can make contact with the language of our inner lives and the context within which they are shaped.
    Storytelling encompasses past, present and future. It can be a vital “tool”, permitting a more enriched understanding of ourselves, our lives and organization of our experiences. It reinforces critical thinking, dealing with feelings, exploring and revealing alternative stories, discovering our strengths, taking action and reclaiming our rights and our lives.

  356. Hello, I am Kirsten, writing from Melbourne Australia. The resource that most struck me was Aunty Barbara Wingard’s story ‘Introducing Sugar.’ There was a playfulness to the interaction she had with the community of Aboriginal people, and I had a sense of why people engage so well with characters. It is fun – it connects us with our long history as storytellers. I also enjoyed Mark Hayward’s presentation – especially the delight he took in figuring out which questions to ask next.

    In my context, as a mental health practitioner, the problems that could be externalised are the problems that people might start out calling ‘low self-esteem’ or ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety.’

    I think it would make a difference to rename and characterise these problems, because many people hold a view that their problems are part of them. Because of this, change seems like an impossible task. Having space between the person and the problem would help folks to understand why the problem is a problem, what supports and lessens it, and what steps could be taken according to someone’s own position and values.

  357. I will be sending this through all social media and work distribution lists. I would love to put this on my phone so I can play it to other Australians throughout my journey.
    I would vote for this as our National Anthem in a heartbeat!!

  358. Externalization create space between people and the problems they have in their lives, which creates a huge amount o relief. I have seen clients blaming themselves for the issues and got trapped in the trouble without being able to jump out of it and view it from a different standpoint. Also personify the issue really inspires, I think it will be particularly helpful when working with young clients. I also really appreciate the attitude shared in the end that we are exploring the experiences with our client together. We don’t adopt the position of expertise, but rather standing in a curious perspective to help them explore different ways of viewing their live

  359. When I think about what I have learned about narrative therapy in this course, two aspects come to my mind: one, which seems to be the foundation, is an attitude of critical thinking. This means to me encountering myself and other human beings with an open heart, with compassion and with the knowledge that everyone’s experience is different and influenced by many social, political, historical and other contexts. This is a principle that I feel very much commited to. I am developing this attitude or way of life through my nonviolent communication and mindfulness practice. I can see various effects of this practice in my professional and personal interactions with others, especially as it helps me to listen with empathy and care.
    The second aspect is the therapeutical skill in which I see myself as a co-researcher who supports the author in developing thick descriptions about themselves while leaving the authroship with the author. Here, I really like the method of externalising and, in my context, of outsider witnesses. I am a community worker and rarely work with individuals/clients. Therefore, some of the tools (e.g. therapeutic letter) seem weird to me and I will figure out if and how they could be useful in my work. But, in the work with communities which have experienced traumatic events, I can see how bringing witnesses to the stories can bring about change. This is something I would like to experiment with.

    I’d like to thank all who made this online course possible and shared their valuable experience and thoughts with the intention to enlargen the community and create collaborative spaces for growth and learning. I am also grateful for the many comments I was able to read which helped me understand some of the ideas better and see the diverity in which the content could be understood, relfected, summarised, paraphrased and translated. Thanks to all!

  360. This is Johanna from Colombo.
    I really loved this chapter, thank you!

    My previous understanding of ‘critical thinking’ was very much determined by a structuralist approach meaning that logic and objectivity played a major role in thinking or assessing my or other people’s thoughts. However, I resonate much more with the poststructuralist view that focuses on the experience and context of people’s thoughts. As others already commented, critical thinking means to become a child again that looks at the world with curiosity and blank pages to fill. It probably doesn’t mean I need to be blank, but it invites me to become aware of the lenses through whih I look into and at the world. What really caught my attention was a word by Mary Heath on safety. How can we transform our concept of safety in order to enable more loving interactions with ‘the other’? How can we protect ourselves less and collaborate more?

    I also really enjoyed the writings on privilege. I have experienced some of the restraints personally and it used to make me angry to hear them as I am longing for more people to understand how much power and privilege contributes to the violence and inequality we see in this world. Reading this collection of things people say in their defense reminds me that it is challenging to talk about power and privilege especially since it is a phenomenon that cannot be approached from an individual perspective although it is certainly individuals who benefit or suffer from it. This helped me to be a little bit compassionate with people who I experience as defensive in relation to the discussions on power and privilege. I haven’t gone through the questions yet but I am planning to gather a few people to regularly meet and discuss them. So I am very much looking forward to that practice!

  361. Reflecting on the reading material and video’s watched I have been made more aware of while a person is sharing their story to look for ‘ Acts of resistance’ and ‘Personal agency’ in their stories and to get them to give more detail to where they may have got this from. I have a guide to use now when dealing with indigenous inmates who have lost a love one. What stood out for me was getting the person to tell me their thoughts on how they may have contributed to the life of whom they speak about. I think this would benefit the person, as they are in prison isolated from family and can have feelings of shame, not being able to attend the service. Creating the space for the person to see by talking about the positive effects they have made to another person’s life and becoming more aware of their own identity, would be very powerful to use with indigenous males.

  362. While reading ‘Strengthening Resistance – The use of narrative practices in working with genocide’ I admired the work of the Rwandan trauma counsellors, assistant lawyers and the Dulwich team in their workshop. Sharing stories from other communities like the Aboriginal people from Port Augusta and their stories, stories of resistance and survival. One quote from ‘A message from Ibuka to the Port Augusta Aboriginal Community’ which I found very powerful and really resonated with me so I have chosen to end this paragraph with it.

    We want to say to you that we are together with you in sorrow. Your sorrow is our suffering.

    Reading Aunty Barbs message of support in the Dignity and Pride, Strengthening Resistance (pg36), to be able to sit and listen to my elders share their stories, their art and dances empowers our mob. Joining with others in dance, song and laughter – when you have lived through genocide, revelling and enjoying life has new meaning. As with my culture our people have endured feelings of despair and hopelessness. I felt pride and privilege as she talked of our ways of resilience and resistance. As an Aboriginal woman, I have listened to the stories and I still watch in our modern times the continuance of systemic oppression. How we have survived genocide and overcome generational traumas through love of our culture and peoples. I’d like to share a quote that was shared during a work meeting last week by one of our non-indigenous staff “They buried us in the ground but they didn’t know we were seeds” I found this quote to be profound as again it demonstrated how our parents, grandparents and great grandparents have suffered overwhelming sorrow, terrors and pain and loss, and of our resilience to keep moving forward.

  363. I had heard of the Shame Mat and the purpose behind it. Which led me to using it in when I facilitated my Positive Futures Program for indigenous men. When first using the mat the participants were a bit hesitant, but after using it a couple of times the men were comfortable using it before each session. The outcomes I have seen since using the mat have been positive. The men have been more open in talking about the reasons why they commit domestic violence on their partners. There has been more disclosers and exploration into behaviours, feelings and consequences of their actions. Since using the mat I have found that they are more engaging, and want to participate in the program. Also very accepting of being challenged around there offending behaviours, I believe the use of shame mat has enabled this to happen.

    On many occasions over the years I have questioned myself, why do I keep fighting for positive outcomes for my people. Through the reading it made me think and become aware that I am not alone in this fight and there are many more indigenous passionate people out there doing the best they can and fighting on not matter how many times they have been disappointed , they get up and continue on with the fight. Kerry has shown this through her ability to overcome adversity and strength to become one of the respected leaders of her community. By telling her story through using poetry as a form of therapy she has found a way to move forward even in her darkest hours. I will take from the reading that we all have struggles through life but we have to find the strength to overcome these hurdles. This reading has given more than ideas I can utilise in work practice. It has given me a new outlook into my life and the reason why I am passionate about the field of work I have chosen to do not only for myself but mainly for outcomes for my people.

  364. I resonate a lot with all the efforts described to work more collaboratively with communities or individual clients. It is good reading about the success stories as they open up the space of what is possible. I am wondering though what challenges people face during these efforts? In my own experience with working collaboratively I have seen quite some resistance and been lectured many times. So, I would enjoy also hearing some of these stories and how people deal with resistance.

    In the recent years I have become more and more aware of the issues of power and privilege and how I may perpetuate violence through my actions, words and thoughts. The past chapters on narrative practice have reinforced my desire to estbalish a decentered influential posture that allows for the author to discover knowledge and skills and leaves the authorship with the author. I feel a little impatient and nervous with regards to the posture and the informed not knowing as it requires intense and continued (spiritual) practice and still there are many situations to come in which I will not manage to adhere to these principles that are so important to me. So, I am hoping to find and build community that will help me along this path.

  365. (Calgary, Canada)
    I am going to ‘think outside the box’ here and not follow the question guidelines, but instead share some thoughts (cheeky, I know, I just can’t help myself)

    Critical thinking is a topic that is frequently on my mind, particularly when hiring, coaching and training new staff members. I find that often individuals struggle with thinking outside the box and when they are able to do so they are challenged with presenting their differing ideas in a way that is respectful. This is something that I am thinking about as we look closely at how my agency recruits, hires and coaches our new team members.

    I appreciated how this concept was related to privilege and power and that these two elements greatly influence one’s ability to be uncomfortable and think critically. Learning to sit in the ‘discomfort’ to agree or disagree with others and yourself is definitely a challenge as it can require a great deal of humanity and humility, both are traits that traditional western education often “school” out of us along with the idea of “professionalism” (not wanting to be seen as incompetent.) I see these challenges with individuals who have recently graduated from degree programs. Thinking critically however; perhaps there is a problem with how I am eliciting feedback from these individuals, given my power in my role.

    Often a question I ask myself is “what am I NOT seeing here?” it encourages me to take the perspective of the ‘other’ and expand my view. I will add “It’s enormously difficult to discover how some of your most deeply held beliefs had led you into wrong choices” (Brookfield, 2012, p 57) but I will add the disclaimer that “wrong choices” can be substituted with “not the best choices.”

  366. Hi there!
    I particularly enjoy the collaborative approach both in the relationship among ‘therapists’ as well as between ‘therapist’ and ‘patient’ modelled by Michael White and David Epston. Therefore, I really like the idea of being a co-researcher rather than establishing the duality of therapist and patient. I am wondernig what practices have worked for others to reach the state of ‘informed not knowing’?

  367. Many thanks for this video. I supervise several groups of fabulous Case Workers who are all to aware of the games ‘insults to attachment’ and ‘trauma’ have played in the lives of their young clients. I look forward to sharing information gained from this video with the Case Workers during our up-coming supervision sessions.
    Strength be with you as you continue your work
    Eileen

  368. I was struck by Mark Hayward’s conversation with Joey. It was interesting to see how he worked with Joey to establish his position about the bullying as it was not easy for Joey to find the words. A lot of time was spent on establishing a common understanding of what the bullying looked like. It felt important for Joey to have his say about this.

    I found his discussion about balancing the persons responsibility and not defining the person by the problem thought provoking. At work, I have found being able to separate the person from the problem to be very helpful in particular with children who often feel powerless in situations.

  369. (Calgary, Canada)

    In a previous role where the main part of my job was to develop assessments for families experiencing homelessness and create and coordinate services, I would collaborate with the families in authoring their own story. I would use a variety of tools to spark conversation and elicit information from the families about their perspectives of their lives; historical, current, hopes and dreams, what services they thought might fit for them etc. Occasionally co-authoring stories through assessments and service plans could be challenging, particularly when families had a very different truth of their experiences than anyone else involved (often when there was significant and pervasive mental health diagnoses.) It was difficult to strike a balance between presenting the family’s truth in an honest way that would also resonate with professionals (without alienating the professionals delivering the services before they even began serving the families.)

    Continuing to expand tools being used may make collaborations such as this work better. Finding creative frameworks and tools to assess from that vary from the typical western frameworks being used could better support this process. As an example, using the First Nations Medicine Wheel to better understand a person’s life experience may be a more relevant tool to spark conversations with someone who resonates with that understanding of life.

  370. The Shame Mat invented by Aunty Kerry Major and Aunty Dolly Hankin is a tool I want to incorporate into my practice. Immediately I thought of the wall, a common description my clients’ use in describing their journey to find work/employment. For instance:

    “All those skills I have to learn, it’s just a wall that is too high to climb” or

    “There is a wall between me and that job and I just don’t know how to break it down” or

    “You tell me about these skills or bricks as you put it that I can use to build a path but I see those bricks as something to break down not build up”

    Where the woman at Murri Court Woman’s Group “wiped” the shame away, I’m thinking of clients stepping over a small brick wall, one metre by half a metre, polystyrene or something, with a tagline such as: The first step is the hardest, or something similar. I’m looking for a physical action of commitment.

  371. (Calgary, Canada)

    I very much appreciated Aunty Barbara Winegard’s perspective on silent crying and the dangers that this can “eat away at a persons spirit.” So often vulnerability has negative associations instead of being understood as a means to heal. I’m also thinking about how males in particular are often socialized to not be vulnerable and how this can contribute to a variety of issues, such as domestic violence.

    I will definitely be using the analogy of silent crying as a way to talk about pain and grief in my work moving forward. The imagery is impactful and may lessen perceived vulnerability of the emotions that lead to silent crying, by some.

  372. A reflection on Re-membering Practices by Cheree Morton

    Saying Hullo Again (White 2016, p. 95) resonates with me. I am often yarning to clients who have lost a family member and the hullo again metaphor strikes a chord with me as I am sure it would with my clients as each of them are finding ways to deal with the loss of a loved one in their life.

    My client stated that she was feeling depressed because she had a lot of sorry business over Christmas and lost her sister/cousin (In Aboriginal culture we describe our cousins as our sister/cousin or cousin/sister which is culturally respectful and honouring). I thought about the hullo metaphor and began asking her re-membering questions. I first began to have a discussion with her about externalising the depression explaining that the depression she was feeling was outside of who she is, separate from her, she looked confused so I continued with the re-membering questions with her.

    After yarning with her about Aboriginal people being spiritual people and discussing the way we often carry the people we have lost with us (Wingard, B 2001), we also had a yarn about honouring our people who had passed away and that it was ok to do so if she wished, (Wingard B 2011), She began to elaborate saying, “our family who passed away are always with us, but I still feel lost without her”.

    I said, “How does the loss make you feel’?

    She said, “Isolated, worrying all the time for my children”

    I said, “If your sister were here now, what do you think she would say about the way you are trying to deal with her passing and about the worrying you have for your children”?.

    She said, “I don’t know, I guess she would want me to be the best Mum I can be to my children and to stop worrying for my children”.

    I said, “What would your sister say about you as a mother to your children”?

    She said, “She would say I am a good mother, a caring loving mother”,

    I felt my re-membering questions began to fade so I started yarning with the kids about their attendance at school, one of the children was a brilliant artist, I said to her, “would you draw me a picture or a painting that would describe the feelings you are having that stops you from returning to school and show me next week when I come over for a visit”? She said, “Yes”, as she enthusiastically nodded her head. As I left the family home, the mother, said, “Thankyou sis, I feel so good”

    As I was driving back to my office I began thinking about the following week when I meet with the family again and how I could continue the re-membering yarns with the family as I could see that they resonated with them and the family began to open up because my clients face lit up when I asked her questions about her sister/cousin.

    I was also reminded of another conversation I had with a client.

    She described the frustration she felt with family members who were interfering in her relationship and how her x-partner had let her down. She began to describe herself as a failure as a mother because her relationship “failed”, she further explained, she moved into a new home, applied for domestic violence order because her x-partner was abusive toward her and transferred the children to a new school.

    Sometimes in Aboriginal culture, when you marry or have children with an Aboriginal man or woman you often take on the whole family, Aboriginal people often have this joke with one another, in our family we do. We are very family orientated and sometimes this can feel like a hindrance for people who are not aware of the bond we share with our Aboriginal families.

    I began to explain the club of life to my client, I further explained that there are good and bad people in our club of life and we can sift out the bad people who don’t serve us or our families well and keep the good people in our club of life, those who make a positive contribution to our lives” (Russell & Carey, 2004 p.47).

    I said, “How does the failure make you feel”

    She said, “Debilitating”.

    I said, “if you were to name the failure, what would you call it”?

    She said, “draining”

    I said, “If you could see yourself through another’s eyes, and see how you moved house to a safe environment for your children, you applied for a domestic violence order and you left the abusive relationship, what would you say about that person”?

    She said, “I would say that that person was a good mother, a mother who put her children first, strong and resilient, a person who could do whatever she wanted when she put her mind to it”.

    I said, “would there be a name that could describe that person”.

    She said, “yes, strong woman”

    I again felt my landscape of enquiry began to dwindle but when I reflect back on my conversation with this client I could see the potential for a sparkling moment and re-authoring of the the thin description my client had of the failure.

    Having a yarn with those who’ve passed away (Johnson 2018), I began thinking about our ancestors and how important it is to keep their legacy alive, to honour them. I thought about questions I could implement with clients who often speak about their ancestors with sadness and mourn at the loss of them and other family members.

    I reflected on questions such as those described in the Remembrance: Women and Grief and Loss (Denborough, Pitcher, Leibeherr & Hedtke 2011), with particular focus on three themes, the cultural, the spiritual and the legacy questions. Some questions I reflected on were;

    “Are there any things about our ancestors who have passed away that you would want to carry forward in life for you and your family’?

    “Do you think our ancestors had cultural ways of responding to grief and loss that would be significant to you’?

    “As you deal with the grief and loss of your ancestors, culture and language, can you think of ways our ancestors would want us to engage spiritually and culturally to keep their legacy alive”?

    What questions did the readings/videos raise?

    The following is more of a thought rather than a question or a dilemma. Aunty Barbara Wingard (2001) talks about how Aboriginal people sit in silence because of the loss of a loved one is to painful to speak about. I find the Aboriginal people in my community have forgotten how to honour their loved ones who have passed.

    Re-membering conversations give our people, our families permission to talk about their loved ones who have passed in respectful and honouring ways, thereby keeping the spirit of the loved one who has passed away alive because their spirit is our spirit.

    Our ancestor’s voices weren’t often heard and as a result Aboriginal people can sometimes feel like they are not heard, that they don’t have a voice, maybe that’s why they are silent. I’ve named this, “silent tears behind a bottle” because too often drinking is how some of my people choose to cope with grief and loss.

    Some Aboriginal people in my community have forgotten how to grieve a lost loved one, re-membering conversations help us to honour them and to sit collectively and celebrate them as their spirit lives on in us and through us, their spirit is in the land, the trees, the rivers, oceans and the animals that often visit us from time to time to let us know that they are near.

  373. I was deeply moved reading how people face their loved ones, who are going through hardship, with so much love and care. And I am mourning that so many (young) people all around the world are facing hardship due to the effects of patriarchy, colonialism and other social, political, economic or cultural inequalities. I was pleased reading about so many different innovative projects and I am still listening to the Friday Talks. As I am also working with communities, I have a better picture now how collective narrative practice can be used in commmunity work.

  374. I’m writing from Colombo, Sri Lanka. In my context, songs and rituals have a great importance in social life. Although I get the impression that they often focus on the hardship rather than the skills and knowledges, this chapter helps me acknowledge the opportunities of using songs and rituals for documenting knowledge and skills and creating thick stories. While reading the examples of documents, I was wondering whether any skill that someone mentions how they deal with a problem is useful to document. I understood from this chapter that the skills are not judged by the therapist or narrative practitioner. Is that accurate? Does that mean that I might support skills even though I might think that they are not effective skills to handle a problem?

    I really enjoyed reading the paper on outsider-witnesses. The questions that can guide the outsider-witness are very helpful to keep track of what is relevant to listen for. I particularly like that this practice enables a more collaborative approach as the witness might learn as much as the storyteller. I can imagine that this feels very empowering to the storyteller. I will definitely try to integrate reflecting teams or outsider-witnesses more into my work.

    • Dear Johanna,

      It’s good to hear from you. Sometimes people name skills that are helpful in some circumstances but not others, sometimes they name skills that are have both positive and negative effects … so care does need to be taken in relation to fully exploring the effects of various skills. But yes you are right, within narrative practice we are not the judge of this … we create contexts in which those most affected by problems and how people are responding to them are making the ‘evaluations’/judgements’. I don’t want this to sound simplistic though as sometimes we need to be really aware of all the people being affected by a certain problem or a particular skill that is being mentioned. We also sometimes hear a number of different skills people are using and deliberately pay more attention to some rather than others. I hope this makes sense. And I hope all is okay there in Colombo. I am writing from Lake Kivu in Rwanda!

  375. Which resource in this chapter particularly caught your attention and why? The black dog video was really helpful in the way it was gentle in explanation. The narrator described a range of situations and progressions of depression, while consistently externalising it as something that was with him, rather than of him.

    What sort of problems could be externalised in your context? As a practitioner in a high school, a range of issues can be externalised such as problematic behaviours, negative self-perception in relation to achievement, and of course mental health issues.

    What difference might this make? I have already found that externalising student achievement and separating it from the self is helpful to students, who then produce much better reflective essays and identify ways to improve their work, as opposed to seeing themselves as incapable, or “a C student”…

  376. Story telling has always been a powerful vehicle for teaching and learning. When I was introduced to the idea of seeing how my own personal story was connected to the archetypal stories of old, some how it redeemed my personal suffering. Each time I look back over my own life I see that I adjust and rewrite it according to what lens I am looking through. For me Narrative Therapy is developing this idea. How to of discover other aspects of our life’s story, that will enhance rather than diminish us.

    • Kia ora koutou katoa, hello to all. My name is Kirsten. I grew up in Rotorua, New Zealand. Now I love in Melbourne, Australia. I am a writer and occupational therapist. After exploring these materials I feel really excited to journey onward! I am thinking about how it is not just what we do as people, but the stories we tell and are told about the “doing” that influence our wellbeing. After listening to the interview with Michael White, and hearing his story from practice, I thought about how open and attentive narrative practitioners must strive to be – in order to hear the events that don’t fit with people’s dominant storylines. When it comes to dominant stories, it seems like we are often such convincing storytellers and such willing listeners! I am feeling some compassion for my elders who imparted damaging and limited storylines to me in early life. I don’t think they had much more available to them. I would love to be part of assisting people to see what else might be available.

  377. Hi, my name is Nic – I am training to be a Guidance Counsellor in Queensland, and am Hard of Hearing myself. I have heard ‘narrative therapy’ a bit in my studies so far, and have come here to learn more, as I am beginning to shape my own approach to counselling. Some key things have emerged from this chapter that I have really engaged with such as the ‘not knowing’, empowering and client-directed approach. My personal goals as a counsellor (and a teacher) align with these ideas in that I believe that clients are the experts of their own experience. This comes from my own experience as a person with a disability – it is irritating when I am told what my experience is (instead of being listened to). I am excited about learning more!

  378. My name is Glen. I live in Newcastle, Australia.
    What does ‘critical thinking’ mean to you?
    Constructive questioning, asking myself questions about things that I have taken for granted, particularly what I believe and “know”, stopping to consciously think from another perspective and generative alternative perspectives. I particularly enjoyed Judith Butler’s point about placing findings and evidence in their context. On one hand, critical thinking and questioning is creative and enjoyable. On the other, it can be tiring and, at times with professional colleagues in meetings, I have wondered if I’m the only one willing to question myself and the ‘shibboleths’ of current psychology practice… Oh dear, I’d better stop at there.
    How might your practice be different on account of your engagement with these materials?
    Therapist as expert can be so comfortable and familiar, at times it’s like an “addiction” and part of that addiction is that I still think at times working in that mode can have useful a (though much smaller) place, I just wouldn’t want to be doing it unquestioningly, but taking seriously post-structuralist ideas and how everyday practices of power can be so pervasive, I’m very conscious what consequences could follow, e.g. reinforcing my own privilege and inadvertently taking a therapist-centred position. Central points for me include: keep front and centre that people are experts on their own lives and circumstances, my own ideas and contributions to therapy conversations are the product of history and culture (not a privileged ‘truth’) and to actively seeking to create conversations in which operations of power (e.g. institutional and historical factors, gender bias, normative expectations regarding sexuality and so on) and associated restraints are better understood or I try to make these a little more visible.
    Do you have any stories or sayings that keep you connected to ‘critical thinking’?
    The corny old cliché that ‘knowledge is power’ comes to mind. Another key word here is ‘privilege’. This chapter has done a good job showing that knowledge, power and privilege go together. It’s not so much a saying but I am reminded of the distinction between a small t-truth of perspective and a capital T-Truth, which I now see equivalent with a structuralist claim to knowledge. As tempting as it is to think I can arrive at a capital T-Truth, it’s more useful to see knowledge / truth as a product of culture, history and an ‘at-this-moment-in-time’ perspective, inevitably a ‘small t-truth’, of which there are always going to be complementary ones. I am also reminded of a Sufi teaching story about two guys who go to a sage / Sufi teacher, each tells his story and asks for the sage to declare for the truth of his claim, after each has spoken the sage says, “you’re right”, then one of them says, “Wait, we can’t both be right”, the sage replies, “You’re right”. This story underlines for me that the sage had seen both perspectives and a larger perspective as well, and in my thinking about the story the sage doesn’t feel that he / she has to be pinned down by being “right”. It’s not about “right” or “wrong” anymore, it’s about your point of view.

  379. My name is Glen. I live in Newcastle, Australia.
    Solidarity and a de-centred stance are the two ideas / concepts that resonate at this moment as commitments and intentions. One aspect of Solidarity for me is an ‘ironclad’ commitment to people who seek my assistance that “the problem is the problem”.
    An aspect of a de-centred stance for me is a commitment to people being the expert on their lives and it is only the person seeking assistance (the young person K) who can describe what living with this problem is like and to say what his position (or positions) is (are) in relation to it. These are K’s stories to write, not for his father or I to foreclose in some way on what one or both of us believe should be the narrative arc of the stories. I respect K as having authorship.

    This is a question I will think about further. One recollection is work I did over twenty-five years ago with a man (I will call him “J”) who was struggling with the effects of cocaine, alcohol and gambling addictions on his life. We had reached a point where our conversations had not seemed to make much difference and J conveyed that he was in a ‘dark place’. Somehow we stumbled into his relating a story to me. A friend had told him when he went through the turnstile at the racecourse that he was given a pumpkin in place of his real head. From there we talked about “Mr Pumpkin Head”, what it said and what its urges were and so on. We laughed – at last! I had no idea at the time that it was an externalising conversation. Back then I did not know anything about narrative ideas and practices. Perhaps I have been trying to recreate the influences of Solidarity, a De-Centred Stance and Imagination in my work each day that people consult with me ever since “Mr Pumpkin Head”…

    A recent example comes readily into my thoughts. I have in mind work I have been doing with a young person, who I will call “K”, who is about 10 – 11 years of age and his father. We reached a point when it looked like the work of the past six meetings had just “conked out” and had come to nothing. I encountered the effects of Frustration and how it extended its invitation to me. It says things like, “I’ve done all I can”, and worse! “The parents have shamed this kid… And he (K) has internalised a representation of self as bad…” and so on, a range of statements based on structuralist assumptions, with internalising attributions. When the Frustration gets me in its grip, I can feel the influences of Hope and Imagination draining away.
    I ‘started again’, made inquiries from a curious, ‘entering the territory for the first time’ stance. The central features of the problem emerged anew and its influences, which seemed to become apparent more clearly than before. I recalled Mark Hayward’s ‘statement of position’ synopsis. I inquired with K regarding what living with the problems (the Anger and the Guilt) is like for him. I have written this question down and given K & his father a copy of this. I have asked K to consider this question between the end of our last meeting and our next meeting.
    I think the young person and his father noticed that I was very much present for them and present in an imaginative and ‘poetic’ way at times too, which is something that I have always tried to do but it would likely be ‘intensified’ in this last session. I found it a more refreshing and creative experience. Mostly it would be positive because I perceive that people appreciate the efforts I am making. Perhaps sometimes it could be negative. When people use metaphors to describe their experience I might get ahead of them a bit too much and I need to stay as ‘experience near’ to people as I can. However, I do not anticipate that the people consulting with me would likely experience any ‘negativity’ as such. I perceive that they would experience me as both compassionate and optimistic. Overall, “Yes”, it definitely suits me. The main reason is because I would like ‘my therapist’ to be informed by the same or similar commitments and intentions.

  380. Hi there!

    My attention was caught especially by the Black dog video and the Sugar story. It visualised in a very clear and persuading manner what it means to externalise a problem. I also liked the idea of finding an experience-near description of the problem as I can see how it leaves ownership with and acknowledges the specific experience of the person. I’m thankful for the questions given as examples to further help the person separate themselves from the problem. However, I am wondering how people with traumatic experiences are able to work with the questions and self-reflect in such a way about their experiences or themselves. What other more playful and less cognitive methods could be helpful to externalise problems?

    What sort of problems could be externalised in your context?
    In my context, the problems of social, political and economic exclusion and discrimination could be externalised. I am worried though that seeing the context might not ease the hardship as the context is unlikely to change. So I am curious about the next step. And I am also wondering if I would use same techniques if I work with groups rather than individuals.

  381. I did love this chapter in plenty of parts. For one side, I did love when it poped-up the text of ”Just Thereapy”, which includes some of the ideas I been thinking about early this and the past year related to the ”Resilience”. In my conutry it seems that many psychologyst have tilted them selves into expresing and commenting about the ”’resilience” in ways that highlight it as a desirable quality to develop as a person. It keept my attention that very few are currently considering positions where external factors are golden-key to band things and descriptions that happen around people, families, and other social settings. It resonated heavily with me, because of the frustration it may cause for families in consentrating themeselves in conversations -in the therapy room- where everything pin-point the to them as responsible for they misfortunes.

    Also, I loved how in the presentation the speaker Trileah Drham-Butler developes externalized conversations to address the presense of shame and guilt in people’s lives.

  382. I did love this chapter in plenty of parts. For one side, I did love when it poped-up the text of ”Just Thereapy”, which includes some of the ideas I been thinking about early this and the past year related to the ”Resilience”. In my conutry it seems that many psychologyst have tilted them selves into expresing and commenting about the ”’resilience” in ways that highlight it as a desirable quality to develop as a person. It keept my attention that very few are currently considering positions where external factors are golden-key to band things and descriptions that happen around people, families, and other social settings. It resonated heavily with me, because of the frustration it may cause for families in consentrating themeselves in conversations -in the therapy room- where everything pin-point the to them as responsible for they misfortunes.

    Also, I loved how in the presentation the speaker Trileah Drham-Butler developes externalized conversations to address the presense of shame and guilt in people’s lives.

    Great Chapter

    • Chihuahua, México

  383. My name is Johanna, I’m a peace activist. I often work with people who have experienced war or experience long-term social, political, economic, and/or emotional exclusion as individuals or groups.

    The idea of narrative metaphor resonates a lot with me and connects to similar ideas that I appreciate in other fields like restorative justice or nonviolent communication. In particular, the idea that we shape our own identity by the stories we tell about ourselves. What I believe about myself is based on which story I pick to describe myself. In my understanding, the narrative metaphor acknowledges the diversity of experiences we make thus the diversity of different, colourful, ambiguous, soothing, distracting (to name just a few) stories we can tell about ourselves. The art, which narrative therapy seeks to support, is to establish openness and curiosity in my heart in order to be able to develop thick descriptions of who I am as well as to see the other person’s multiple stories rather than judging after the first single story that I perceive. I understand it as an invitation to see me and others beautiful with all the aspects that are part of life. And here comes the second part that I appreciate which takes the interdependence of humans and the wider context into account. I do not exist in a vacuum. How I pick the stories that I choose to be my single story is also determined by family, culture, society, history, politics etc. As a member of a family, community, or society I thus also share responsibility in having set the conditions for a person to tell a story about themselves that might not be contributing to life. In my context, I enjoyed reading the Charta and the important aspect of enabling persons who have experienced traumatic events to contribute to others’ lives (I am not sure if that was part of the first chapter or I read it in another book on narrative practices that I am reading parallelly).

    I am curious to learn more about the use of narrative therapy for social change processes.

    And I also would like to share my gratitude for all the comments here which have inspired me. I enjoyed reading so many different descriptions!

  384. I would like to send my deepest thanks to all of the Men and Elders who contributed and shared their knowledge in these insightful films. As a woman who is privileged to work with families in the local community it has greatly increased my understanding of the experiences of men whose voices and worldviews are often overlooked in working with families due to a range of social and cultural reasons. Through sharing your stories you have enabled me to be more mindful of the important role you play in the lives of not only your families but building stronger communities. Thank you.
    Kelly
    Human Services Worker

  385. Which particular ideas or stories intrigued you?
    David Epstein’s ideas regarding co-research and an ethnographic imagination were intriguing. Michael White, so characteristically, explains the importance of solidarity with people who are seeking assistance. Solidarity is such an important principle to live by. The old adage about ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ comes to mind. In other words, I want “my” therapist to have solidarity with me, so I believe that I (as a therapist) should have solidarity with people seeking my assistance.

    Why do you think these things stood out to you?
    Co-research and ethnographic imagination stood out because they provide a perspective that is both practical and a fresh perspective. I perceive that these concepts, when brought to life (as David does so well), emphasise how unique each person and family are. David’s (and Michael’s) approaches to conversations can be playful too, so there is great scope in these concepts as well.

    What from these histories would you like to take with you into your future practice in some way?
    Solidarity stands out as a deeply humanising component of the work with people who come to see me. My training is in psychology and while there was training in counselling skills and person centred therapy, it did not bring to the fore a concept like solidarity. This is one that I will treasure. Thank you.

  386. In what ways have you entered into collaborations before? What made these collaborations possible?
    I have used the practice of collaborative note taking previously, though not with Narrative practice specifically in mind at that time. I was influenced by solution focused ideas, with the central emphasis on cooperation. I would pause 10 minutes or so before the scheduled end time for the meeting. I asked people what were the points that came to mind which they wanted to me to write down in a summary. I conveyed points that I recalled too, asking if these were something that they would like added. The main focus was to list ideas and strategies that people had used which they had found practical / useful. I photocopied the notes, giving one copy to the person seeking assistance and keeping one for the record.
    Looking back, what made it possible was having the initiative to engage people in a cooperative way. The feedback from people was positive and it encouraged me to keep doing it for a while.

    What might make it hard to enter into these practices?
    A psychologist that I was working with at the time talked with me about not giving clients notes or records, as they (the clients) might use these as part of a formal complaint against me / the psychologist. This had an intimidating effect on me. It took me to a frightened place, where I took on features of what has been termed “defensive practice”. I did not question what I had been told. It might not even be accurate from a complaints process or legal standpoint. With hindsight I am able to think more independently when professional colleagues sharing opinions of this sort.

    If these ways of working fit for you, what next steps could you take to build partnerships/collaborations in your work?
    I plan to reinitiate a practice in session of collaboration / consultation regarding what people would find helpful to have written, such as naming the problems, its effects upon lives, aspects of their lives which stand outside the influence of a problem, their skills and knowledges, unique outcomes and the history of these, their position in respect of the effects of the problem, and one or two questions they would like to consider further (e.g. that encourage a person / family to thicken an alternative story).
    Given my previous experience, what seemed to make the difference was that the work had respected that people were already competent, bringing skills, resources and ideas, it was a more energising and creative relationship “space” and I sensed that people (well most people) appreciated this.

    • In what ways have you entered into collaborations before? What made these collaborations possible?

      I’ve entered into collaborations in different ways, in my professional and private or personal life and a lot in between. It’s been possible for me when people want to work together with me, sometimes sharing knowledge and skills, maybe this won’t always feel equal even though it might feel fair.

      What might make it hard to enter into these practices?
      For me feeling judged would make it hard to enter into collaborative practices.

      If these ways of working fit for you, what next steps could you take to build partnerships/collaborations in your work?
      I have just started planning some workshops with a headteacher for parents to have opportunities to meet together with me if they want.

  387. I am writing from Dublin, Ireland and am enjoying reminding myself how pervasive and persuasive stories are. In particular, it demonstrates to me how limiting and potentially damaging diagnoses can be.

    Like many others, reading and watching here has allowed me to reflect on my own biases and where I have allowed myself to be captured by the single story and also where I felt uncomfortable about a story but allowed myself to be persuaded to accept it (working in mental health). I hope that I can start to become much more aware of it now as this way of viewing peoples lives makes the most sense to me at present.

    I am also curious about how the insights that we have gained through narrative thinking might influence parenting in general.

    • Hi everyone, my name is Sue and I work in schools with children and families in the UK. I am enjoying finding ‘new wings’ and new ways of using language through the narrative metaphor to de-centre/quest for space and potential. I find this is both a challenge and a ‘homecoming’. I feel a commitment to learning more in every day practice and hope to be able to meet up with practitioners in the UK when possible .

  388. Beautiful.

  389. David Epston’s interview really captured my attention – in particular his explanation of how an ‘ethnographic imagination’ is central to his approach to co-research. A quote which stood out for me was: “To be able to assist people to know their own knowledge is still a considerable form of expertise”. What this reminded me is that, just because many of the underlying principles of narrative therapy feel intuitively in-line with my own values and preferred ways of working with people, I shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that it is easy to put into practice!

    Aunty Barb Wingard’s account of her work also really stood out for me. In particular the descriptions of how she has supported people to make explicit links between justice and grief which is very powerful.

    The transcript of Michael White’s conversation with the man in a secure mental health ward also jumped out at me. It got me questioning the explicit and implicit training I have received about avoiding bringing myself into the conversation. I was impressed with how he shared his own vulnerability in that moment to authentically engage with the ‘patient’ as an expert/equal. I also acknowledge the concern raised by a contributor below that talking about your trousers falling down might feel unsafe or inappropriate for some clients but I feel the uderlying principle he modelled is very helpful.

    • Which particular ideas or stories intrigued you?
      The solidarity and the respect of vulnerabilities.

      Why do you think these things stood out to you?
      Because I need to adapt this solidarity appropriately for each person with whom I am working. I need to be solid with the light-heartedness as much as with the deadly seriousness of each person in their situations. And I am interpreting lightheartedness sometimes according to its sense of still being alive even though such serious stuff is going on or has occurred.

      What from these histories would you like to take with you into your future practice in some way?
      I would like to take the sense of being able to connect with the unspeakable, not to disassociate or be distracted, to stay present with the person

  390. Hi to all my name is Tara-Lea; counselor located in Northern Territory Australia. Very much enjoyed exploring the applications of narrative metaphor. I really likes the idea of finding events that do not fit with the dominate theme, and clients ‘loading’ these events up with meaning – to create and play with these alternative themes – as they become visible. The idea of being curious around the foundations and steps that came before really grounds the new theme. It was really very lovely in high lighting how much choice and agency we have in re-authoring and authoring our own life.

  391. I was particularly taken with the community conversation with Mr/Mrs AIDS and Mrs/Mr CARE. I love how the concepts were externalized and personalized in a culturally sensitive and appropriate way. I can see a great deal of applicability in a community setting (potentially even incorporating some ‘process’ in address community dynamics such as discrimination) but also in more micro practice. I’m thinking about potentially exploring the role-play idea in therapy with children in acting out concerns, such as, “naughtiness” or “trouble” and interviewing the child or parents while they play “trouble” or “James without trouble.”

  392. I’m an Assistant Psychologist working in Kent, South-East England. I first came across narrative therapy approaches while working with older people, and I have always been keen to learn more about it.

    A basic explanation of the role of a therapist is that they are able to listen to a person’s description of their situation, and help them to see the’outsider’ perspective on the situation, offering alternative explanations. Too often, I think, we can take control of the therapy room and remove some of the power from the client, coming to conclusions ourselves and offering these to the client as solutions. Narrative therapy is necessarily more collaborative, with the therapist retaining some of the detective role, but giving the client more agency in their role as story-teller.

    On a global and political scale, we are forever being reminded of ‘The danger of a single story’. Listening to Chimamanda Adichie, I thought how lucky I was to have been brought up so open-minded, but while reading about thin description I realised just how many single stories I hold about my friends, my family, and myself. Are the stories we give about who we are multi-stranded, positive and empowering, or are they limiting and bland? I’ve noticed that I often give a very thin description of myself, and when I don’t have much to say I start to think that I must be very boring!
    It struck me that it must be very hard to know what to say in your first meeting with a therapist: in this situation, maybe the thin description is a very good starting point.

    I’m looking forward to the next chapters!

  393. Hello there, I am hailing from Calgary, Alberta Canada.

    This segment really had me thinking about how refusing to be informed by one story is an act of protest, protesting that a person can be deduced to a singular thread. I am seeing parallels between narrative and Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) in that exploring other story lines is an announcement that the individual, family or group and the therapist are no longer willing to accept a one-dimensional view. I find this concept very liberating and can see an immense opportunity for empowering those who have been dis-empowered by being seen in one way.

    Through this, I can see how narrative can really lend itself to being combined with multiple modalities and frameworks in an effective therapeutic intervention. I am looking forward to exploring how this looks as I move through this course.

  394. I feel that only privileged people would talk about privilege and I think sector workers have a lot of shame about the privilege that they have and the downplay it or play up their marginality. I used to struggle a lot with shame about apparent privilege but I lost my privilege when I was incarcerated. Privilege for me is something to be cherished not to be ashamed of. Like when I was returning to Melbourne one night on a train and I sat with kids from the country and relised even though I was living in a rooming house I was in fact privileged as I experienced so many opportunities. Privilege involves cherishing going for a swim this morning.

    • What does ‘critical thinking’ mean to you?
      It means remembering to be conscious of as many of the relevant innate prejudices and biases at macro and micro levels. It reminds me to question my own background and journey through my life and how this may influence my thinking.

      How might your practice be different on account of your engagement with these materials?
      It might be more reflective and more rooted in evidence-based research. It might be more open to examination of where concepts and ideas originate.

      Do you have any stories or sayings that keep you connected to ‘critical thinking’?
      Sometimes I ask myself am I “dancing to a drum”!

  395. I share a similar background to what Mary Heath recounted in her reading – coming from a small country town where intolerance and structural injustice for Aboriginal and migrant families was accepted as the norm. My own journey with critical thinking has been incredibly life-giving, and I can pinpoint key times in my life where I was immersed in intentional communities who taught me to value critical thinking and critical, intentional and meaningful engagement with the world. Being critical of myself and my role in my community is a strong value of mine now, and something I always want to be promoting in my life and my personal and professional circles.

    In my work with Aboriginal Australian young people in and out of custody, critique of oppressive systems as the breeding ground for recidivism and ongoing maladaptive behaviours is essential – these kids’ presenting mental health issues have not emerged from a vacuum and their ongoing contact with often punitive and shame/blaming systems often create more barriers to recovery. I try to be critical and both macro- and micro in my work with clients, but also have to work with my team to provide education and encouragement for workers in these punitive systems to understand the systemic influences on each young person’s behaviours and needs.

  396. It sounds like externalizing is a practice that supports aligning with the client and walking beside them as opposed to looking down upon them. As stated earlier, the therapist is not the expert but more of a guide who is as interested as the client, in discovering what props up the problem and what gives it legs.

  397. Great! This “we are in together” and all other tips are really fantastic! O=Not only people with certain disabilities need help from family, friends, but also I think this is relevant for all human beings.

    After all, who can say that their are away of waves of life? Thanks to these young people!

  398. Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?
    I really enjoyed reading and learning about the project involving the Tree of Life.

    What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?
    I thought the idea of placing the past, the present, and the future together on a Tree of Life design would make it clear where the children are and where they wanted to go. And having this design in front of them could only be beneficial. It seems to me, and I have done this myself as well, that most people can tend to float through life without much of a plan nor a record of what they have learned and how to implement that into their lives for the future. By laying it out in this way, it might help the children strive towards a goal to better themselves. And whether they reach that goal is beside the point. It is the heading of a direction that is beneficial.

    In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?
    I might try to create my own Tree of Life for myself for the previously mentioned reasons as well as encourage those around me to do the same. And then see if there were any effects on the person’s as well as my own growth and development.

  399. Hello everyone. My name is Brenda and I’m a hospice palliative social worker living and working in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada. My work with residents is within a limited time frame. I am able to engage the dying and their families/friends in narratives about who they are and what they have done within their beautiful lives. My greater work with narrative therapy lies with the bereaved and circumstances surrounding their grief. Thank you so much for providing these videos, forums and materials to draw from. I’m looking forward to continuing in this free on-line course.

  400. My name is Nyirinkwaya Serge, from Rwanda a small country in East Africa, also known as the country of a thousand hills! I was moved by hearing your wonderful stories on ways of being uncles, mentors, dads, grandfathers and friends.

    I am married and a father of two daughters and one son. Your words were so inspiring for me as I always seek to be a good dad and mentor for. Beyond that, my professional work involves engaging with communities to provide psychosocial support to vulnerable children and young people. One of the difficulties we encounter is to engage men when in our traditions, child care is mostly attributed to women. So, what you are doing is really unique and admirable, and If you allow me that, I will use your examples as a contribution to how men can find ways of working with children and not be boring!!

    I liked the Ngukuthati Men’s Shed T-shirts and words that “suicide is not the answer”. I am very sure that this will have a strong impact on the young people you are trying to support. Your initiative reminded me of a personal story where I got support from men that belonged to a same community-based organization as my father before he died.
    I lost my parents and siblings when I was 16, during the genocide against Tutsis that bloodied our country in 1994. My father refused to involve himself in the genocide, so perpetrators from his community came and killed the entire family. I was also injured but could survive. In the period that followed the tragedy, although I did not have suicidal thoughts, but whenever I got through hardships, I would wonder why I survived as if I wished to have died with others.

    There was then this man Daniel, that was a friend of my dad, they belonged to the same community-based organization, supporting young girls with vocational skills. Whenever Daniel met me, he would ask how I was feeling, how I was doing at school and if he could be of any support. We did meet only three times in the period I was going through hard times but those were real sparkling moments. He gave me hope, support and reasons to believe in life. Daniel died in 2002 but what he did for me, the steps I could achieve from his little support are still memorable. When I heard about your initiatives, I thought about Daniel. I think I would call you the “Daniels” of the young people you are trying to reach out to in your communities. Your messages are so powerful and I can tell you that what you are doing now will have a long-lasting positive affect in ways you cannot imagine, even when you will be no longer alive to see it. The story of my Dad and Daniel illustrates this.

    Some of the stories on being a role model for children, being patient with them, talking to them in a non-degrading way, keeping links with kids no matter what, spending good time with them, the desire to offer them the best so that they can see a good future, all this resonated with what my community needs to strengthen. I wonder what children and young people in your communities would say or feel when hearing or watching these films! Can you think about that? Surely, they would be proud of their dads, uncles, grandfathers…!

  401. Hi all!
    I’m am located in Sydney, am currently completely my masters in psychotherapy and work with youth within the community setting. I have an undergrad in psychology and a dip in art therapy.
    I am so excited to do this online course and am hoping to deep my knowledge of narrative therapy and develop some skills to use with clients. I would also like to use narrative therapy with in art therapy processes.
    Walking along side our clients from a place of not-knowing as we support re-construction of their story from thin to thick and rich understanding, sounds like a valuable way to serve others in times of difficulties.
    I can really see this being a beneficial process for individuals from all walks of life at all stages of life, particularly within times of crisis and depression. I also picked up so hints of solution focused therapy and jungian psychology.

  402. Brothers from the Aboriginal way of being uncles, mentors, dads, grandfathers and friends film series. I have been blessed to get a chance to watch your conversations on film from the your amazing project. My heart was really opened as I heard men of different ages and experiences discussing what is important to aboriginal men in Australia. As a Black man in the United States your conversations remind me once again that the experience of colonization and the harm it does to our communities is not unique, but also the resistance to colonization and harm is also not unique. In fact the clearest message I heard from you in the films is the importance of resisting and holding on to culture and community strength. I was particularly happy to watch and listen to Shawn Major in the films talking about his work with young boys and it reminded me of how important re-membering and re-connecting to nature, community, traditions and values is for our mental health and well being. I also smiled and cried some as I listened to the young men discuss racism and segregation and shared in the experience that I think we Black folk have of using humor to soften our experiences of racism sometimes. I resonated so much with what seemed to be the overall message to me that it is important for us to learn as men to live in peace in the Western world with our own culture. Our cultures are our road to remaining healthy and surviving for the day when we will know complete liberation. Thank you brothers again for this wonderful series of conversations with the men of your communities.

    Makungu Akinyela
    Ph.D., LMFT
    Licensed Couple and Family Therapist
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA

  403. My name is Glen. I live in Newcastle, Australia.
    Is there an idea or project that stands out to you most at this time?
    A couple of months ago I completed a two day training course on the topic of domestic and family violence. Following this I invited staff from “Caries Place” (Domestic Violence and Homelessness Services in the Newcastle and Hunter areas) to come to a meeting at my place of work to talk with us about their services. Two women from the service did a good job providing information and valuable education about the link between family violence and homelessness. The projects that I read about in the on-line course very much reminded me of the work of the staff at Carries Place. What really impresses itself on me is the overlap between narrative ideas and the philosophy of Carries Place having to address patriarchal social structures, and have politics in mind. One of the staff mentioned “fighting the good fight”. The work that they are doing (and the sheer scale of it) on such a tiny budget is humbling for me, indeed.

    What about this idea or project has sparked your enthusiasm or curiosity?
    My professional training is in psychology, which tends to localise problems internally. I find it refreshing to keep in mind that serious problems such as domestic and family violence have their linkages to power structures and social inequities. In particular, giving women a safe place as an option seems so common sense but it takes the advocacy and courage of these women to make it happen. I perceive that there is so much inertia in our community regarding these issues.

    In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?
    One thought I have is that I am more sensitised to power and the possibility of violence in partner and family relationships. It is one of those topics where the more I understand, the more I am able to perceive. I much more often suggest to women to consider their experience from the point of view of domestic and family violence. I perceive that the conversations with women have changed toward a more practical, grounded basis, in addition to empathic support. There is so much more to understand in this area of work…
    Another aspect of this chapter that resonated for me was “Songs as a response to hardship and trauma”. People seeking assistance have related to me that particular songs were important to them and a couple of people have brought in their guitar and sang their own compositions. A person who is consulting with me at this time has written a whole book of poetry that describes his encounters with alienation, marginalisation and despair. These are so important for people and honouring their creative expression is a great part of the work that I have the privilege of doing.

  404. The concept of co-researching mirrors something that I’ve had in mind for the past couple of months – the concept that therapy is 50/50 and to not work harder than your client.

    The genesis of this concept (or rather the conditions that lead to it) was my psychological training where I was expected to plan each intervention, administer it and have a quantitative improvement post-intervention. It’s easy to see how this creates an imbalance in the relationship and focuses the sessions on on symptom reduction or increase in functioning.

    This lead to a lot of anxiety in me and a restlessness in therapy to always be ‘doing’ things. As I finished by training, practicing more independently and getting better at co-researching problems with clients, the changes were palpable. Therapeutic conversations felt less twitchy and flowed better. Clients exuded more calmness and power and I felt much more relaxed and in the zone.

    It’s still something that I struggle with, but it feels like it’s a concept that has embedded into my practice. I feel it is a great encapsulation of narrative therapy and social work – that two heads are better than one and that all our stories are worthwhile and deserve to be told.

    • From the UK
      Think about just one thing that has particularly resonated for you about narrative ideas and practices that you have been trying to apply more in your work.
      Identity and identity migration
      What would you call the principle or idea? Give it a name. Say something about it – describe what it is about, your understandings of it, in your own words.
      I would call it “route” acknowledging its potential to find a way and have lots of different ways and still be there as it sounds like ‘root’ and may sprout as well.
      Give some more details about it, e.g.: When did you first notice this idea or principle in the work? What told you that it was important to you?
      I noticed this especially when I was studying Shiatsu and learning the theory and practicing with my fellow students and eventually people from the general public. I think this was when I reconnected in a different way with my own body and its memories. This prompted and enabled me to attend a year’s training course on trauma.
      What are you currently doing that you would say is a reflection of this particular idea, practice or principle? Say a little bit about the times you thought you had managed to apply the idea or principle to your own practice.
      I am currently exploring and sharing some concepts of identity in relation to mental heath and the impact of torture and abuse.
      I think I managed to apply this to my practice both by seeking support for myself and sharing support with individuals and a particular family group.
      When you did it, what did you notice? How did it affect, for example:
      The conversation you were engaging in at the time? I noticed a sense of relief and that the conversation became wider ranging and included more ‘not knowing’
      Your thoughts about yourself? I am learning more about myself and others
      The other people who were with you? They said I’d heard them.
      Your hopes or plans? I hope to continue to develop this further through research, reflection and practice on both a personal and professional level and I plan to do some more training when/if this is possible.
      Your feelings? With support, I have been able to have my feelings and to find these strengthened my resolve. The kindnesses shown to me deepened compassion and enlivened my processing.
      What was this like for you? This was like a re-connection with my past identities that came to help me out and introduce themselves to what was going on. Did you like it or not? Yes
      Did it suit you or not? Yes Or something in between?That too
      Why is it that you give this evaluation? Because this is what I found in answer to these questions this morning. What did it seem to fit with? It seemed to fit with the situation that is the most difficult and challenging to me at the moment.

  405. Another mind-blowing chapter!

    – I love the idea of the influential, de-centred sweet spot – reminds me a bit of the concept of flow.

    – I love how, again, something seemingly intellectual and pretentious like critical thinking is re-framed as something warm and humanistic. Reminds me of how clinical formulation is really just telling someone’s story with a bit of a critical thinking perspective.

    – Have always wanted to get my head around structuralism – what an incredible summary. I think of the fixed vs growth mindset concepts as well as the neuroplasticity stuff – the hope for change at any stage and age.

    Brian from Sydney, Australia

  406. Wow – so many light bulb moments in this chapter!

    – I love how the whole approach came about from such an incredible relationships – the concept of partnership as creating a context for creativity is so powerful, and the perfect metaphor for therapist/client relationship.

    – I love how the approach draws from so many sources – philosophy, politics, social change, anthropology. I feel this eclecticism is necessary in order to address the rich tapestry of humans and their difficulties – something I feel was missing in my psychology training.

    – I love how irreverence, humour and a kind of punk rock attitude is built into the DNA of the approach – not being afraid to have your pants down is very important!

    Brian from Sydney, Australia

  407. My name’s Jen – I’m a mental health clinician in a State forensic mental health team working with Aboriginal Australian kids who are in and out of custodial care. My clients all have significant levels of complex developmental trauma and have been viewed as ‘problems’ their entire lives. My clients have also experienced high levels of institutionalisation, which has served to deeply internalise messages of themselves as only their offending behaviour.
    Externalising is both crucial and problematic in this professional context. As Mark noted in his example of Joey, externalisation must be carefully used in discussions about problem behaviours that harm self or others. It is a difficult line to walk in utilising externalisation to challenge deeply entrenched and internalised narratives about themselves (“I’m fucking useless, everyone says so”) while also supporting the kids to take ownership of the consequences of offending behaviour in a way that prompts motivation for change.
    I particularly found steps 3 and 4 of the slideshow interesting and something I want to incorporate into my work more – supporting clients to examine their views/values around problems in their lives as a motivator for change. I like the focus on clients as experts and authors of their lives, including where they want their lives to be going. For a client cohort so dependent on systems, it’s important to promote as much sense of empowerment and choice as possible!
    Looking forward to what else I will learnt throughout this course.

    • My thanks to the many contributors. My name is Sue and I work with children and families in schools in the UK I am finding this online resource encourages me to question and reflect on my practice whilst also offering support and structure to keep safe whilst experimenting/exploring.

  408. Wow, this was a big start for me. I am a teacher, not a social worker or therapist. I spend a great deal of time getting to know students, the changing social structures within the school and the social dynamics of the youths that I work with both as a community and individually. In my position I think that the narrative metaphor is a practice that would allow students to discuss their concerns or hardships more openly, without fear of negative impact. It highlights the importance of the story we tell of ourselves and the power it can weld. Chimamanda Adichie expresses how dangerous and misleading a single story can be, one that youths are so very good at telling themselves. This practice allows opportunities to gather more information, build new meaning and then consider renewed pathways that young people can take ownership and control of for themselves.

    To be able to think about stories in this way, opens opportunities to develop strong positive relationships with the students, as it creates authentic communication allows empathy and compassion to develop and builds trust with the students, which can be a critical factor in assisting them on their journey. There is a focus on positive education or strength based learning in my school and this would link into these focuses as the narrative would allow students to acknowledge when they have operated at their best, shown strengths such as perseverance or overcome different levels of adversity. I feel that this practice has the potential to celebrate our youth, acknowledge their struggles, seek justice (a high priority with the age group I work with), and look to the future in a positive way.

  409. For the first time in my life goosebumps and all stood to sing what should already be our National Anthem, I am encouraging my kids to learn the new Anthem, I going to approach our school and request permission to sing our new Anthem. I’m not sure what else I can do besides sharing on Facebook every morning until everyone I shares their views.

    • Me too,amazing words.This should be the anthem.I would be a proud white to stand for this version

  410. What forms of documentation might be most relevant or resonant in your context?
    I really enjoyed the idea of documents being used as a rite of passage. In my experiences talking with people, it can be easy to identify a problem, speak about it, move away from it and realize they don’t have to identify with it, but the last step- changing themselves so their problems permanently leave- to be the most difficult implementation. By outlining this necessary step towards total health, using a document as a rite of passage, I believe, can be very helpful in that it gives a clear and precise path to change and growth.

    Are there particular ideas or practices you found within these materials you might draw on in your future meetings with people?
    I will definitely be using the idea of laminated letters for patients to read as well as the aforementioned rites of passage documentation.

    • Hi there, my name is Sue and I work in schools with children and families in the UK. The people I work with had already authored recordings of any sessions/meetings. Now I can understand more of how the written word can be there in a different way for people. I think that I was biased by my past negative experiences and now I have gained more courage by listening and reading about these possibilities and this opens up a different future which I want very much to apply wisely.

  411. My name is Glen. I live in Newcastle, Australia.
    What forms of documentation might be most relevant or resonant in your context?
    I think letters recording a session might be most relevant and resonant. I can see much more potential in this concept than I could before. For example, I believe that with a collaborative spirit, putting aside 10 mins of the meeting, inviting a person to summarise their ideas, strategies, attitudes, skills and so on, that they / the family judged to be relevant and worthwhile (e.g. managing the effects of a problem, or constitutive of alternative / preferred story developments), these could be hand written by the person (a family member) or me. Another aspect that represents a shift for me is to include one or two questions in the letter / document that the person / family judge to be interesting and promising for them to think further on. In the past I had provided people with a summary (of content / points) but I had not invited conversation around what questions they / the family would judge interesting and useful to think about afterwards.
    Another idea I have is that concepts such as ‘documents of knowledge’ and ‘letters recording a session’ very much overlap, without there being clear lines distinguishing them. I am an avid reader of poetry and enjoy dabbling in writing it too. I perceive that some people may be interested in writing their own poems in sessions. For example, an older person was married to a woman for 55 years, he was showing me photos of his wife and the images and themes could flow naturally into verse, rather than take prose form, or some combination of the two. It’s not something that I would decide beforehand one way or another, it would be something that unfolded in the meeting in consultation, guided by what the person or family judge to be helpful.

    Are there particular ideas or practices you found within these materials you might draw on in your future meetings with people?
    In addition to the thoughts above, I have an opportunity to work with colleagues seeing families. Reading the “outsider –witness practices: some answers…” (Maggie Carey & Shona Russell) with its ideas regarding “metaphors of resonance and transport” was great for me. It was so nicely balanced with the “Hazards and what to avoid” and “Hints” in a practical way. I made some handwritten notes as I studied this and it has energised me to share my notes with colleagues at our lunch time meeting on Friday. I have found outsider-witness / reflecting team consultations with families to really provide something “extra” by way of help that the “therapy as usual” could not do. I’m paraphrasing one of the hints here, “Link what I am saying about my histories of life to the important things the client / family has said” and “refer to the values, hopes and dreams that the person / family has spoken about”. I enjoyed and appreciated these useful hints to keep the focus on the developments that could be constitutive of alternative / preferred stories.

  412. My head is spinning as I spent the afternoon reading Freire as I listened to Silvia Frederici. It was a real treat to engage with these difficult and immense challenges. Lots of big names. Like Deleuze and Guattari who critique the tree and offer up a rizome instead. The tree of life has come under a lot of criticism but perhaps I will do one as a document. Rolnik. I really like the resistance Freire offered to normalisation that is so much a part of neo liberal global capitalism. It is an instrument of repression and violence. I was struck by the repeated references to food production , consumption and impoverishment – and practices of collectivism. I think I was struck by a kind of jump or leap that was being made from the private self to the collective and community – or the commons. And I found Reynold’s resisting calling out about community, activism and respect. I struggle socially and therefore I struggle with respect and self respect – and it is manifest in community hatred and self hatred. Perhaps this is in fact more common than I think – many struggle with falling short, falling down, back sliding, relapse and going against their values. I think I would like to work on a document about this. One area I struggle in is private housekeeping – a labour the Frederica critiques in terms of collective work and gender – and may I add disability, racism and poverty. I really liked Freire’s critique of charity as I engage with a number of so called charities to meet basic needs like food and clean clothes. The labour of reading has me thinking about cooking -communal cooking, but also reducing waste, and fanzines about yoga and being involuntary, and to keep drawing. I struggle with the falling down of anger – a kind of stuckness but it is social as I rage against being disadvantaged and being excluded and marginalised an oppressed – and I struggle and resist the oppressive power that my anger encounters like police and mental health workers and exclusions from community organisations and school. That kind of anger is pathologized and now we have the regulation movement that seeks to regulate with evangelical zest as in yoga in marginalised settings and equine assisted therapy for delinquent students. I often also get angry in therapeutic settings and it leads to rejection or exclusion. Try as I might – I have not had much luck with narrative therapy but as stated those spaces to socially enage with and resoist personal problems that are hard can be small and the openings to hope and healing close as fast as they open – and when we find these sanctuaries or refuges we as often encounter violence and repression. I like the way Frederici talks about political violence and repression and the impoverishment of numerous communities around the world – and since the intervention options in Aboriginal remote communities are limited. Their artists – many women – are now working under slave like conditions. And once more I stir up Frederici’s critique of labour and gender and marginalisation as slavery in the global economy.

    • re: #13: Art Fisher and Nancy MacDonald

      Hello, I’m Sue from Essex, UK and I found listening to this radio show on your site was inspirational. I particularly liked the way they talked about starting off and how they came to be where they are now. They recognised their privileges and what more needs to grow without becoming overwhelmed or disheartened, staying with the project.

      • In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?

        I’ve been experimenting for a while and now I want to liven up reflective practice with other agencies’ staff.

  413. Brian from Sydney, Australia here.

    Love love love these two concepts!

    As a school psychologist, using documents of circulation to friendship groups and rite of passage documents for year 6 and year 12 could be fantastic.

    Peers, parents or trusted teachers could be used as outsider witnesses to great therapeutic effect.

  414. I love the concept of the experience-near description – beautifully humanistic and person-centred.

    In a school counselling context, learning difficulties could be a useful thing to externalise – a way of relieving the significant shame and self-stigma that students experience.

  415. Hi, my name’s Brian and I’m a school psychologist from Sydney, Austraila.

    The narrative metaphor strikes me as an incredibly intuitive way to understand so many aspects of human psychology – the construction of meaning, cognitive schemas, cognitive attribution to name a few. I love how natural it feels, and how we can use concepts that people are already familiar with to re-frame thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

    These concepts provide a framework to explain these concepts to children and adolescents, and the potential to design engaging and creative interventions.

  416. I really enjoyed reading Hugh Fox’s writing. I have been thinking that my cat’s vaccination certificates are important documents in my life as I provide a safe and caring home for my cat in difficult circumstances such as living on Centrelink benefits below the poverty line. I prioritise providing good food for him and making sure he has a flea treatment each month. I prioritise being affectionate and not abusing or neglecting him. Perhaps I am like the mother with schizophrenia who struggles to find evidence of my goodness and competence in circumstances of vulnerability where I fall down, fail to achieve my values, struggle with hatred and self hatred, embarrass and humiliate myself and live with experiences of repeated failure and rejection. Perhaps my cat is an outsider witness as he sits by the bathroom door each morning when I have a shower. HE offers unconditional love and acceptance – he counters my self loathing of my now middle aged and chronically ill and over weight body. I am also thinking of many institutional documents which counter my preferred identity as I struggle with repeated experiences of rejection and failure and related self loathing, anger and fear that robs me of the times when I succeed or achieve a sense of confidence and competence. I have accumulated many negative documents which speak of repeated failures and aberrations like high levels of anger and non compliance and homelessness as evidence of mental illness and drug addiction and disability and impairment. My journey lacks documents. Being homeless has led to loss of education certificates from University and TAFE. I held on to a document revoking a CTO as if this was an achievement. I remember this process and achieving preferred outcomes with drug treatment regimes involved skills in self advocacy and keeping calm that I never thought I possessed. Experiences of loss also involve loss of documents such as drivers licences and passports. Another outsider witness was my Royal Commissioner Counsellor where a small space opened where I could tell preferred stories of my life – and also seeing a narrative therapist who was also an equine assisted therapist. But institutional power is vicious and brutal and those spaces of witnessing, growth and healing disappeared so quickly in the retribution from various persons in my past like a psychiatrist who has power as an authority on who I am despite having not seen me for ten years. I am thinking of documents of poverty like Centrelink documents and prescriptions for what I call poverty pills that disfigure and incapacitate – and what about AVO documents. I have listed a lot of authority documents with harsh judgments and authority language of pathology. As I rail against these documents I have written protest letters to authorities like politicians calling for both systemic and structural changes and acknowledgment of the unsaid and for changes in my identity. I am now reminded of other outsider witnesses like a priest who suggested that I shine a light on the evil that I encountered in my life – and of churches and religious workers who offered unconditional welcome and hospitality and refuge and sanctuary-or the shining lights of a country town bearing witness to my suicide attempt ten years ago.

  417. I find Narrative Therapy a very exciting way to work as it fits with my beliefs with regard to not pathologising people and not blaming the victim but working with people in a non – judgemental way that locates the problem outside of themselves and therefore works against self blame. The approach I utilise the most is the thickening of a person’s story so that clients who think they have never been able to cope are able to identify that so many times they have been able to do this. I would like to employ writing letters to clients as I think,(the evidence indicates this) that they would be able to have this letter to remind them of the positives that came out of a counselling and how they have been able to do many things in their lives despite the ‘thin narrative’ they have internalised. Though I have always tried to think about power and privilege in a relationship I am now more acutely aware of this and will be more reflective and think about power and privilege in a deeper way.

  418. This has been my favourite module so far with all articles being of interest. Mary Heath’s article with the influences of her own childhood and how they were challenged at university was very interesting and illustrated how despite the ‘shell’ of a decent middle class existence the experience is still alive with racism. Its look at the Dimensions of Critical Thinking was enlightening,very comprehensive and thought provoking. The series of articles about power and privilege again linked personal experiences to structural issues and as with Mary Heath’s article illustrated the invisibility of power and how in an era of an attack on political correctness a discussion about the insidiousness of power can easily be shut down. The final article on post structuralism was encouraging as you could see how this perspective lends itself to Narrative Therapy. In terms of my own work helping people who have been sexually abused this module highlights how personal issues such as sexual assault are often silenced by power,(churches and other institutions) together with what voices are heard and what are silenced.

  419. The article on Collaborative Responsibility: Narrative ideas in practice was of particular interest to me as I work as a Hospital Social Worker where the language of the expert is privileged and much though we are supposed to work in a client centred manner this is often very difficult because of time constraints and accountability that goes upward to management and not outward towards the client. Working quickly is valued but this often leads to ineffective, superficial work that is hardly empowering to the client. This article emphasised partnership and not assessment with the power language of the supposed expert being replaced by a common and richer language based on the context of a persons life. Also important was the story of June the person with Social Paranoia and how the Outsider Witnesses were touched by her story and how this was empowering. In both these stories it was again apparent how the ‘thickening’ of the story helped clients and how alternative, ( and more hopeful) stories are always present. This was underlined by the final video where Indigenous voices were heard and how shame stops people from enjoying fulfilling relationships, entering employment, accessing services – where the narrative of damage is so powerful instead of the narrative of strength and hope that so many other stories can tell if the therapist only allows them to be told. All these approaches will benefit my work as shame is present with sexual abuse, people’s stories with regard to sexual abuse have often been silenced and they do have many strength/survivor stories.

  420. With respect to externalizing problems rather than objectifying and oppressing people as problems, I find that these spaces are small and that openings to liberation and insight close over before a new story where the person is not the problem gets enough traction to flourish. I find that externalizing is hard in the face of oppressive systems like the mental health system where the person is always the problem. I experienced that process of externalizing when I undertook Equine assisted therapy and when I went through a Royal Commission process. But personally I always encountered back lash from the system and sustained healing has eluded me.

    • Hi Fiona, i’m interested in how systems work too, especially mental health in the UK. i am encouraged by a story Michael White tells about a social worker who went against the system in response to a child. Have you come across this? I wouldn’t have known about MW’s work with people or the Dulwich Centre and narrative therapy until a week ago when I heard through staff working with a young person diagnosed with ‘complex trauma’ sectioned in an adolescent unit. I am wondering if there are any other exceptions in the mental health system. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some more somewhere that I don’t know about yet.

  421. Hi, Alex Here, From Mexico

    The thing that i find most fasinating is how Michael’s White ideas developed through out time to end up being one of the most interesting ways of dealing with people’s problems. It is quite amazing how through the sharing of ideas with his partner David Epson everything came together to build this way of seeing people and their problems.

    Specifically, what I like the most is how they both changed the whole game in how other psychologic theories and practices treated with ‘patients’, and how they used to see their lives (phatologizing their life with ”inner concepts”).

    Instead, they noted that, within cultural contexts, power relationships, narratives of power,gender biases, racial and socioeconomical views, most of the people’s problems coulded be deconstructed, ending up in the frase: ”The person is the person, and the problem is the problem”. In other words, watching people as something separeted from the problem.

    Such a relief!

    In general, I find all of the Michael´s White work and ideation as a very important bundle of ways of treating with people, their conditions, and their problems. A way of including them into the conversation and a way of acknowledging their experience.

    Thank you very much.

    I look forward to get to know more of the practices included into the narratives approaches as I read through the chapters.

  422. Hi, my name is Glen. I live in Newcastle, Australian.
    Which resource in this chapter particularly caught your attention and why?
    The concept of charting, with the four components (if ‘components’ is accurate), roughly from my memory: 1. characterising and naming, 2. (connections, I cheated & I looked that part up) and effects of the problem, 3. (experience and) position (regarding the problem) and, 4. Values (why?) The numbering could imply a sequence though and Mark Hayward pointed out that the conversation itself mostly moves all over the place, rather than following an orderly sequence.
    Why? Because I have tried externalising a number of times and it had gone well usually but occasionally it hadn’t turned out quite as anticipated. Recently, a seven year old and his mother gave me feedback that I had “lost” them and was trying to externalising a problem as part of the conversation with them. In retrospect I had gone too fast. I had missed the component of (experience) and position completely! Mark suggested that if a person (family member) is not making sense of a position question, it is useful to revisit characterising and naming and (connections) and effects of the problem. I feel a bit embarrassed, it seems obvious now. That’s learning!
    What sort of problems could be externalised in your context?
    There are a huge number that could be seen through this lens. I ones that I am greatly looking forward to are diagnostic labels (e.g. anxiety disorder). I think the challenging part is asking questions that encourage the person seeking assistance to see themselves as expert on their experience, rather than expecting or looking to a professional (i.e. in this instance, me) so much for ‘strategies’ [or solutions / answers?].
    What difference might this make?
    My experiences, albeit limited so far, is that it brings refreshing imagination and creativity into the work. I found that people often naturally talk in metaphors and metaphors are woven into our language anyway, it provides a much more flexible and interesting way of working with people. When the work is going well, it can be exciting to help people bring out their own ideas, skills and creativity.

  423. Great though sad to read, (due to the extent of the trouble) how Aboriginal people deal with grief. Also great to hear about the rigour that has gone in to this sort of therapy from Michael White and David Epston. Though many times I have been told that we are client centred the notion of solidarity that Michael talks about asking workers to truly think how they would cope if they had the lives that some clients have had really struck me as genuine and something that I truly believe in. The story with regard to Sam was particularly good at how a simple act can level the playing field. In general the humanity of both Michael and David was inspiring.

  424. In what ways might you begin to experiment with these ideas or methodologies?

    I like the idea of using songs in a therapeutic context, Instead of asking the client how they are feeling, I may ask them what song resonates with their current feelings? or ask them to find a song for homework that fits their current mood.

    Music is very powerful and I believe it is a very underrated and innovative therapeutic tool. I really enjoyed listening to the songs that people had created as part of their recovery or response to a certain action.

  425. What forms of documentation might be most relevant or resonant in your context?

    With being reflective, I would have to say my last/closure session with clients is not always up to the standard that I would like to provide. It can be more about feedback and administration due to organisational constraints with time then therapeutic, therefore I really like the idea of writing a letter prior to the end of session and providing it to the client during the session. I feel their is more thought involved with a written letter, then saying goodbye and thank you verbally. Furthermore I agree with some of the comments below, for clients it gives them something to keep and take home, a memento of their time in the service and maybe how much they have achieved/moved closer to their goals of recovery.

    • I like this idea! I think clients would like to have a summary of the work done together. (Carmen, Sydney Australia)

  426. Hi, my name is Glen. I live in Newcastle, Australia.
    Describing the narrative metaphor… How to start? One possibility is that there are many ideas that can contribute to it as a concept. One idea coming to mind is it is a metaphor suggesting that as humans we make meanings out of experiences through our stories. There are so many experiences in life that one story cannot ever encompass its meaning in a definitive or final way. I think the metaphor suggests that we can hold a perspective in which life experiences can be understood through multiple stories that overlap, which allow for ambiguities and contradictions. Another idea is that the metaphor reminds us to be respectful of our common humanity, as our stories are created in contexts which are personal, historical, political, cultural and social. An idea that I find appealing in the metaphor is the encouragement it provides for us to make a place for creativity, imagination and playfulness in our lives. Also, to look for previously neglected aspects of experience that could be drawn on for other stories, or alternative stories, of our lives. I perceive the metaphor suggests that we can try to story and re-story our lives in ways which are respectful, enriching and affirming of ourselves and each other. I would best stop here and move on to the next question…
    Thinking about stories in this way makes possible more possibilities, it encourages me to stop and reflect (as I am doing now) about story creation as an act by a person in time, located in place as a narrator (a character/s act), making a narration (making meaning/s), with a narrative (events and characters put together in a plot of a story). My intuition is that it is an act which we are immersed in constantly, and another is the act of reflecting on it at the time which allows us a better opportunity of respectful, affirming, vital and enriching stories. It encourages me to reflect on my own stories as these inform what and how I understand my own experiences and how I perceive the experiences of others, indeed, my stories could at times inform how I misunderstand or perhaps fail to perceive aspects of the experiences of others. I am drawn to the idea to hold my own stories tentatively (e.g. heavily influenced by culture, and my place as a professional with ‘expertise’), as these could be limiting, to remain curious and patient! If I am thinking that I understand someone’s stories and I “get it” (understand), it is better to pause, reflect, offer my perception/s and thoughts / ideas and invite comment. I think it makes possible for me a listening and perceiving from a perspective that is very respectful and also aware of my limitations.

  427. Hi, I’m Bernadette from Vancouver, Canada and I’m a Spiritual Health Practitioner (or sometimes called a Hospital Chaplain!) working in a downtown Vancouver hospital.

    I would describe the narrative metaphor as one which is open to all manner of interpretation and am reminded of the story (ancient parable!) of the “Six Blind Men and the Elephant” as each describes what they experience. Each describes what they perceive to be the fullness of the animal yet each is describing a completely different interpretation of component parts of a far greater whole. (Check out YouTube – Natalie Merchant (The Blind Men and the Elephant) who sings this ancient story to wonderful upbeat music!)

    I loved the short video clip of the “dots” and in my work with patients who suffer from mental health illness I have often shared when speaking to ‘meaning making’ how we can connect the sacred dots of our lives. It helps to visually see the many MORE dots that are there which we have not considered and how rich a life we live and how different we can interpret our life as we so choose. It opens my eyes to my own “story” which I speak to in the singular and helps me realize there are many more and how life is multi-storied!

    Listening to other people’s stories is what I am privileged to do each day in my work. However, I love that through this online course I am challenged to continue to listen to the ‘gaps in between’ or the events NOT part of the dominant “thin” story and to visit these events with my patients to explore together and help co-author an alternative story. As was so aptly coined “There is a TAPESTRY of stories” in us all!

    Thank you Dulwich Centre for this course!

  428. Hello,
    I’m an occupational therapist writing from Hobart, Tasmania.

    How would you describe the narrative metaphor?

    As we go through our lives, we create memories and events. We link these memories and events into our stories, our way of viewing the world and our own identities. When stringing this story together, we can often miss the complexity of memories, focusing on the key moments that ‘fit’ within the paradigm of the story. The narrative metaphor involves looking at all these memories, those told in our stories and those that which we tend to ignore to create a richer story which represents our lives more holistically and creates new possibilities.

    What might thinking about stories in this way make possible for you?

    As an occupational therapist I have seen people link elements of their identity to create a learned helplessness, where they I identify that because of having a disability they are unable to participate in activities. Setting goals can be difficult as the client does not acknowledge that there is possibility for change. I see that by supporting a client being able to re-examine their lives and identify, it creates space for hope and setting new goals.

  429. Thank YOU Mark…this talk really resonated with me and the angst I’ve felt in performing social work duties throughout my career…it always felt just a little bit smug of me to suppose that I could understand, ‘help’, guide or problem-solve with clients. I also felt that the more direct the service work I did the more ability I had to be able to really have a glimpse of the other person’s reality and view…and how they coped with their realities. Wonder if this could be taught in social work, medical, therapy and nursing course work to remind us what the ‘helpers’ bring in their ‘tool kit’?

  430. Hello again from Melbourne, Australia!
    Critical thinking for me has components of analysis, evaluation and lack of bias. I would agree with Judith Butler’s definition of deconstructing presuppositions – as a therapist this is an integral part of self-reflection for me.
    I have often invited clients to critically analyze or deconstruct a “problem concept” with me. I find this to be collaborative and use it as an opportunity to help them develop a new skill which I hope they will use even after therapy to find solutions or reframe their stories.

  431. I’ve been interested in Narrative Therapy since I first learnt about it in my undergraduate degree, and have now come across it again in my postgrad. I’m a domestic violence counsellor in Perth, WA, and am drawn to the externalising aspect of Narrative Therapy as a way of working with women who have experienced DV. What strikes me about this therapy is that human beings tell stories all the time without even being aware of it, and that in therapy this is particularly notable. The concept of dominant stories and the meanings (often negative) attached to those makes a lot of sense. Being aware of and drawing attention to all the other stories that are often subservient can create new understandings and perspectives, which I believe, can empower people to see themselves and the world in a different and more helpful way.

  432. Which resource in this chapter particularly caught your attention and why?

    I really enjoyed reading the excerpt on Sugar. I found it to be particularly interesting because of the approach taken to explain an issue through the use of characterization and externalization. By separating people from their issues by creating a character out of it, it tends to allow people space to begin a healing journey instead of falling victim to the idea that they are the illness and therefore inseparable.

    What sort of problems could be externalised in your context?
    I would say procrastination would be a good problem to be externalized for me. When I have something to do and I don’t do it, I tend to identify as someone who procrastinates. I am a procrastinator.

    What difference might this make?
    By externalizing it I would be able to see better that it is something in which I find myself doing sometimes but it is not who I am- and therefore it would be much easier to change.

  433. i understand critical thinking as the willingness to integrate new and revised perspectives into our ways of thinking and acting.
    so thank you for this chapter, we all need critical thinking but also be able to control how we share our critical thoughts, sharing them in a way which is constructive.

  434. The chapter was very interesting, i am impressed by the fact of inviting patients to join the therapist/other health care providers in forming words and the telling of the story that would go in their medical records.

  435. Writing from Italy

    Which resource in this chapter particularly caught your attention and why?

    The resource that most caught my attention was the piece by Aunty Barbara Wingard entitled “Sugar”. What struck me was that she was really paying attention to the community she was working with, and that narrative supported her to do this.

    What sort of problems could  be externalised in your context?
    I am not currently working in a therapy context, but I do work with people as a teacher. I think that in the context of education, it can be automatic to see problems as part of the student, and not even be aware of thought process. Just noticing this as a teacher is quite significant. I think the stories teachers have about those they work with impact the learning space. Noticing this tendency could be a kind of externalising. But a more practical example might engaging with problems connected to ideas about not being able to do certain things.

    What difference might this make?

    In a teaching context, drawing attention to these sorts of beliefs and making them more visible could support students to take their learning into their own hands, and to explore different ways of engaging with themselves within their learning experience.

  436. When I watched your video so much stood out to me. One thing was when that fella spoke about how peoples journeys are/were dictated by postcodes. When I heard this I thought of my Great Grandmother and Grandmother Linda and Mary Lunn (Mary’s married name is Butler). They were stolen from Kalkadoon country and put on Palm Island. I understand our postcodes change, or in many of our peoples circumstances- have been forcibly changed! But when I hear this I also think of meeting my people at another postcode – The 2016 Laura Aboriginal Dance festival. I think of the significance. I think of how it meant to meet my people. Watch my dances, my songs and hear my language. As I write this I am trembling with emotions and pride is surrounding me! I think of how my ancestors put this in place for us to reconnect across different postcodes.

    An image that comes to mind is one that is evoked when the video shifts to the township- I wonder what that country looked like prior to invasion? Before the concrete smelters. Before the houses. Before the monstrosity that is the mine digging my country up and generating foreign income without paying rent to land owners. I picture the landscape, the sounds, my people, the climate. I picture Kalkadoon people on Kalkadoon country.

    Something that also stood out was the denial stories that fella spoke about. The denial that injustices occurred. The denial that injustices have contributed to inequality. This stands out because within my work, I evoke my ancestors acts of resistance, protest and survivance to ensure these denial stories are told, heard and responded to. I work hard to ensure accountability and collective action is enabled through education of the denial.

    I hold an obligation to my people to do this. The “domino” effect metaphor is a deadly way of explaining the impact of the denial. I think of the phrase “blacks to the back” Our people are not merely “shame” or “shy”. The shyness/shame has been socially constructed. There’s a history to this. That fella explained this when talking about our people being made to wait at the back of the shops, ignored, disregarded and yet somehow walk out of there feeling good? Even to this day, a lot of our people carry this “domino” effect and are reluctant to go to the front of rooms. Unfortunately, the movement that commenced the dominos falling is not spoken about- it is denied. I know that I have been reluctant to stand at the front of rooms. But, through my grandparents stories, your stories, our stories the movement that started the dominos falling are told.

    I can stand up the front. My kids will too because our stories are alive and passed through generations and across postcodes.

    I have never been to my country. However I see it in my dreams and through this video. Thank you for sharing. Thanks you for reminding me to stand tall. Thank you for delivering this message across postcodes.

    Justin Butler of the Kalkadoon nation.

  437. Howdy, I am Jake from the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

    I heard about the Dulwich centre at Unisa when I was studying to be a social worker and I was shocked to find out it was soo close to home for me.

    How would you describe the narrative metaphor?

    Multiple Untold stories with a world of possibilities with new outcomes, solutions and endings. Chimamamnda’s ted talk was very eye opening to me and showed that different stories have different impacts. I found it quite interesting how people perception of a culture can be made by watching a world vision aid of poverty in Africa.

    What might thinking about stories in this way make possible for you?

    I’d like to think looking past the diagnosis or “label” and seeing the person through other stories that may or may not be untold to be very therapeutic and strength focused. Maybe finding some untapped potential or resources in the process.

    In life we can use different lens to take photographs, surely we can do the same in therapeutic counselling.

  438. How would you describe the narrative metaphor?

    For me, the narrative metaphor can represent and support the bringing into consciousness of the diverse experiences and capacities we have as humans. Most of the time, we identify with narrow perceptions of who and how we are in the world. These perceptions are not always ones we have chosen. Our society often forces us into narrow ideas about who and how we are and can be. This makes it difficult for us to imagine ourselves in a way that connects us more to ourselves, to others, and to cultural contexts and histories. The narrative metaphor works to draw awareness to the thin descriptions that inform how we relate with ourselves and our communities, by highlighting unacknowledged moments of survival, triumph, creativity, capacity, and by facilitating a space and a relationship in which new descriptions and stories can safely take place.

    What might thinking about stories in this way make possible for you?

    Thinking about stories in this way helps me to see the everyday ways in which I create myself, and the effects of the “self” I create. This awareness means that I can check in to see which stories benefit me in terms of the relationship I have with myself, and in terms of the ways in which I relate with those around me and the world in general. As a woman with significant privilege, the stories I create about myself can mean that I turn a blind eye to realities that make my life easier and the life of people experiencing marginalisation harder. This contributes to the maintaining and strengthening of systems of oppression. Paying attention to my stories, developing rich and dynamic stories can support me to shape myself so as to develop truer connection with the lives around me, and thus with my own.

  439. Hello,
    I am Esperance from Rwanda.
    Thanks a lot for sharing with us the history, the collaboration and strong partnership of Michael and David which brought out this interesting narrative approach is very impressing.
    The part of Barbara of telling our stories in a way that makes stronger impressed me, i found in it another strategy of coping with grief.
    I again enjoyed the part of continuing conversations, it helped me realize the importance of creating a kind of camaraderie with one’s client.

    Thanks again

  440. ‘I’ve always thought of myself as doing research’ a quote from ‘Anthropology, archives, co-research and narrative therapy an interview with David Epston’. I really like this concept, to help people co-research ways in which to change their relationship with any problems they maybe having. A bit like watching the TV show, ‘This is Your Life’ the only difference being we are co-researching the past, history, stories, problems.

    Adelaide, South Australia.

  441. Hi Grace, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation. I am a Murri just learning Narrative Therapy and I want to thank you for working within a de-colonised framework. I loved hearing you tell the story of Lenny and the boy who liked to go hunting. These stories reminded me of when I worked in Central Australia, my son told me about the time he was traveling home on the school bus a 35 km unsealed and extremely bumpy road. When one of the boys (aged 10 or 11) saw a goanna on the side of the road and yelled to the bus driver to stop so the Aboriginal boys could hunt it down, which they did successfully. My son was invited back to help cook it in a fire at the back yard to eat for tea. These stories are rich in their diversity and when one comes from a de-colonised stance, we see the story of traditional culture at work as opposed to dangerous, cruel or in other words, non-indigenous world view based on how you think the world should be.

  442. Hi everyone,

    How would you describe the narrative metaphor?

    To me, the narrative metaphor is a way of hearing, understanding, and contextualizing how people see themselves in the world and how they present this idea to others. It’s a way of living life in the depth of narrative and being able to differentiate characters, settings, plots and timelines in order to reveal a clear picture of who we are, where we are, and if need be, how to change these things.

    What might thinking about stories in this way make possible for you?

    I found the section about hearing multiple stories very interesting. I, along with many others, have been guilty of hearing only one thin interpretation of a person and making judgments based on these interpretations. This is clearly not the entire story and should not be the basis of how we see people and events in our world today. I am going to take that into consideration when talking with people throughout the day and hopefully begin to have interactions with people layered in a far more rich understanding.

  443. Hey,
    This is a wonderful chapter, documentation is a good tool, but in my context, it can’t be applicable for all, i can’t write to uneducated people who don’t even know to read or write, but for the educated ones it is very good for them to share their experiences, troubles, skills, etc. it helps the one sharing it, and also those receiving it! And it also feels good for a client to receive a comforting message from the therapist.
    For the outsider witness, we somehow do it here in Rwanda, with an approach called “community approach”, where we treat people in their communities, so in the therapy some community leaders and other influential people in their community are invited, but there are first briefed.
    so, thank you for awakening me about the documentation i am going to begin using it, either by email, hard letters, and even whats-app for young people can help.

  444. hello, I am from Rwanda,
    I am really impressed by the externalizing course, the part of commonly asked questions helped me to understand what externalizing is, and i found that creating a space between one’s client and the problem and naming the externalized problem is a very powerful tool, it makes the client realize that he/she is a valuable person and give him/her strengths to be in position of dealing with the problem and its influence on others.
    The video of the black dog was like a case study of how depression could be externalized, and how the externalized conversations can facilitate the therapy. It made me realize that one can’t deal with an internalized problem.
    This is a new tool for me,so, i am going to try it and i am sure it will help.
    Thank you

  445. I thoroughly enjoyed this lesson, I love the idea of creating a document of affirmations to help remind ‘Storytellers’ of their values, dreams and hopes. Documents and Audiences will be a very powerful tool I will want to use in the future.

  446. Another great module which I thoroughly enjoyed. Loved the Mr.and Mrs Carew initiative was great in reducing blaming practices and the silencing caused by stigma and reducing the feelings of failure and isolation. I have always loved anything by Paulo Friere so his contribution in terms of Making History and Unveiling Oppression was great to read especially about how the Neo Liberal discourse being about training rather than formation. Tree of life very useful as it as it gets people to speak about their ‘roots; – where they come from, their skills and knowledge, hopes and dreams – the trees can all come together to form a forest which can weather storms. The Life saving Tips from Young Muslims and the way narrative therapy can be used in traumatised communities such as the Aboriginal Community was also very useful. In terms of my own work with Sexual Abuse Survivors I think the Mr. and Mrs. Care initiative dealing with Aids would be useful as sexual abuse is seen to be shameful. Tree of life would also be useful to show despite adverse life events people have still managed to do things with their life that are useful and often inspiring.

  447. Dear all,
    am writing from Rwanda,
    i am thankful to the Dalwich center for this online course, it has been for a great importance for me as a clinical psychologist.
    as a therapist this narrative metaphor made me realize that we all carry stories and they have a great impact on our lives. it awakened me and reminded me that i must always be curious and search for an opportunity to pass by a different direction to attain the alternative story but with the significant role of my client/patient.
    i enjoyed the video of Adichie, if everyone would cease to listen to single stories, we would all say no to stereotypes.
    Thank you

  448. Yes, I love the idea of letter writing and have since introduced a letter writing component at the end of certain sessions where clients are invited to write a short letter to themselves of something they wish to remind themselves of after today’s session. Clients have told me that they love that part and that looking over the letters have been very helpful. One client even named her collection of letters her “Bible”!

  449. The presentation by Mark Hayward and the article by Barbara Wingard really helped to ground some of the externalising principles in practice, and enabled me to think in tangible terms about how I might incorporate a Narrative approach into my conversations. Mark and the people that wrote the FAQs also addressed the issue of not losing sight of responsibility for violent and abusive behaviour within Narrative practice, which is something I had been wondering about.

    More generally, this unit got me thinking about all of the expertise held by the young people I work with that often gets overlooked or overridden. In particular, many young people I work with have PTSD diagnoses but this ‘experience distant’ description of their distress often can be confusing and lack meaning for them, and it puts the onus on professionals to explain and ‘treat’ the issues they are facing. I am curious about what more ‘experience near’ descriptions of their problems might look like and am keen to try and help to open up space for these and consult with them as experts around this.

  450. Hi there, I’m Alicia from Perth, a practicing behaviour change counsellor. This chapter reminds me that the clients I see have multiple stories and I do them a disservice if I view them only from their dominant story and reflect that story back to them. The single-story approach may be “easier” on the therapist, but personally, I find it terribly dull.

  451. Hi Mark

    Thanks for an interesting talk. Don’t you think we’d fall apart without structuralism?! I was intrigued by your reference to ‘onion theory’ whilst referencing the peeling of an orange. is this significant? I ask this, as the structural nature of onions and oranges is clearly quite different.

    Amy

    • Hi,
      Sorry for the slow reply – I’ve been away. Some communities have never embraced structuralism but seem to manage ok. But maybe some people think they’d fall apart without it? The references to onions and the peeling of an orange is meant to reflect a layer metaphor.

      • Thank you for your helpful response Mark. I understand about the onion and the orange layer metaphor. So long as I don’t get them confused in cooking 😉

  452. Excellent & innovative thinking.

  453. Hi I’m Camille from Qld, Australia.

    I found the Statement of Position Map to be really novel and useful. I think it will help me see what areas to touch on and build on and guide me as to where to aim. I like the hierarchical nature of it so that you know where to drop down to if a client is struggling to be clear on a certain area. The Position Map will help me clarify the directions I’m going in during a session and where the client is at.

    Externalising is a useful tool. I think it has to be done well so that the person is able to step outside of the problem and not be limited or defined by the problem but still take responsibility for their actions.

  454. Hi I’m Camille from Toowoomba. I work as a speech pathologist in mental health.

    I see in my clients great difficulty in telling their stories and so am so interested in Narrative Therapy as way of empowering clients to share who they are and the journey they have been on.

    The narrative metaphor allows meaning to be created from seemingly random events and for difficult and painful experiences to be externalised, named and processed.

    I was heartened by the idea that there are many stories and that it is unhealthy for their to be only one, dominant story that does not take into account the complexity, uniqueness and strengths that people possess. People’s stories need to be told!!!

    • hi Camille,
      yes, beautifully said! it makes the world too flat, this dominant stories!

    • Hi Camile! I love your response!

      I visit Toowoomba, I lecture at the University in the Creative Industries. I was unaware that speech pathology in mental health was a position, I have just read a little more about it. What a line of work to be in! Very inspiring. I would love to know more …. if you felt comfortable sharing with me.

      Warmest,

      Cass

  455. I really enjoyed this module especially the use of letter writing as a session of counselling can be forgotten about very quickly but a ‘concrete letter’ can always be referred to. Great that it as client backing in that a letter can have the efficacy of 4.5 sessions. A client may come in with a thin story but a letter can thicken the story and give a more comprehensive description of a person. My work at CASA together with some work at ERH would benefit from this letter writing process as together with other documents such as those of circulation it “drives a preferred story for a person”. I think that the use of Documents and Audiences is a very empowering way of working with clients.

  456. Hi, Guys, this is Jim from China.

    I have been practicing Narrative Therapy as a Psychological counsellor. The things I find particularity interesting is that how people are fascinated in narrative their stories in a negative way when they are feeling bad, when life is difficult. It occurs to me that people are so sensitive to bad things as it is a basic instinct of our mind, which is to identify problems by which we can better survived. It seems like a bad instinct of our mind.

    I find it not as easy to narrate a new and convincing new story for patient, especially in a culture where reality, like poverty and poor health condition is on the focus of people’s mind.

    The narrative therapy, to some extent, with a new view to one’s life, will be easily interpreted as “Mindful Victory” but not a real story.

    We have to keep on the new story and enrich it from time to time as a therapist.

  457. Hello, I am a social worker based in the UK. My key areas of practice have been advocacy alongside young people seeking asylum in the UK and women who have been subjected to domestic violence.

    I am grateful for this course being made available for free and also for the reflections of other participants which adds a real depth to my learning. The intro unit has been deeply thought provoking and energizing for me and has left me with a lot to reflect on. The emphasis on social context and injustice is both reassuring and refreshing because other therapeutic approaches I have explored often seem to overlook this and therefore seem to run the risk of pathologizing behaviour and internalizing experiences of oppression. It’s exciting to be learning about an approach that externalizes and contextualizes problems in such a considered way.

    Chimamanda Adichie’s talk and Alice Morgan’s extracts got me thinking about the thin dominant public narratives about refugees, spun by politicians and media in the UK and about how these impact directly and indirectly on the young people I work with. I am thinking about how best to acknowledge this and to to help facilitate the telling and ownership of richer individual and collective stories.

    The principle encapsulated in Article 1 about people’s right to define their experiences in their own terms feels very important to me. All too often, statutory (government) social work in the UK doesn’t leave much room for this at all which is a big problem! However, I am also wondering about to reconcile this principle with situations where it is important for someone to acknowledge the impact of their behaviour on others e.g. in instances where people have perpetrated domestic violence. Is there perhaps a risk that their capacity to take personal responsibility could get lost in a constructionist approach? I expect that this is something that might be addressed later in the course but I am keeping it in mind for now.

    • hello Ben, I found it very helpful to acknowedge that it is natural response to injustice, to be upset and resist it. rather than to except this as a way the world is. Regarding the thin dominant public narrative about refugees I have great respect and find JR, a French artist, very inspirational. an example of his work>
      https://bronnieware.com/regrets-of-the-dying/

      I hope my work as an artist helps setting and showing new narratives and counter some of the disruptive and injust narratives we get screamed in our faces. I am looking forward to learning more!

  458. Thank you Vikki for holding our feet to the fire and keeping our work accountable. I am grateful for your solidarity and critique. You inspire me to continue to develop my repertoire of acts of resistance. Mad respect to you.

    • ah ali borden, your solidarity and justice-doing continue to inspire and shoulder me up!

  459. We are Afghans recently arrived in Australia, living in Adelaide. We watched your videos scripts and we really thank you all and appreciate your help and contribution.

    Uncle Ken Leon and the men from the Men’s shed, your work to raise awareness that suicide is not the solution and encouraging people in that community to do something different for their future is impressive. Your work is reminding me of dark times we suffered when there were too many land mines around our village in the farms, mountains and all over the places. I still remember one teacher who came from the district to tell people about the signs of the dangerous areas and what to do when you see a suspicious object, and how to tell to other people and to mark the area. This teacher’s instructions saved a lot of lives. Your work reminds me of him. It is very vital and is very appreciated.

  460. We are Afghans recently arrived in Australia, living in Adelaide. We watched your videos scripts where you kindly talked and shared your help and service you are doing for your communities. We really thanks you all and appreciate your help and contribution.
    Steve Watson, you are hero, a brave man, friend and a father. Your role as a mentor for kids with no difference either the kids are from which background, are admirable and can definitely change our minds that how kind and soft-hearted people you have in your communities.

    Your role as a mentor reminded us the time under control of Taliban during 1998, when Taliban ordered that children under 18 can’t do sport in a specific time of the day and even some sports were determined as a crime, we were playing in a back yard with too much scare and fear. Our parents (father) was chasing us to not play football or volleyball at that time, my father was feared and scared that if Taliban knew that we are playing sport in our age then we would be punished. When we wanted and loved to have someone to mentor and train us in any sport during our childhood, there were no one around to teach us and encourage us. We spend our childhood in time where a simple sport was determined as a crime. The schools were closed especially for girls and I still remember there was a private and very secret girl school in our village run by a family, one day Taliban in that area realised and ordered the family elder to their check point and asked him to immediately close that school and he was put in the detention facility until another villager went and kindly requested and guaranteed that he will close the school. Still I remember the face of those innocent girls when they were told that for tomorrow onwards you can’t come to this school.

    We can feel how energetic and how happy the kids and children in your mentoring village would be. How lucky you are to have a role for which the children can get their dream and goal in that specific field through your hard work. In our opinion in a remote area or country side a person like you can play a vital role, because the history taught us that usually world talented and genius people originate from rural area or country sides.

  461. I am particularly drawn to the use of therapeutic letters. I can see how they could extend the benefits of the therapy session well beyond
    the limits of the hour. I also enjoyed hearing about the knowledge and skills documents, including the use of a journal completed by clients who are finishing therapy. This is something that I routinely discuss with clients but I suspect that the act of writing solidifies the observations & I am sure that others would be interested. This is something that i plan to adopt.

  462. Hello everyone!

    I am currently writing from Kuwait where I work as a high school counselor. I am from Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

    The narrative metaphor, to me, is a constructivist approach that takes into account the many different stories (aka identities, traumas, oppressions, values, characteristics, etc.) that makes a person who they are. The narrative metaphor simply follows the path that the person has walked through, and searches for exceptions and rich stories that can beef up the thin stories around that person’s life.

    Thinking about stories like this has already made an impact on me. I am still learning this approach, but it has opened my eyes to the unspoken lives of my students. We all have stories that we tell ourselves and that have been reinforced by our lived experiences, but we rarely are told of stories that make us better. My hope from this view is to give my students and others around me the confidence to walk in their truth, while also acknowledging the vast and rich stories that make them happy.

  463. What resonated for me in this chapter that there is there is so much more space that we can imagine for us to be in collaboration with the people and communities we work with. The presentation with Tileah Drahm-Butler is compelling in that it gives me a model to understand from starting with stories of strength, survival and resource, and then to work in collaboration with those practices. I see this type of collaboration as a re-imaging of the intrinsic to the context.

  464. I love the idea of acknowledging history, context and influences. I fear this is exactly what is lacking in the digital age. The digital age seems like a significant turning point in history where immediacy or the urgency of the next new thing is the focus of attention. While the growth of the digital age offers so much promise and hope, I love the narrative value of weaving the two together – the present and the past, the hope and the history, the new and what has worked before. I am inspired to always acknowledge history and context the next time I give a lecture.

  465. The story about the Mt Elgon Self-Help Community Project is so moving and compelling. While I certainly believe that tapping into the intrinsic, hidden expertise is a critical foundation for change, I do think it is also helpful to learn new skills our cultural background may have not introduced us to. I know in my own life, healing and change is a combination of both – learning new perspectives, and tapping into my internal strengths.

  466. At its most basic, critical thinking can be defined as ‘the art of analysing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it’ (Paul and Elder cited by hooks, 2010, p. 9).
    With a little more focus on the outcomes we hope for from critical thinking, it can also be described as: ‘the habit of making sure our assumptions are accurate and that our actions have the results we want them to have’ (Brookfield, 2012, p. 14). (By Mary Heath – THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NARRATIVE THERAPY AND COMMUNITY WORK 2012 No. 4 https://www.dulwichcentre.com.au

    Narrative practices invite us to be curious about where our ideas come from and their effects.

    “Critical does not mean destructive, but only willing to examine what we sometimes presuppose in our way of thinking, and that gets in the way of making a more livable world” – Judith Butler reference.

    The material I read here has enhanced my practice as I work with different clients affected by alcohol and other drugs, critical thinking plays a big role for a better benefit for my clients. Reflecting on things has always been a good tool for improvement.

  467. Collaborating as a family or community to tell stories

    It is the intention of the therapist to take up a “decentred and influential” posture in conversations had with the people who consult them – to develop therapeutic practices that make it possible for him/her to occupy the top-left quadrant. The notion “decentred” does not refer to the intensity of the therapist’s engagement (emotional or otherwise) with people seeking consultation, but to the therapist’s achievement in according priority to the personal stories and to the knowledges and skills of these people. In regard to the personal stories of people’s lives, in the context of this achievement, these people have a “primary authorship” status, and the knowledges and skills that have been generated in the history of their lives are the principal considerations.

    The therapist is influential not in the sense of imposing an agenda or in the sense of delivering interventions, but in the sense of building a scaffold, through questions and reflections, that makes it possible for people to:

    a) more richly describe the alternative stories of their lives,

    b) step into and to explore some of the neglected territories of their lives, and to

    c) become more significantly acquainted with the knowledges and skills of their lives that are relevant to addressing the concerns, predicaments and problems that are at hand.

    Fear of externalising
    Building a rapport with a client may be helpful in their managing to externalise. Some say “a problem shared is a problem solved”. Once shared, then a therapist has some ground to stand on to begin their work n supporting a client going through challenging times.

  468. I have been motivated by the idea of working with other, collaborations, partnership working and acknowledging one another.

    “I would like to acknowledge the contributions of Tim Agius and Barbara Wingard to our first explorations of the relevance of narrative practices in working with communities. The foundation of these first explorations was Tim’s unwavering vision of a community-wide gathering that would provide a healing context for Aboriginal families of South Australia that had lost a member through death in jail or prison. The spirit and wisdom that Tim and Barbara then brought to this initiative and so willingly shared with the members of our team sustained us in so many ways … “(White, 2003, p.53)

    Narrative community gatherings provide an example of a therapeutic approach developed in partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal team members6.
    To my mind, Michael has bequeathed not only a profound body of work, but also a particular spirit of originating: one characterized by rigor, determination, collaboration and partnership. Hopefully, alongside Michael’s ideas, this legacy of an originating spirit will also be taken up by future generations of Australian therapists:

    “… one of the aspects associated with this work that is of central importance to us is the spirit of adventure. We aim to preserve this spirit and know that if we accomplish this, our work will continue to evolve in ways that are enriching to our lives and to the lives of persons who seek our help” (Epston & White, 1992, p. 9)

  469. Quite often people come from different cultures, with different experiences, however when such people come together to share their expertise, the cultural gaps will be covered and the richness of coming together to work as a community or communities is always greater. Together Everyone Achieves More (T.E.A.M).

    The innovative projects were a good example for collective narrative practices that are concerned with responding to groups and communities who have experienced significant social suffering and oppression in contexts in which ‘therapy’ may not be culturally resonant. Collective Narrative Practices have a rich history and engage a diverse range of methodologies that can be used with individuals, groups and communities.

  470. I am Divya from India. I found all the material on externalising not only useful but very well laid out. Starting with describing Externalisation, the video gives a very clear and crisp understanding about what externalisation is all about. This is followed by the FAQs which clarify the parts which may not yet be clear. I found the question and response on externalising abusive behaviours particularly useful. The video on depression/ black dog was a fantastic representation of how externalisation works. One of the issues that I have faced while counselling clients is how many people internalise the problem then direct so much anger and resentment towards themselves that they find it difficult to move forward. Externalisation provides a clear structure for separating the person from the problem thus preventing the need for the person to fight with oneself.

    The description of externalisation by Mark Hayward was very useful, especially when it comes to using this map in actual counselling sessions. The differentiation of the four phases by Mark, gives practical clarity on how the externalisation could be used. I have been able to use it with a client who has been having difficulty moving on after a relationship breakup. the use of externalisation has made it possible for the client to see himself as a wholesome and capable person. who is separate from the strong feelings of disappointment, sadness and anger.

  471. “…a short document is better than no document at all”

    Documents I use would range from Consent record, referral record, family history, medical records, counselling and assessment records.

    In some way the above mentioned documents would include “The hidden multiple layers of therapeutic documents …… drawing out that there are a multiplicity of things being ‘rescued’ in the practice of therapeutic documentation:
    • people’s actions themselves,
    • their accounts of their actions,
    • the meaning they give these accounts
    • the recording of these actions, accounts and meanings,
    • the meaning they give this recording, and their reflection on this recording as an action in itself,
    • the act of circulating these recordings and their meanings,
    • the meaning they give to this circulation,
    • the action of people’s responses to the documents, and the meaning they give to this,
    • the meaning these responses have for the people who the documents are about,
    • their actions in responding to the responses …
    • and so on.

  472. This section was difficult for me. I don’t think it is an easy task to locate an audience for so many marginalized communities. I would like to have heard more about how to overcome or find creative ways to find and audience for those who need it.

    But the idea of an idea of inviting an outsider witness and audience is powerful and I understand how powerful that impact can be..

    (New York, NY)

  473. I loved this chapter and it provided so much to think about. I liked the idea not limiting Externalizing metaphors to “war or battles”, but keeping it open to a variety of other metaphors such as : “living with or in relationship with”, etc.

    My first concern about the concept of externalizing is that sometimes problems have had such a severe impact on a person (Trauma, PTSD), that it is an intrinsic part of how the person has been wounded. What happens in such examples.

    Secondly, I am wondering what happens when a person has limited insight into problems – “What is
    outside in or What is inside out?”

    • Apologies: I am writing from NY, NY (USA)

  474. I feel comfortable with the concept and purpose of externalising. I currently commonly do work with people to externalise problems/experiences, I recognise people’s expertise in their problems/experiences and I locate problems/experiences within people’s values.
    I know I work best when I have a structure or framework to follow. They help me to stay “on track” and ensure I’m not missing key points when I’m working with people. The position map provides this structure and is readily understandable – though using it well will take some practice. Mark’s skill and experience made it look too easy!
    Thank you for the questions and tools (e.g. drawing) described in the powerpoint, they will help me practice and slowly build up my own way of doing things.

  475. “The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem”. These words of Michael White have become well-known within the field of narrative therapy.

    If you are in difficulty never be ashamed to ask for help. (http://matthewjohnstone.com.au/)

  476. I am working in an area in South Australia where the history of Indegenous people is more encompassed in the richness of their stories, their experiences and perceptions. However in those stories one can identify some sparkling moments in their lives. By identifying and exploring these sparkling moments, they are full of motivating points/ stages that can be used as starting points to rebuild confidence and make a new start a possibility.

    • Love this response!

  477. Thank you for this course. I’ve been keen to have an introduction to narrative therapy and this program seems ideal. Covering this lesson helped me to realise how we are surrounded by stories. I am drawn to them. Adopting a narrative metaphor to counselling work makes a great deal of sense to me. I look forward to learning the ways that this can be achieved.

  478. Externalising makes it possible for me to see the situation as a witness. I can then naturally step back and talk about it. It creates the much needed distance. Like space.Like oxygen. In which alternative story lines can emerge and be experienced. Do we internalise responsibility? How do we take ownership for our actions? What about our innate talents? I see a value in externalising talents in as much it gives us the critical awareness of the “zone” in which they are most likely to be activated.

  479. The idea that people live multi-storied lives is such a powerful one!! It creates the possibility of of people living unique, dynamic lives full of possibilities without being bracketed into a category. I am very moved and inspired by the idea of looking out for references to experiences and incidents that do not match the plot of the problem story and using those opportunities to highlight tell and retell the unstirred aspects of people’s lives thus opening up the door for multiple possibilities. While the problem story disempowers people, shining the light on alternative stories and making them richer hands the power back to the individual.

    The example of “good driver/ bad driver” and “skilled counsellor/ unskilled counsellor” are brilliant and straightaway help us see the danger of a single story. Narrative practice opens up the door for really seeing people holistically, respectfully and valuing the uniqueness and connectedness of each of us and putting us all on an even keel. This is exciting

  480. I find this work very powerful. It suddenly makes sense of all the verbiage that is going on in my mind. The mass of conflicting strands of meanings are settling into rough story lines. And i can see how my mind on its own wants to walk the path of a familiar story. And ignoring the other streams of rich and diverse story lines which are waiting to be explored. The Narrative Metaphor for me is in a sense is the exploration of the unexplored and untold stories of our own lives. What I see is an endless world of new possibilities of being. Which i have only a dim memory of – The edges of my known identity. i now have the choice of bringing them into my awareness and have them take their rightful place. I am amazed at how even an introduction to the Narrative Metaphor taps into a spring of strength.

    • Thank you for your articulate and interesting description of your understandings. I very much like the idea that our Self is larger and stronger than we might have otherwise known, had we not been introduced to the idea of exploring some of our personal roads less travelled.

  481. I found it useful to have so many of Michael White’s ideas laid out in a bullet-point list at this point in the course. It allowed me to recognized what I’ve learnt so far, and what concepts I am less familiar with, helping to organize my thinking. The concepts of co-researching with people on problems and their relationships struck me as useful, as did ethnographic imagination and “informed not knowing.” I was inspired by the notion of the possibility of brining in influence of ideas from outside the field as a innovative practice, as well as by the applicability of irreverence for the field as a means through with social justice can operate. I’m Cressida from Toronto, Canada.

  482. I love the idea of having documents of knowledge and affirmations, and sharing them with people they trust. I have used both pictures and contracts with a great amount of success with children and adolescents. Looking forward to including more documents in my practice with them.

  483. “What would be helpful to you in your context?”, Wow, what an incredible, expansive question.

    In it, includes acknowledgment of time, place, history, limitations, and opportunities. The Narrative Metaphor means to me that there are always countless stories waiting to be seen, expressed or told.
    And these stories may or may not be acknowledged by the cultural contexts in which they are located.

    In the interview with M. White and the writer Barbara Brooks, I agree with the parallel that Narrative Therapy is also very similar to excellent literary works. They both aim to tell the multitude of storylines that each person lives out in a lifetime.

    I am a psychotherapist, freelance journalist and graphic artist based in NY. Narratology is the lens of how I understand the world, practice psychotherapy, and the expressive mode through art & writing of how I make sense of the world.
    https://www.rejimathewphd-writer.com/

    Sincere Thanks for making this online course possible.

  484. I am struck by the potential of narrative practice and externalizing to relocate the problem in its social context and to create space to recognize and unpack internalized oppression. At the same time, I appreciate the emphasis on understanding the person’s own position in relation to the problem and taking care not to define the nature of and relationship to the problem as practitioners. The statement of position map also helps me to see how narrative practice can access core beliefs that drive the stories we tell ourselves.

  485. Through my experience working with LGBTQ+ homeless youth in urban centres, externalizing has great value. In particular, I appreciated the statement of position map to chart where your conversation has gone, where it could go differently in the future, where you spent to much or too little time. Like many others before me, I too appreciated the conversation about externalizing and responsibility. In particular, I appreciate the possibility for humour/playfulness/lightness here (so long as it is appropriate/ you have therapeutic alliance that makes it okay/ etc.) for example, a person talking about their addiction as an abusive ex-girlfriend they keep running into at a party who promises that this time it will be different, a quality I found present in the Sugar story, the common questions, and in the statement of position map. I also value the capacity externalizing has for people to be the authors of their own experience of whatever problem they are living with and its ability to remove the therapist as the expert, reducing hierarchies of knowledge/expertise. I’m Cressida and I work in Toronto, Canada.

  486. I am new to Narrative Therapy and just beginning my career as a social worker. I appreciated the reminders not only that a single story can be dangerous and oppressive, condescending and prejudiced, but also that by thinking about how we might fall into the trap of seeing only one story, there is ample opportunity to learn and grow. I found Alice Morgan’s chapters straight-forward and easy to understand, an excellent introduction, and her concepts of thin descriptions, thin conclusions, and problem stories useful. I believe these ideas will help me in my work as a practitioner and the populations that I work with. Out of all these materials, what resonated with me the most were the reminders of the Charter. Even as telling stories, enriching stories, and tapping into a stream of consciousness that allows for intimacy with the self is fascinating and useful, these concepts cannot be taken out of the context of power, injustice, and oppression that affect the lives of both practitioners and those they work alongside. To be reminded that everyone has the right for their life to be understood in the context of what they have been through and in the context of their relationships to others, that the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem, and that they solution resides outside the person, was immensely useful. My name is Cressida and I am living and working in Toronto, Canada.

  487. Hi,
    I am new to narrative therapy and was recommended this training as a place to start by my supervisor. I love the place from which narrative therapy seems to spring from, the person isn’t the problem, how freeing in the face of shame and internalised identities this is.
    I really enjoying the video, all too often I see, hear the single story which is so dishonouring and disrespectful (judging). On Anzac day as we remember and honour those who fought for our country, each and every one of these service men have rich stories, multiple stories of their lives, with powerful pre and post war identities. It makes me curious, I have met veterans in my work, many many years later, some hold the horrors of war, the loss of friends, innocents and ideals and seems to struggle to find life, in hospital with children who dont visit, while others stand tall and proud, survivors of war, men of honour, same stories of loss and horror but also of survival, strength and men who fought and created possibilities for their own children’s futures, children who fill the hospital room, who honour their fathers story and sacrifice. Each having a different dominant story of their experiences of war/life??

  488. I’ve used letters to a small degree – as well as documents of knowledge and skills. But what really got me interested was the Narratives in a Suitcase. I also use butchers paper and invite participants to draw pictures – without words – to communicate meaning.The reasoning behind this is that pictures and symbols require the person or group at the centre to explain to the wider audience (outsider-witnesses) the meaning behind the pictures and symbols. I am now intrigued as to how to capture written words alongside the pictures and what they mean.
    I’m also wondering how social media e.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc., provides opportunities for me to offer a preferred identity and get almost instantaneous authentication through ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. Is this a medium that I could explore in working with people? The mind boggles with where this conversation might lead to 🙂

  489. Hello! My name is Erica and I am from Vancouver, B.C. in Canada.

    Rather than having one story composed of a sequence of events, our lives are made up of many stories that may emerge and become more prominent at different times and contexts. These stories can change over time as they are influenced by many things, such as repeated experiences that are not congruent with our dominant story. These stories are important and powerful as the stories we hold about ourselves and our lives make up our lives and influence the decisions that we make, and ultimately affect our future.

    Thinking about stories in this way helps me to become aware of the many stories I have told myself and others over the years. Because we have control over these stories, we have the power to change the ones that do not serve us well. This is incredibly empowering as it gives the individual a sense that they can effect change in their lives by creating a preferred story for the future. However, as our stories are influenced by the larger social context that surrounds us, I recognize that we may still be limited by the reality of the societal constraints that we may face.

    I found the first two chapters from Alice Morgan’s book really helpful in providing me with clear and easy-to-understand information about narrative therapy as I have very limited prior knowledge of narrative therapy. I also found the video with the dots from Freedman and Combs’ Dot Exercise to be helpful as it provided me with a visual explanation of the process of narrative therapy and how it works.

  490. I am from Brisbane in Queensland Australia and work with women who have experienced violence. The video detailing Chimamanda Adichie for me described very well the narrative metaphor, in that relying on single stories can result in the creation of stereotypes, a loss of dignity, and an idea that we are not all equal. The explanation of how power is expressed through the telling of single stories was for me very touching, as much of my work is raising consciousness amongst women about the gendered power inequality which is very much apart of the story of violence against women. Understanding the narrative metaphor, along with honouring the charter of storytelling rights, reminds me to be curious of the many other ways in which people can describe their experiences.

  491. I work in Wales, UK. Working with people experiencing homelessness, externalising should be a very useful tool. It is a good example of helping people to think about homelessness as being something outside of themselves and not a permanent situation due to the kind of person they are. Homelessness can engender stigmatising attitudes and presumptions in others and clients often become very negative and defensive, expecting to keep on encountering such attitudes. The journey through charted conversations can help to open up possibilities of other ways of living and starting to form aspirations and finding practical, step by step approaches to achieving an end. I found Mark Hayward’s video and resources on Maps of Narrative Practice a very useful exercise in understanding externalising in order to find the space between the person and the problem they are struggling with.

  492. I could really connect with this and the stories aound practice and will look to add this to work I do. With thanks and apreciation

  493. Hello all,
    I’m Cathy and I work in Wales, UK. My current involvement is with those experiencing homelessness and those recovering from abuse. I found the introductory chapter on Narrative Therapy illuminating and constructive. The idea of coming to focus on thin stories and thin descriptions of ourselves, especially following difficult experiences resonates deeply for myself and those I encounter. Such outlooks ultimately become draining in themselves.

    Finding alternative stories, starting to explore the multi-faceted nature of our lives and realities, remaining curious and asking questions we do not know the answer to encourages a broadening, an enriching, bringing imagination and creativity back into the mix. I can see how this can build the framework for seeing a different, richer possibility about identify and the life anyone chooses to live.

  494. I particularly enjoyed reading about how externalising involves doing small ‘p’ political work – about putting back onto culture and history what originated from culture and history. As a person who values ‘justice’ and is highly motivated to keep systemic injustices accountable, externalising provides space for people and communities to ‘breathe’ to ‘reflect’ and ‘to re-create’ and ‘re-construct’ truths which need to be more richly described and celebrated. The techniques of externalising – being grounded in a person’s own worldview, language and culture – can be learned and used by the person themselves. The potential for grassroots empowerment is limitless!

    • Very powerful words Ben, I agree, Externalising being grounded in a person’s own worldview, language and culture.
      Externalising is the clients ways of ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’.

  495. In my education work with students and young adults at risk, the themes of isolation and disconnection recur, but after reading Alice Morgan and listening to Chamamanda, I now suspect that these themes are ‘thin conclusions’ rather than root causes. As a practitioner who has prided himself on helping others find their own solutions, I have been guilty of perpetuating a single-storied narrative around young people at risk. So this is prompting me to approach my conversations with a far more open stance of curiosity and withholding my confidence in my own skills. Exercising patience, continuing to remain curious and keeping the other person central are skills I am looking forward to practising with the support of this course.

  496. I had heard the quote the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem at a hearing voices seminar where it was used for people with a mental illness. This chapter was a very good amplification of what I had heard and I will be able to utilise this in work with people who have been sexually abused. I particularly liked how you can with this approach help empower clients by redefining the problem from e.g. depression to ‘a cloud of depression is keeping Zoe at home’ or seeing depression as the ‘black depths’. Locating the problem(s)within a cultural and historical perspective rather than within the person avoids pathologising the person. People who have been sexually abused often suffer from issues such as shame, anger, guilt and these issues can ‘poison ‘ them. The process of externalising can offer an approach that allows them to look at the issues to define them, to unpack them and move forward with their lives at their own pace and on their terms.

  497. I see the value of outsider witness and documentation as preserving knowledges. People exist in the social realm. Their values, beliefs, knowledge, ideals, assumptions, problems, concerns etc. all exist in the presence of the social so it makes sense that the social would be helpful and beneficial for making changes and checking on personal perspectives. As individuals, I think we are lomited in scope when we try to do things alone no matter how tempting. Connecting with others can expand our experience and minds into more dynamic and robust realizations. However, I work in a college where trying to find outsider witnesses are limited. There are only 3 of us and only one day a week where our schedules overlap to get other perspectives can be difficult. I dont have much access to others who might be sufficient for this task. This may take some time.
    Documentation is a tricky one. I have heard various perspectives from not putting too much information as it can cause problems if the courts get involved. I think I might try to write some closing letters to people to finish off the school year. I have also heard of the rights of passage certificates. I think that could be important for some, but I am not sure all people would appreciate it. I prefer to add as much as I can remember what happened during previous sectikns as I forget. I will consider all that I can to help our people out.

  498. Hello everyone! I work as a trauma counsellor in Melbourne, Australia. Merging trauma-informed therapy with narrative practice has been very rewarding for me as a therapist. The narrative metaphor gives me tools to work with clients and help them externalize the trauma, re-author their stories with a focus on the person they are, and most importantly give them the language to create new narratives for themselves. I will surely be using the dot exercise as it adds visual engagement to our usually verbal practice.
    As a feminist and someone who loves working from a strengths-based perspective, narrative practice is close to my heart. I can’t wait to continue learning through this course.

  499. Thank you for explaining structuralism and post-structuralism in such a user-friendly way.

  500. I work in a sexual assault service in Shepparton, Victoria, Australia and I have found this first Online Component fascinating. I have always worked from a strengths based perspective and this I find combines very well with Narrative Therapy. Of particular interest was the use of thin storylines and the dot exercise that illustrate that there are richer storylines in a person’s life. This way of working views problems as separate from the person is a great non blaming way to work. Also looking at who tells the story – is it the health professional, the family or the person concerned. it is said that the victors write history but sadly the people I work with are often the vanquished. However these people have stories that are often not told and narrative therapy provides a very good springboard for this to happen

  501. I enjoyed the shared documents of skills to ask for help very good. I have many clients with avoidant personality attachments, who struggle with asking for help, and this piece of work, would work very well for them to develop that skill.

  502. Leanne from Qld Australia,

    I found this chapter great. Although I did have techniques in externalising, however the questions used was great to explore. I enjoyed the techniques around limiting externalisation for acts of violence.

  503. Hi from London, UK. I have designed a training course around music and mental health and watching the video on Mt Elgon project and then looking at the webpage about ‘songs as a response to hardship and trauma’ has given me an idea to amend the course for the better. I realise it would be important to build in some time on the course for participants to share their stories about how they have used music to help cope and/or heal from hardship and trauma, rather than me just presenting the ideas. Thank you!

    I also like the idea of the Team of Life workshop and am thinking about how I can adapt it to the workplace in an organisation that uses different teams of people.

  504. At present I write recommendations and reports on students that students do not get to see. I work in Corrective Services. Reading the articles for this chapter – particularly on writing hospital reports – has made me think about the ways I do and don’t collaborate with students own representations of themselves, and their hopes and dreams. I have often thought when I write my reports and recommendations: Gee, I wonder if one day one of my students will ask to have access to all of his prison files and what he might think about what I have written? For this reason my reports and recommendations are always kind and respectful. However, due to time constraints, I do not use the students’ names as I did in the beginning. I use a kind of shorthand where names are not needed, but I wonder whether going back to using the students’ names would be better practice.

  505. Thank you so much. I love the hopefulness of your talk and way of speaking with people. Honestly, makes my heart feel full and soaring.

  506. I love the idea of ethnographic research – of not knowing and that being okay. Curiosity and bringing forth other people’s ways of knowing and knowledge and understanding from a place of curiosity and respect, what a gift.

  507. Hello, everyone
    I am from Colombia actually I am living in Australia (Melbourne)
    I so glad that I found this online course which can help me to develop a better understanding of narrative practice.
    I am inspired by narrative therapy in the way of the mental health is approached, and how through the privilege of alternative histories the clients are able to transform their realities and identities.
    the powerful tool that I have found is the metaphor which allows a better understanding of an alternative perspective.

    • Hello ALl,

      Leanne from QLD state here. Im really enjoying this course. Narrative therapy is something I know off, and briefly learned about, but not in this detail. Im enjoying how many and complex stories we all have, and im looking forward to exploring the depths with my clients, to give them empowerment.

  508. I especially appreciated your use of these narrative practices in your pastoral work. I have occasionally had people wondering about the compatibility of the two in my own work. You have demonstrated that compatibility beautifully. Thank you.

  509. I enjoyed very much the course, I already uploaded the essay and I will be looking formward to hearing from your comments or feedback. Thank you very much for the opportunity, and I am very interested in continue with the online course and in being able to go and visit the centre as soon as I can. Thanks!

  510. I enjoyed this course. I am just struggling to find time to finish my essay for certification. There are just so much work to do at work and at home. I will find time soon, I hope. 🙂

  511. I love what Paulo Freire said/wrote: ‘Being in the world means to change and recharge the world, not adapt to the world’. I find this concept so thrilling and empowering. Such a courageous stance.

  512. My name is Ivan Alejandro Rodriguez Santarriaga, and I’m From a City in Mexico named Juarez!

    I really liked this Narrative Therapy Chapter because of it’s Community projects. I specially engage with the ”Little by little we make a bundle” paper, because of the personification the facilitator made about HIV and Mr. Care, to create an ongoing conversation with the participants struggling with those health conditions. It made me think on how can I apply this way of dealing with serious problems in my context and community, leading me to the conclusion and desire of working with drug related problems.

    In my community, located in Mexico, the drug related problems inbetween young people are constantly prevailing, many times because of a lack of work and educational opportunities, so, in this regard, translaping the Little by little we make a bundle ideas into the context of problematic drug use and abuse is appealing to me: Externalizing the ”Drug consumption” and personifying the ”willingness to leave the drugs”! I think that in creating a conversation and a safe place for young people to express their concerns, likes and dis-likes about drug use, and peripheral things that sustain the usage may be a very good idea to try to analyze new possibilities in to how to relate one self to life…

    Alex From Mexico

  513. Hi Sara,

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful work.
    Please let the participants know that I have been deeply touched and inspired by their stories.
    My colleague are thinking of using this methodology in our work. I will contact you privately to discuss.
    Kindly,
    Viviane.

  514. Thank you for this section – it was very helpful. Here are my answers:

    What forms of documentation might be most relevant or resonant in your context?

    I like the idea of documenting exactly what has been said and going back over that to give the person sharing their story the opportunity to hear it again from a different source.

    Are there particular ideas or practices you found within these materials you might draw on in your future meetings with people?

    I love the questions that outsider witnesses are to keep in mind when listening to narratives. I want to keep those questions at the forefront of my own mind as I respond to and witness the narratives I come in contact with. I also loved the tangible reminders of the narrative process and the creative ideas for bringing the stories into the here and now.

  515. I was incredibly moved by the Suitcases Project that was spoken about. It has challenged me ask myself questions about my life choices and journeys and to reframe them in more self-loving ways. Dominant ‘thin’ stories seem to abound and I feel that my task right now is to thicken and enrich my definition of self. It feels exciting and expansive.

  516. Hello Course Colleagues

    Coming into this chapter through David Denborough’s opening quote and the reminder to receive the various cultural stories of hardships as platforms for local action, and then to be led to Paulo Freire’s article kept me grounded in the reading and listening of the various articles, projects and songs in this chapter.

    Freire’s words through his notion of Critical “Pedagogy of Desire” resonated deeply with me: “being in the world means to change and re-change the world…to intervene in reality…creating the context for people…generate in the people political dreams, wishes and desires”.

    In this light, the opening premise rings true, i.e., conventional notions of “therapy” may often not be culturally resonant, and that various collective narrative practices unique in themselves may be available to us if we are open and present to receive them in their integrity.

    How exciting and powerful the use of role-playing in “Little by Little We make a Bundle”, to draw out, externalize and give voice to, in a collective and communal way, the story and impact of HIV/AIDS.

    The Characters of CARE and AIDS, and the drama that ensues reminds me of the use of Global Cinema as a Narrative Practice that I use with urban teachers. Here we have drawn on the South African film (in Northern Sotho language): Life Above All, where Chanda, the 12 yr old protagonist, allows us to witness through her eyes a variety of narrative and phenomenological themes: Family Love and disintegration; Church/Community support and breakdown; Shame, abuse and prostitution when children are left orphaned; entrenched contrasts and mistrusts of traditional and modern medicine and taboos; missed education opportunities, etc. Chanda becomes our “senior partner” in a narrative collective practice as she guides us through her narrative emplotments and resolutions.

    As I went through the various projects, each one of them offered me ideas that I could use in my own setting. I was particularly taken by the “Ocean of Depression” submission by Afghan/Central Asian refugee youth and by the Life Savings Tips by Young Australian Muslims. In both cases I was drawn to how much their “historical consciousness” and the traditional concepts of family and community comes to their aid as they grapple with the various traumas and challenges in their lives.

    This was an “eye-opening” chapter for me and my practice. Thank you.

    Munir – Vancouver, Canada

  517. Salaam and Thank you.

    You have gifted us with powerful insights filled with wisdom and courage, through your stories and experiences, and by the exquisite and thoughtful way you have produced and directed this important and timely project.

    As an educator/teacher/narrative practitioner, in Vancouver, Canada, and as someone who shares a story of disruption and diaspora, and who also works in communities where such stories are the lived experiences of children and families, your project gives us much hope.

    “What has happened to you my happiness? What has happened to you, my dream?”, the theme words in the sublime song that you shared, speak of how confounded and “dark” the world becomes as depression visits us, and encroaches our life.

    And yet the story of the song offers us powerful and living metaphors; images of movement, light and the ebb and flow of life, where we can see ourselves beyond the visiting depression.

    The words: “My heart has become the brother of your heart”, allows to me to know that I am connected, and also part of larger stories, some in the memories of my childhood, some yet to be written, and some being lived now. In this, I find a sense of freedom.

    Remembering of our ancestors and their gifts to us, and being around elders in our communities also resonated with me, especially as we take on the long arc of our narrative lives. We are grateful for it all.

    Your final words: “After each darkness there is light. After each night there is day”, are offered as hope, but also as an invitation to take action – a reminder of care and respect when we encounter each other in our differences.

    Thank you and Khuda Hafez

    Munir – Vancouver, Canada

  518. Hi Nerida, thanks so much for sharing your interesting work with us. I appreciated the respectful and creative ways you have found to engage with young people who are going through difficulties. Thanks also to Keira and Bee, for allowing us to hear some of their experiences and ideas.

    An idea you brought to me was about offering articles of interest to the people we meet with. I once shared the Mary Heath video (from the Friday Afternoons) with a young woman who was questioning her sexuality, and she found the thoughts presented in the video very liberating. She then shared it with her friends. I haven’t pursued this concept of sharing Narrative resources since, but you have re-invigorated me!

    Thanks also for sharing your proposal and wedding photos. Congratulations on your marriage!! The plebiscite caused a lot of heart ache for some young and older people I have been meeting with, so your discussion of this resonated with me. For some people it caused a recurrence of what may be described as mental health struggles, which could have been individualised and pathologised. I agree with you that this is political. The context of the plebiscite and the other socially constructed difficulties people face needs to be visible in our work with people in the LGBTIQA community. Thanks for your contributions to this.

    Warmly,
    Loretta

  519. Hello Course Colleagues

    Drawing on Ricoeur, Geertz and White, Newman’s article is insightful and vivifying for me. The notion of a “living document”, almost a self-ethnography, where the “said” is rescued from the “saying” to evoke active interpretation within a co-authoring therapeutic relationship speaks to my own practice with teachers and community elders.

    I also appreciated what Julie has offered in the previous post (Thank you). How are we as co-authors to insert and enunciate the experiences, stories, knowledge, understanding of school-based actors, back into the stream of personal history, culture/sub-cultures, time and discourses where “meaning can persist”, understood and shared. This is exquisite as a conceptual, phenomenological and practice-based backdrop to situate the narrative therapeutic processes of documenting and witnessing.

    Nucbe-Mlilo’s comprehensive presentation was particularly insightful for me – Narratives in a Suitcase – and the work among street children again speaks to my own work in urban contexts and communities in grasping and responding to the physical, emotional, phenomenological and narrative experiences of street children. The “narrative documents” in the suitcase invite the “journey” metaphor to draw out significant relationships; personal skills and strengths; problems and challenges, position and vision, values. It was especially important to notice how much the children relied upon the trust of civil society institutions in re-configuring their narrative identities, institutions which so often fails them.

    The “Outsider-witness” article provided crucial insights for me. For example upon reading how White had drawn upon the work of Myerhoff to develop structures and practices of “definitional ceremonies” in NT, I was drawn to my own practice of using the work of Ricoeur and Testimony (Memory, History, Forgetting; and, Hermeneutics of Testimony) to invite and “re-member” excesses of meanings, often not available in the mere telling of narratives, but available more when witness-practices and testimony-practices are conjoined as narrative therapy encounters in respectful settings.

    There are so many gems in this chapter to draw from…

    Thank you

    Munir – Vancouver, Canada

  520. I have been very interested and inspired by the idea of Living Documents as a method by which stories, skills and knowledge are shared, even when the spoken word has become too daunting a medium for some. The concept of “getting our own language back through the language of others”, of which David Newman speaks is one which I feel I myself have experienced at certain points in my life, without really being mindful of the process taking place; to be guided, reassured and encouraged by the shared stories of others; their ‘living documents’, is an idea which fills me with hope and ambition for the various ways I might use it in future professional situations.
    As a teacher I have often used letters as a way of sharing with my students their own stories which I have witnessed them ‘tell’ in my classroom, using their own words or the observations of others in their group to witness the journey they take over the course of a school year. It has been a way of honouring and valuing the milestones reached and lessons learned that could not be communicated through exam grades or reports. I look forward now to extending this methodology into the therapeutic context.

  521. Hello, I am Jennifer from Dawson Creek British Columbia, Canada. I am also a recent discoverer of Narrative Therapy and the narrative metaphor makes a lot of sense to me. I am currently a women’s counselor of domestic violence and other historical trauma, and I can already see how the metaphor is helpful in working with women, abuse, and trauma. In the future I may be transitioning into family counseling and it is highly useful there as well. I especially like the way the metaphor looks at externalizing the problem versus assigning it to the person, which, it is easy for me to see how this would help in better addressing the problem if we look at it externally rather than internally. I know I have only just touched the surface of the narrative metaphor, and I am excited to learn much more about this!

  522. Hello, Course Community.

    My practice in Vancouver, Canada, entails being around K-12 urban teachers doing graduate work and the charged conversational realities they bring to bear, so often fraught with emotionally and physically challenging institutional lives in urban school communities. Here, narratives of diasporic communities and families, and other inter-generational, historical and colonizing narratives are marked by despairing and disrupting experiences that have been internalized deeply as “deficits” not only in the lives of families and children, but also in the lives of teachers and other care-providers.

    Narrative meaning-making hence is an important aspect of my practice where teachers often speak of “self-alienation”, “of a fatigued and incoherent vocational plot”, “of the politics of language” that governs and constructs their narrative identities, and where they have in some sense become narratively opaque to themselves.

    What I am thoroughly appreciating is how narratively and pedagogically grounded the course curriculum is so far, including the various media used, not to forget Phillipa’s introduction and closing reflections. The third chapter, takes the core concepts and experiences of the previous chapter including the NT Charter platformed on justice and rights, and proceeds to offer the “externalising” metaphor beyond its linguistic surpluses of meaning and into a viable technique and practice of narrative meaning-making.

    The video of Mark Hayward on mapping the narrative practice, his skillful and respectful use of