2010: Issue 1

Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in | 0 comments

2010-no-1Dear Reader

G’day and welcome to the first journal issue of 2010. And what a diverse and intriguing collection it is. Every paper is from a different country: South Africa, Australia, UK, Canada, Israel and the USA.

It begins with three narrative practice papers.

Ncazelo Ncube provides new options for those working with children who have experienced abuse. Barbara Wingard provides a way to spark externalising conversations about lateral violence in Aboriginal communities. And Lincoln Simmonds offers reflections and options for practice in relation to narrative approaches to supervision consultations.

These three papers convey a glimpse of the diversity of contexts in which narrative ideas are now being engaged with!

We have entitled this journal issue ‘Border crossings’ because we have deliberately included here three papers that ‘cross’ boundaries or borders between narrative therapy ideas and other approaches to working with individuals and families. Over the years we have received many requests for papers that explore how narrative ideas can be used in conjunction with, or alongside, other ways of working.

This ‘border crossing’ section begins with an interview with Daniel Bogue about family group conferencing which is entitled: ‘Reversing the trend: Families resolving and responding to their own problems of living’. There seems a considerable overlap in relation to the principles of practice of family group conferencing and narrative ideas. We’re delighted to open conversations about these links in this issue.

The second paper, from Razi Shacher, is entitled: ‘Combining relaxation and guided imagery with narrative practices in therapy with an incest survivor’. As the title suggests, this paper explores how the author has used guided imagery alongside narrative practices.

And finally, psychiatrist SuEllen Hamkins discusses ways of bringing narrative practices to psychopharmacology. This is a follow-up to her very popular article which we published some years ago: ‘Introducing narrative psychiatry: Narrative approaches to initial psychiatric consultations’.

These are three significant ‘border crossings’. What can be learned from such situations? We will very much look forward to your comments and reflections about them.

Warm regards,

Cheryl White


Showing all 6 results

  • The Journey of Healing: Using Narrative Therapy and Map-making to Respond to Child Abuse in South Africa— Ncazelo Ncube


    This paper documents an approach to working with girls in eastern and southern Africa who have been subject to abuse and trauma. It first summarises the key principles of narrative therapy’s approach to working with trauma and abuse, and then outlines a workshop that was co-created with girls and young women, based on the ‘journey metaphor’ and ideas of map-making from narrative therapy/ narrative practice.

  • A Conversation with Lateral Violence— Barbara Wingard


    Lateral Violence is the name given to the harmful and undermining practices that members of oppressed groups can engage in against each other as a result of marginalisation. This paper comprises an ‘interview’ with Lateral Violence, played by a senior Australian Aboriginal health worker. In this paper, Lateral Violence provides ‘its own’ exposé. It is hoped that this paper may be used as a script for running workshops on lateral violence.

  • Narrative Approaches to Supervision Consultations: Reflections and Options for Practice— Lincoln Simmonds


    Consultations where professionals working with people with difficulties see another mental health professional for advice and help, are an important part of the work of many therapists. This paper discusses how a narrative perspective can be particularly helpful in deconstructing one particular discourse that can at times dominate in consultations – that the therapist is the sole expert or authority on people’s difficulties. Although this paper focuses on consultations with professionals, many of the ideas and issues discussed are relevant to consultations with non-professionals.

  • Reversing the Trend: Families Resolving and Responding to Their Own Problems of Living through Family Group Conferencing: An interview with Daniel Bogue


    This interview explores the principles and practices of family group conferencing, as practiced in Ontario, Canada. The Ontario model draws on the family group conferencing first developed in New Zealand, and brings together practices of family therapy, children’s welfare, community organising, and ritual/spiritual concerns. By ‘widening the circle’ to include extended family members – often in quite protracted and difficult children’s welfare cases – family group conferencing allows for more voices to be heard, and families to develop their own solutions. This interview took place in Toronto in April, 2009. David Denborough was the interviewer.

  • Combining Relaxation and Guided Imagery with Narrative Practices in Therapy with an Incest Survivor— Razi Shachar


    This paper explores the use of relaxation and guided imagery in conjunction with narrative therapy, with a woman dealing with the effects of trauma related to sexual abuse. The work took place in Israel, with a woman who was abused in childhood by her brother, yet she was still on good terms with him and the rest of her family. The woman was also part of a religious community that placed certain expectations on women regarding sexual relationships with their husbands. This paper explores some of the more complex issues around sex and intimacy, along with ways of unpacking sex, body image, and dominant cultural norms, in a complex and nuanced context.

  • Bringing Narrative Practices to Psychopharmacology— SuEllen Hamkins


    This paper considers how narrative therapy practices can be brought to the field of psychopharmacology. Specifically, the paper explores how clients’ evaluations of medicine – including negative and positive effects, as well as their preferences for its use – can be brought more to the centre of medicine consultation. The various discourses that surround pharmacology during practice are also considered, including how to proceed when these discourses are in conflict. A discussion of the relevant issues in theory and practice is complemented by two examples from the author’s practice.


  1. Listening to Tileah I was provoked to contemplate my own use of language when working with clients. I enjoy the narrative model of practice and I am aware that for some there is definitely stigma attached to the process of counselling or therapy. I have only had one experience of working with an Indigenous person as a client and I will be sure to look at my use of language. I like the idea of it just being a yarn, it takes the pressure and onus off of the client to do something.

  2. Hello:

    This is Andrea from Toronto.

    I found particularly helpful the discussion in the FAQ around the use of metaphors of conflict and combat. I expect to be working in healthcare settings with critically ill patients and their loved ones (mostly children and parents), and I anticipate hearing them use these kinds of combative metaphors during our conversations. I also anticipate meeting many people who are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from “fighting” these problems. I appreciated the comments in the FAQ about combative metaphors, and the suggestions around exploring other kinds of metaphors which may be less conflict-laden and draining on their emotional resources. Thanks again for making this material available!

  3. I have started to use collaboration with clients when I am asked to write a report. I ask clients what they see as the areas of change and challenge of which they want others to be aware. I also at times share my report with the client first to be sure it accurately reflects their experience. In this way they are both acknowledging their ongoing journey and being acknowledged for the work they have done.

  4. Mike here, in London. I too was interested in “We were unwittingly adjusting people to poverty or other forms of injustice by addressing their symptoms, without affecting broader social and structural change.” It’s a really difficult question. I was involved for about 10 years in working with people suffering from homelessness. Sue Mann’s story really rang true for me. One thing I was involved in was a choir for marginalised people, literally helping them find their voices. That, I felt, was useful, and collaborative. But I have always been suspicious of things like distributing left-over sandwiches to people sleeping rough on the street, as if that made it OK for them to be there as long as we give them some stale sandwiches. Or giving them tents or sleeping bags. What message does it send? Even though it may be well-meaning.

  5. Hi, I’m Mike. I work as a couples counsellor in London, England. My main training was 50% psychodynamic and 50% systemic. Narrative work was touched on briefly, for one module, and I am looking forward to learning more. Couples certainly do bring stories, often rather thin stories. “My partner is selfish.” Or “My partner had an affair”. Full stop. That’s all there is to know. Even in happy couples, people seem to get shaped into rather thin roles: this partner is the one who’s good with people, that partner is the one who’s good with money, this one cooks, that one drives. If the relationship ends, they may discover, actually *I* also can drive, cook, manage my money, make friends, I am a complete person.

  6. I think it will be an important part of my practice to investigate with clients which elements of our systems (social, cultural, political, economic) that are contributing to or mitigating their problems and suffering. I was particularly struck by the following sentence from the Just Therapy article: “We were unwittingly adjusting people to poverty or other forms of injustice by addressing their symptoms, without affecting broader social and structural change.” I think it is incumbent upon those of us in helping professions to work with the people we are helping to begin addressing the systemic issues that are contributing to (or creating) their problems. Otherwise, we may fall into this trap of “adjusting people to injustice.”

  7. Hello! My name is Andrea and I am a Masters student in a spiritual care program located in Toronto.

    After reviewing this chapter, I’m reflecting upon the question that was raised: “how do we respond to grief when that grief has been caused by injustice?” and thinking about it in the context of working with seriously ill children and their families in a hospital/hospice setting. Patients and families in that setting also face grief that has been caused by injustice (in the form of incurable illness), and I see how the narrative metaphor can be used to help those families begin to reclaim their own lives in the face of tremendous loss caused by uncontrollable circumstances. I can see how the Articles of the Narrative Therapy Charter of Story-Telling Rights would be tremendously helpful when working with patients and families as a framework for telling and receiving their stories about their lives and their problems.

    For me, the material in this chapter also raises the question of how we can help to facilitate healing in a world where systems are seemingly becoming more unjust and creating deep suffering. My initial thought is that we continue to listen to each other’s stories with deep compassion, and the teachings of this course will help to provide us with new ideas and skills on how to do this.

  8. Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk was incredible. The one line where she said “a single story creates a stereotype. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete”. This blew my mind. I am ashamed to have ever participated in the single story belief of anyone let alone whole cultures, communities and countries , continents and so on. I know that moving forward I will endeavour to hear more stories and to encourage others to tell their story. I am about to run a photovoice narrative project to do just this, give a whole community the opportunity to change their stereotype.

  9. “Narrative therapy doesn’t believe in a ‘whole self’ which needs to be integrated but rather that our identities are made up of many stories, and that these stories are constantly changing.”

    I like this, I find it very compatible with my beliefs as a Buddhist. In Buddhism, as I understand it, mistaken beliefs about a solid, fixed “self” are the source of our suffering.

    I work with couples using EFT for couples, and in that approach, there is a big emphasis on externalising the problem as “the cycle that you get trapped in”, and encouraging couples to come up with their own name for it.

  10. Thank you for this. I am a counsellor, and trying to make as much as possible of my notes “in quotes”, that is, writing down things that the clients said. And not my own opinions.

  11. hello

    I the ED of a Friendship Center in Terrace, BC where were mostly target the indigenous population in our city of 12,000. I found your video interesting and something that we may want to try. Havee you been able to to do any follow ups studies to gage the long term effect of your program?


    Cal Albright
    Kermode Friendship Center
    Terrace, BC

    • Hi Cal, thanks for the interest. At this point the only followup has been through conversations with with people who return to volunteer on additional walks or engage with our other programs.

      However, a group of fourth year medical students at a local university have offered to run a pre and post measured study / report in 2020 as part of their studies which should be interesting.

      Let me know if you would like more information.


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

  13. Hi Chris

    I really enjoyed watching your video about Narrative Walks. My project is based in Blaenau Gwent, in South Wales, Uk. I’m wondering whether I might use such an approach in my work with our Youth Service, who support young people between the ages of 11 and 25. Have you any thoughts on this? Are there any resources available, either free or to purchase?

    Best wishes


    • Hi Paul, m

      Much of my early attempts of the program were with the 15-20 year old age bracket and I found it worked really well. When I recently had an opportunity to run the program again with this age bracket – I extended the finish time so that could spend more time at the stop points and have a fire at the last resting place to talk about our intentions after the walk. This meant that we used head torches for the 2km which added a bit of a sense of theatre to the day. It was pretty cool.

      If you email me on hello@embarkpsych.com I can send you the manual. Or ask any other questions via this page so others might share in the answers.