2012: Issue 2

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international_jounal_2012_2
Welcome to the second on-line issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work! This issue opens with a paper from Hong Kong practitioners, Sharon Shui-king Leung and Ellen Yee-man Ma about re-membering practices with two young women. There is a thriving community of narrative practitioners in Hong Kong and we look forward to featuring more work from this part of the world in years to come. As this journal is now on-line, this will also provide the opportunity to publish in more than one language in future.

The second paper in this issue, is a detailed exploration of theory and practice from Ron Findlay on the theme of narrative approaches to discussing sex life in therapy. This is a topic we have been keen to publish on for a number of years. A dear Mexican colleague, Emily Sued (who has since passed away), would point out to us how few papers there were in relation to narrative sex therapy. This is now changing, and we think Ron’s paper makes a significant contribution to this growing field.

The second part of the journal consists of two papers that combine narrative practices and principles with the use of metaphor. Natale Rudland-Wood offers the long awaited ‘Recipes for Life’ which is already being engaged with young and old. And David Denborough describes the use of the Team of Life with young men from refugee backgrounds.

Finally, we’re pleased to include a paper by Tom Strong considering the implications of the DSM-V. Over coming months we will be developing a draft ‘user guide’ of the DSM for families in which a young person has received a DSM diagnosis. We invite any of you who are interested in participating in this process to contact us.


 

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  • About re-membering: The stories of Nancy and Amy— Sharon Shui-king Leung and Ellen Yee-man Ma

    $9.90

    This paper tells the stories of two girls from Hong Kong, one of whom was Nancy who shared the story of her late grandfather and how remembering their relationship continued to affect her life. Amy, who as a child lived at foster care, talked about the significant people in her life through a re-membering project. The application of the remembering practice was shared and discussed through these two unique stories and its implication for Chinese grief work.

  • Talking about sex: Narrative approaches to discussing sex life in therapy— Ron Findlay

    $9.90

    How do we discuss sex issues in therapy with a narrative and post-structuralist, postcolonial approach? This paper discusses the ethics and practices of narrative approaches to talking about sex in therapy. It discusses ways to reduce the influence of shame and embarrassment, promote local knowledge and skills, and to minimise the impact of the gender and sexuality of the therapist.

  • Recipes for life— Natale Rudland Wood

    $9.90

    Inspired by the narrative folk cultural methodologies of the Tree of life, Team of Life, and Kite of Life, caterer and narrative practitioner, Natale Rudland Wood, offers here a narrative way of working based on food metaphors and recipes for life.

  • The Team of Life with young men from refugee backgrounds— David Denborough

    $9.90

    This paper describes how the Team of Life narrative methodology can make it possible for young men to speak about what is important to them, what they have protected, held onto, despite the hardships they have seen. This way of working also makes it possible for young men to speak about identity in a collective manner, to celebrate ‘goals’ that their ‘teams’ have already scored, and to make plans and preparations for the future. This way of working utilises sporting metaphors which are powerfully resonant within masculine culture and yet, significantly, provides possibilities for supporting and acknowledging alternative masculinities.

  • Talking about the DSM-V— Tom Strong

    $9.90

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition;DSM-V) is nearing publication, despite considerable controversies over its development. In this paper I provide a critical historical review of developments associated with the DSM-V, particularly as these developments relate to the practices of narrative and other constructionist practitioners. I relate the findings of recently completed research in which practitioners shared how they responded to the influence of the current DSM-IV-TR on their conversations with clients, along with ways they creatively responded to that influence. I close with suggestions for practitioners who live with administrative expectations that they use DSM-V diagnoses in their conversational work. This article is based on a paper presented to the Therapeutic Conversations X Conference, Vancouver, Canada May 12, 2012. 

2,023 Comments

  1. I’m Clayre Sessoms from Vancouver, BC, Canada, traditionally known as Coast Salish Territories. I acknowledge that my work takes place on the ancestral, unceded, and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Nations of the Coast Salish People whose relationship with the land is ancient, primary, and enduring. I’m an uninvited settler in what is colonially known as Vancouver. Because my place of work is on stolen land I commit to support a reconciliation, which includes reparations and the return of land. Here I study counselling psychology and art therapy, and I get to incorporate narrative therapy at my practicum placement, a site that provides free counselling services for LGBTQ2S individuals.

    These materials help me to begin to wrap my head around the complexities of narrative therapy. I especially enjoyed learning about how others have used narrative therapy in practical counselling settings.

    I’m moved by how we often tend to hear, accept, or retell the thinnest stories of our lives and the lives of others. I imagine that not valuing the richness of an individual’s diverse range of stories, perhaps, it has been much easier to cling to tired old preconceived notions about others, which can cause undue harm.

    I’m left thinking about the TEDTalk by Chimamanda Adichie about the dangers of accepting a singular story of someone else, rather than leaning in and committing to understand the wholeness of that person’s narrative.

    I look forward to continuing to learn. Thank you to The Dulwich Centre for providing this accessible forum. <3

  2. in what ways have you entered into collaborations before? What made these collaborations possible?

    As a peer worker most of my work was entering into collaborations with young people. I would use curiosity to further inquire into their experience, and looking back wow these narrative practices would have been amazing to use in our youth group discussions! We would use art mostly in telling stories. Many of the young people heard voices and saw characters only they could see. They would enjoy painting these voices, externalising the character, giving it a name and talking about the story and nature of the relationship between the voice and the character. I also enjoyed illiciting these stories, as I could tell they would begin to separate themselves from the voices, allowing for guilt and shame to reduce.

    What might make it hard to enter into these practices?

    The one difficult way of entering into these practices was the note writing. The managerial culture of my last workplace meant it was not considered good practice to have clients sit with us to write notes. In fact most clients probably were unaware that workers did regularly make notes each time they had contact with the centre. We were a strengths based centre that thrived on person centred practice. I think there is a bit of a stereotype that note writing is quite clinical and removed from person centred practice, hence a certain avoidance of bringing up notes in front of clients.

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

    I definitely believe I could continue to use art to help young people tell their alternative stories. In mental health many workers draw thin conclusions of clients – bipolar, poor attachment, violent, with even their strengths really talked about in third person. It would be great to start drawing peoples strengths out with the use of story telling, so that clients can start to own their strengths, rather than have clinicans cherry pick these out.

  3. Thank you to Tileah for a wonderful presentation. I love hearing the word “yarn” used in this powerful way (Americans also have that term). The practice of “translating”, of shifting concepts into language that can be more usefully heard, is very powerful. As coaches we can make good use of this to help clients uncover their hidden or forgotten resources.

  4. These stories are amazing examples of what we can discover when we hold onto our “beginner’s mind” and remember that the other person (client, patient) has the information and understanding, not us. We talk a lot in leadership development about “co-creating” and I think this is a beautiful example of two very complementary roles: the person who has the story and the person who helps to explore and shape it.

  5. I like the idea of narrative – there is something about giving people the power to create a narrative, rather than simply appearing in a story told by someone else. Within the narrative metaphor, I especially enjoy the fabric metaphor – the idea of strands. These may touch each other, or not, may go well together in tone or color, or not. But again, there is some power in creating and weaving the narrative.
    In my own work with coaching and leadership development, I find that the emphasis on narrative(s) helps make things more tangible, and therefore brings them to their true scale, instead of letting them take on imaginary and unclearly described proportions.

  6. I love this. Telling our stories in ways that make us stronger. Such a powerful sentiment. Sometimes through trauma, it is hard to access the words that really encapsulate that experience – though using the written word does help us access those hard to utter parts of our memories … in those cases though perhaps the story we tell ourselves is not one that makes us feel strong in the first instance – so finding a way to tell that story in a way that focuses on the strength of surviving to tell that story is just amazing!

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