2012

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Showing 1–16 of 22 results

  • ‘Narrative therapy: Constructing stories of dignity and resistance with survivors of torture and trauma in Colombia’— Mariana Saenz Uribe

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    This paper introduces readers to the sociopolitical context within Colombia and provides examples of the use of narrative therapy and collective narrative practice with survivors of torture. In particular, this paper focuses on responding to women who have been subjected to sexual violence in the context of organised political violence. Detailed accounts of work with a mother and her two daughters, and a group of women survivors, are offered.

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

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    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.

  • Explorations of the absent but implicit— Jill Freedman

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    The author describes her exploration of practices working with the absent but implicit, particularly in therapy with couples and families. She includes questions that may be helpful in naming the absent but implicit and describes how these conversations can support a context in which exploring discourses that support problems becomes especially relevant.

  • Opening up the counselling room: The joining of stories as a political act— Renee Handsaker

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    This paper will focus on my endeavour to ‘open up’ the counselling room by initiating a conversation between two young women I was meeting with for individual counselling. The conversation that commenced between these two young women took the form of letters that were constructed from transcripts of our recorded conversations. I will discuss some of the ideas that underpinned and motivated this exchange, as well as reflect on some of the key considerations involved within the process. I will finish by trying to demonstrate some of the flow of conversation that made it possible for new understandings, preferred identities and shared contributions to be generated.

  • Inviting paranoia to the table— Amanda Worrall and June

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    This article describes conversations that Amanda had with a woman called June, whose life had been affected by a condition called ‘schizoaffective disorder’. When Amanda first met with June, June was in good health but paranoia was influencing her life in a way that wasn’t acceptable to her. This article describes how Amanda and June invited paranoia to come to the table, to explore how June could reclaim her life and move forward in a preferred direction.

  • On Critical thinking— Mary Heath

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    This paper begins by defining critical thinking and setting out a personal history of the author’s journey toward becoming a critical thinker. It considers two common barriers to critical thinking: cultural disapproval of critique; and confusing critical thinking with criticism. In response, it argues that rigorous thinking offers benefits—and not only risks— to cultures as well as individuals. It considers where cultural resources supportive of critique might be found. Further, it argues that critical analysis should be understood (and undertaken) as a process of collaborative support for rigorous thinking rather than as a form of hostile criticism. Some dimensions of critical thinking are outlined, together with questions which might allow readers to apply them to specific contexts. The paper closes with some reflections on the process of writing in which some of these dimensions of critical thinking are applied to the paper itself.

  • Reducing collusion with individualism and dichotomous thinking: Exploring the constructs of ‘confidentiality’ and ‘disclosure’ through forums and interviews— Adam Hahs and Milan Colic

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    The idea of sharing stories so people can be more political with them is not a new idea to narrative therapy. However, as far as we are aware, there is very little research or documentation in the counselling literature that has asked groups of people their opinion about sharing their stories outside of the counselling arena for individual and broader collective good. In many instances, the constructs of ‘confidentiality’ and ‘disclosure’ can be referred to in rather fixed terms, and as non-negotiable entities. This paper outlines the development of forums and interviews with 62 young people in our respective counselling contexts – two co-educational high schools in Melbourne, Australia, to provide us with an indication of how the young people we consult with may feel about ‘confidentiality’ when viewed alongside their right to be supported in sharing their stories.

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

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    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.

  • Legacy: A writing and spoken word story project documenting the legacies of lost loved ones— Tanya Pearlman

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    Exploring the relationship between literary ideas, particularly as they pertain to personal storytelling, and narrative therapy, this paper describes a writing and spoken word story project that took place at a California high school. The high school participants had all experienced significant losses and this project explored and honoured the legacies of these lost loved ones.

  • Matt’s knacks: Home-based narrative family therapy— Anne-Marie Rodewald

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    In the past decade, home-based family therapy has become an increasingly popular approach and alternative to residential treatment for substance abuse, addictions, and many psycho-socially related issues. This paper discusses a therapist’s experience in homebased family therapy while working with a teenager severely affected by the impact of substance abuse and life struggles. The therapeutic techniques illustrated are a direct result of the therapist’s interest in narrative approaches to therapy.

  • Recipes for life— Natale Rudland Wood

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    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.

  • Responding to survivors of torture and suffering – Survival skills of Kurdish families by David Denborough on behalf of Kirkuk Center for Torture Victims and Dulwich Centre Foundation International

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    The Kirkuk Center for Torture Victims is a human rights organisation assisting victims of torture, persecution and violence in Iraq. We believe in a democratic society where the dignity of the human person is respected, where adults and children enjoy the right to life and liberty, and where citizens are free from torture and terror.

    Dulwich Centre Foundation International (DCFI) is an Australian-based organisation that responds to groups and communities who are enduring significant hardships, co-develops culturally-appropriate and resonant methodologies to respond to community mental health issues and collective suffering, and works in partnership to build the capacity of local workers.

    In November 2011 and September 2012, David Denborough from DCFI conducted workshops for the counsellors of the Kirkuk Center for Torture Victims. This publication describes a number of the narrative methodologies that were discussed in these workshops – The Tree of Life, The Team of Life, and the use of letters, documents, poems and certificates. It also includes stories from local workers about the survival skills and knowledge of Kurdish families.`

  • Anti-individualist narrative practice: Listening to the echoes of cultural histories— Stephen Madigan

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    I wrote this keynote speech for Dulwich Centre’s July 2011, International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference in Salvador, Brazil. The purpose of the talk was to convey a critique on individualism and its plague on therapeutic thinking and practice. As a response to individualism, I offered up the communalising relational practice of therapeutic letter writing campaigns. The talk was also a place where I sought to publicly appreciate my longstanding apprenticeship with David Epston and Michael White. I then tied these narrative ideas together with my early growing up experiences inside an immigrant Irish family who worked tirelessly with the poor and dispossessed and who never once found cause to pathologise anyone.

  • Passing hope around: Youth messaging strategies for becoming drug-free— Warren Whyte

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    Collective narrative practice facilitates geographically separated groups of people to share their experience and wisdom in standing up to common problems. This article documents a particular collective narrative practice between a group of youth in prison at Burnaby Youth Custody Services and a group of youth in treatment for substance misuse at Peak House in Vancouver, Canada. The purpose of outlining this exchange of solution knowledges is to highlight certain practical and theoretical aspects of collective practices that were effective for the youth, in order to continue the narrative discussion for future practitioners. By assuming the youth had healing knowledges, by providing them with a relevant audience, and by offering them the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to others; this writer was able to facilitate young people in sharing their own solutions with each other in mutual encouragement against a common social issue. Exchanging collective narrative documents with other youth seemed to cultivate a sense of self-determination towards therapeutic work, a feeling of solidarity and belonging with similar strugglers, and a sense of hope and enthusiasm that change is indeed possible.

  • Placing strengths into storylines – Building bridges between strengths-based and narrative approaches— Kay Ingamells and David Epston

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    Could narrative inquiry enliven strengths-based practice through returning stories to strengths? This paper tells the story of the composition of ‘narrative of strengths’ interviews and their use with students, within a research project utilising the Clifton Strengthsfinder at Unitec, New Zealand. It moves on to explore possible seeds of connection between strengths-based and narrative practice, taking the paradigm of life as story and the reclaiming of the territory of the past as starting points for this inquiry.

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

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    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.

1,971 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.”

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. “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.

  9. 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.

  10. hello

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

    Regards

    Cal Albright
    ED
    Kermode Friendship Center
    http://www.keremodefriendship.ca
    Terrace, BC
    Canada

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

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

      Let me know if you would like more information.

      CD

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

  12. Hi Chris

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

    Best wishes

    Paul

    • Hi Paul, m

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

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

      CD

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