• Bedwetting in times of trouble: Narrative therapy, enuresis and trauma— Sue Mitchell with illustrations from Julienne Beasley Quick View

    Dulwich Centre Foundation is involved in projects aiming to assist children living in vulnerable circumstances, including children who have experienced or witnessed violence. During these projects we hear about how children and young people in such distressing circumstances are increasingly vulnerable to experiencing bedwetting. We particularly hear about children in immigration detention centres, children who are living with their mothers in domestic violence shelters, and children in contexts of war or natural disaster, who are having to deal with wet beds in times of trouble.

    We also hear about the effects of this bedwetting on the children’s sense of identity, on relationships within the family, and on the relationships children have with other children. We found that bedwetting can also impact on family members, especially if the family is dealing with a lot, like coming to a new country.

    While wetting the bed can be a completely normal part of growing up, and is often experienced without any influence of distress or trauma, this handbook aims to offer hopeful and creative ways of responding to children who have experienced trauma and/or witnessed violence and in the midst of dealing with these tough experiences are also finding themselves in wet beds. We hope this resource will be helpful for workers and for parents/carers. Down the track we are also hoping to produce a storybook that children and young people can read.

  • Centering ethics in group supervision: Fostering cultures of critique & structuring safety— Vikki Reynolds Quick View

    I refer to my supervision work as a Supervision of Solidarity and my stance as an ethic of justice-doing (Reynolds, 2010a, 2011a). This stance is informed by a spirit of solidarity and social justice activism, and aims to be anti-oppressive and decolonising (Reynolds & polanco, 2012). In this writing I illustrate supervision practices that follow from my commitments to holding ethics at the centre of supervision, which invite a philosophical investigation into the workers’ diverse, problematic and messy relationships with ethics. I offer experiential supervision practices and refer to theories that facilitate centering ethics in group supervision. This includes understandings of ethics, ethical stances, and collective ethics; understandings of critique, fostering cultures of critique, and promoting dignifying supervisory relationships. I illustrate practices of structuring safety into supervision groups, which include addressing power, the role of collaboration, resisting innocent positions, and problematising the politics of politeness. The hope in centering ethics in supervision groups is to resource therapists and community workers to enact their collective ethics for justice-doing and to serve clients effectively with justice and dignity.

  • Making now precious: narrative conversations with asylum seekers— Poh Lin Lee Quick View

    This paper explores bringing together a series of narrative principles and practices in response to those who are seeking asylum in Australia and also experiencing the consequences of torture and trauma. This work is a description of ongoing coresearch with asylum seekers into conversations that can be meaningful in a context of unpredictability and instability. This invitational approach makes way for rich alternative story development, re-membering conversations, and bringing to light moments that sustain and nurture through hardship. This work emphasises an approach of ‘making now precious’ by creating pathways for narrative conversations to be carried in nomadic, transportable ways in the hearts of people as they face the long tumultuous journey of seeking asylum, safety and belonging.

  • Words from the brink of the chasm: Poetic, bibliotherapeutic writing in narrative therapy – the use of literary texts and the discovery of preferred stories— Michal Simchon Quick View

    This article aims to integrate bibliotherapy and narrative therapy. The use of writing and reading processes can help reveal preferred stories. Asking people to talk about themselves and tell their life stories using excerpts from poems makes their story unique and exotic. Writing in this fashion empowers their experiences and exposes the details of the unique outcome that are embedded in the text. Similarly, this type of writing enables people to express experiences that are difficult to articulate in ordinary words. This article demonstrates the contribution of therapeutic writing and the discourse that arises from it for narrative therapy that is usually conducted orally.

    Free paper:

    This article comes with a companion piece:

    Toward a poetics of therapy: A response to Michal Simchon’s ‘Words From the Brink of the Chasm’— Steve Armstrong

    This is a complementary piece in response to Michal Simchon’s observations about the integration of bibliotherapy and narrative therapy in ‘Words From the Brink of the Chasm’ (2013). I make some suggestions about what might be called the poetics of therapy. In particular, how poetry can enliven therapeutic conversation; how poems and a poet’s passion for precise word choice, help guard against stale imagery or description and can aid in locating vivid descriptions for lived experience that might otherwise be practically beyond words. Based on Simchon’s discussion of free-writing in groups and Bachelards’ Poetics of Reverie (1969), I offer a re-imagining of White and Epston’s (1990) landscape of action and consciousness.

     

  • Finding the ‘voice’ to speak: Women and men talk about relationships— Dion Anderson, Bea Edwards, Mark Hammersley, Marnie Sather and Greg Smith Quick View

    Winja Ulupna (‘women’s haven’) is an Aboriginal residential alcohol and other drug service for women. Galiamble (‘dry place on a hill’), the equivalent service for men. These services are open to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Winja Ulupna and Galiamble are services of Ngwala Willumbong (‘dry place’) Cooperative. Based in an Aboriginal service, narrative group work was used to assist women and men talk about relationships, in a safe and positive manner. Exchanges of collective documents between the groups led to joint readings and song. The women reported positive developments in attitudes and support provided by men at the service. The men reported improved understanding of the circumstances of the women and improvements in the quality of relationships with their partners. The article provides a case study of one approach to supporting positive developments in relationships in Aboriginal settings. The approach may also be relevant to non-Aboriginal settings. Also included are a series of reflections, responses and critiques from experienced Aboriginal health workers.

  • Picturing stories: Drawings in narrative family therapy with children— Anik Serneels Quick View

    This article illustrates how drawings can be implemented in narrative family therapy with children. This work primarily draws upon the narrative family therapy framework, but other family therapy ideas are also integrated. It will be argued in this article that non-verbal media, more specifically drawings, can contribute to alternative story development and the co-creation of joint family actions, whereby the family can achieve their preferred ways of living. First I explain how drawings can assist externalising conversations. This is followed by a detailed description of the stance I take as a family therapist, questions I ask, and how I focus on relationships and interactions during the co-creation of drawings. I also describe how positively implicating family members and enabling their active participation during this drawing process reinforces the change process. If family members have experienced problems similar to the ones the child is now struggling with, intergenerational and sibling alliances can also be created. Finally I put theory into practice by providing the reader with a case example.

  • Reclaiming imagination from fear— Jane Hutton Quick View

    Playful narrative therapy has been used with people of all ages but especially with children, often in relation to serious problems. This article examines ways of using imagination to plot against fear, as well as co-researching with children about what works to shrink fear.

  • Reflections on conversations which ‘returned the normalising gaze’— Peter Ord and Rosemary Quick View

    Normal is a word that has a history in geometry that was applied as a measure of human functioning early in the 19th Century. As has been noted elsewhere the concepts of normal and normality have become taken-for-granted ideas within western culture as if they have an existence independent from their historical and cultural origins. The effects of the ‘normalising gaze’ have been widely studied. This paper is a description of a therapeutic encounter in which conversations were shared which ‘turned the spotlight back on the normalising gaze’. These conversations were shared by Peter and Rosemary. This paper has been written with the hope that other people (both therapists and those consulting therapists) can be inspired to find their own ways to expose and have some fun while returning the normalising gaze.

  • Responding to lives after stroke: Stroke survivors and caregivers going on narrative journeys—  Esther Chow Oi-wah Quick View

    Stroke survivors and their caregivers can become ‘trapped’ in ‘problem-saturated’ identities constructed by biomedical discourse. This paper describes how stroke survivors and caregivers can de-construct problems through engaging in externalising conversations, unearthing unique outcomes, and reconstructing purposes in life and preferred identities through re-authoring conversations. Through reconnecting the survivors and caregivers with their strengths, values, beliefs and life wisdom that developed during their earlier years, persons with stroke and their caregivers can rebuild their lives within the limits of their debilitating challenges.

  • The ‘Bellayla’ Project – bringing storylines of identity into relationships of harmony— Peter Bourke Quick View

    This paper shares the journey of the ‘Bellayla Project’, a co-research initiative between the author and two young people, Bella and Tayla. It describes how engagement in this project enabled second-story development in the lives of these two young people. It also conveys what becomes possible for young people when they are invited into a space of critical thinking, collective inquiry, and sharing knowledge about ‘problems’.

  • Unearthing new concepts of justice: Women sexual violence survivors seeking healing and justice— Hung Suet-Lin and David Denborough Quick View

    Justice and healing are closely linked. A strong sense of injustice can hinder healing. In the context of Hong Kong, and likely in many other places, where the legal system is seen as the only means for achieving justice, and legal/criminal justice is upheld as the only concept of justice, many survivors of sexual violence are left with few options for healing redress. Expanding concepts of justice beyond those rooted in criminal law systems may increase the possibilities for healing. This project describes one such collective process, enabling Chinese women who have experienced sexual violence to move from single story testimonies of harm done, to double story testimonies that include the responses, skills and values of survivors. The process involved richly acknowledging the multiple injustices and effects of these injustices, developing a storyline of surviving injustices including the steps taken by women to ‘break the secrecy’ and ‘not pursing any further’ in the legal system, and creating a forum of narrative justice. It was acknowledged that justice can be achieved in multiple ways, in the social and in people’s eyes and judgment, which may have historic cultural resonances.

    Free articles:

    This article comes with two companion pieces:

    Unearthed conceptions of justice for women who have experienced sexual violence: Possibilities for healing and enhancing criminal justice— Haley Clark

    How women understand justice and the relevance of this to criminal justice practice is often overlooked in literature on system responses to sexual violence. By reflecting on Hung’s and Denborough’s (2013) article, I consider that the value of collective narrative justice forums in developing understandings of justice and promoting healing for women who have experienced sexual violence and system injustice is apparent. I argue that in addition to contributing to individual healing the unearthed concepts of justice have relevance to the ways in which sexual violence is responded to within the criminal justice system and in society generally. Privileging the knowledge and insights of women enables more robust understandings of justice to emerge, and opens new possibilities to strengthen responses to sexual violence.

    Healing and justice together: searching for narrative justice— David Denborough

    Once we acknowledge that we have a profound and often unnamed and unacknowledged problem in our country; that our ‘justice system’ in many ways perpetuates injustice, then what are we to do? If we are the receivers of stories of social injustice, then what are our responsibilities? Perhaps we can’t leave matters of justice only to lawyers and the legal system. Perhaps we can question how our work can contribute to both healing and justice. This piece was created from a speech given by David Denborough at the 10th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference held in Adelaide, Australia, March 2013.

     

  • Cultural Democracy: Politicizing and historicizing the adoption of narrative practices in the Americas— marcela polanco Quick View

    Many practices of narrative therapy have spread widely around the world when adopted by practitioners of diverse cultures. In this paper, I present a personal reflection on my attempts at politicising and historicising the adoption of narrative therapy into my local culture. In a spirit of cultural democracy, I depart from acknowledging my own heritage of mestizaje, including the history of colonisation of Latin America. Following, I briefly present three phases as possible preparations for the initial arrival of narrative therapy to my culture and subsequent dialogue among cultures: a) adopting a decolonial critical stance; b) foreignising narrative practices; and c) facilitating cultural agency. I illustrate my attempts at dialoging with the foreign term externalisation to translate/reimagine its decolonial version in my local culture.

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