2013: Issue 2

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in | 0 comments

ijntcw_issue_2_2013_coverWelcome to the second issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work for 2013! This issue was a little delayed because we have been inundated with interest in the newly announced Master’s Program in Narrative Therapy and Community Work which is to begin next year. This new venture, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, will no doubt result in practice innovations and projects that will be shared within future issues of this journal. We hope that you will be a part of this initiative, whether as a direct participant or as part of the wider community of ideas that constantly reinvigorates narrative practice.

This journal issue begins with a publication that we have been working on for some time. ‘Bedwetting in times of trouble: Narrative therapy, enuresis and trauma’ is a resource for practitioners working with children in contexts of fear. It was initially inspired by experiences of meeting with children and families affected by war and natural disasters. Here in Australia, we have also heard of how children in immigration detention centres, in domestic violence shelters and elsewhere, struggle with bedwetting in contexts of fear. Interestingly, this publication brings narrative therapy full circle. As many of you know, responding to encopresis and enuresis was one of the early areas of work in which externalising conversations were developed. Hard copy versions of this resource will soon also be available for sale. We are delighted to make it accessible here online for members of the journal and we look forward to your feedback. We are also interested in creating a children’s book on this topic. If you would like to participate in this, please contact us.

This journal issue continues with a further paper from Jane Hutton about working with children with fears, while Part Two features two innovative projects. The first is in a school setting in the Northern Territory of Australia, the second relates to homeless shelters in Vancouver, Canada.

Part Three of this issue contains the reflections of narrative therapist, Barbara Baumgartner, on the same-sex marriage debate; and a review by Josie McSkimming of a recent interdisciplinary conference entitled: ‘Storytelling: Global reflections on narrative’.

It’s a diverse collection. We hope it contains both practice and theoretical wisdoms that are relevant in your contexts. We will look forward to hearing your thoughts.


 

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

    $9.90

    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.

  • Reclaiming imagination from fear— Jane Hutton

    $9.90

    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.

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

    $9.90

    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’.

  • Lessons from self-organising shelter communities: ‘We were already a community and you put a roof over us’— Aaron Munro & Vikki Reynolds with Rachel Plamondon

    $9.90

    This paper illustrates the work of a community of shelter folk and shelter workers to create safe-enough and dignified communal living conditions in housing shelters. The aim of this writing is to make clear the intentions and practices of promoting self-organising communities, by embracing a messy and imperfect practice, and working collaboratively with shelter folk to resist professional imperatives to tell people how to live.

  • It Ain’t Over: Marriage (in-)equality and queer assimilation— Barbara Baumgartner

    $5.50

    As the same-sex marriage debate pushes into the mainstream in Australia and the United States, the author asks us to deconstruct the institution of marriage and examine its classist, patriarchal and consumerism-driven motives which serve to add further privilege to an already privileged group, while obscuring the intersections of oppression experienced by the queer1 community. Is this community being assimilated into a mainstream or is the right to marry a needed step in the journey to equality? What do we in the community of narrative therapy need to consider in our work for social justice, and how do we ensure that the call for equal rights in all countries continues to be heard after Western governments endorse same-sex marriage rights?

  • Shared passion within a diversity of interests: a credible and stimulating alternative. The Interdisciplinary Conference ‘Storytelling: Global reflections on narrative’ A review— Josie McSkimming

    $5.50

    This article describes the recent narrative turn in qualitative research in the context of a recent inter-disciplinary conference. The academic and therapeutic implications of storytelling were explored in an explicitly dialogic setting. While positivist quantitative research may currently exert some dominance in the clinical world, academic research within the social sciences has the opportunity to challenge and subvert such conventional research practices. Narrative inquiry and analysis offer a credible and creative alternative, offering research participants new opportunities to document their stories and more fully engage in the meaning construction of research projects.

1,972 Comments

  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?

    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

  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

    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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