2013: Issue 4

cover_of_papers_2013_no_4Welcome to the final issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work for 2013! This issue begins with engaging paper by Vikki Reynolds exploring new possibilities for group supervision.

The second section features two practice papers. The first, from Belgian family therapist, Anik Serneels, conveys ways of using drawings in narrative family therapy. The second paper, from Hong Kong practitioner, Esther Chow Oi-wah, describes the use of narrative practices with stroke survivors and care-givers.

Scot Cooper, from Canada, then offers a thoughtful example of ethnographic evaluation in relation to the walk-in clinic in which he works using narrative ideas. The journal issue also includes a second article from Canada, a reflection from Darlene Denis-Friske, about counselling First Nations adolescents within a narrative approach.

Finally, we’re pleased to announce that this issue features a new column coordinated by David Epston which focuses on innovations in narrative therapy. Here, David Epston introduces his hopes for this column and two contributions are shared. The first, by Will Sherwin, explores ways of reducing expulsion in early childhood centres, and the second, by Emory Luce Baldwin, explores options for therapists with when children decline to speak. Thanks David, Will and Emory for getting this column started. We hope you, the reader, will consider contributing to it in future!

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


    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.

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


    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.

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


    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.

  • Quality assurance at the Walk-in clinic: Process, outcome, and learning— Scot Cooper


    With the emergence of walk-in counselling clinics throughout Ontario, Canada, the need for a measure of quality assurance and outcome has never been greater. This paper will share a post-session questionnaire for use at walk-in counselling clinics congruent with a brief narrative approach that serves to assess quality and outcome, and also further serves as a learning tool for clinicians.

  • Innovations in Practice: a new column hosted by David Espton: introduction


    This column is seeking short pieces of writing from narrative therapists describing micro-innovations within their work. We are particularly interested in examples of practice that cannot be explained by the existing narrative therapy literature. We hope this column will foster continuous innovation within the field. We would also request that you avoid narrative terminology and speak in your own voice so that your ‘thinking’ comes through loud and clear. If you have examples of practice you would like to share, please email us at [email protected]

    Guest columns for this issue include:

    Introduction— David Espton
    Increasing family presence to reduce expulsion in early childhood centres—Will Sherwin
    Thumbs up/thumbs down: When a child declines to speak— Emory Luce Baldwin


  • Stoking the embers of ancient fire: Counselling First Nations adolescents within a narrative approach— Darlene Denis-Friske


    It is the thesis of the present paper that the oral tradition of Canadian First Nations people lends itself towards a rich cultural predisposition to meaning-making through narrative, leading towards a narrative approach as being culturally sensitive, deeply respectful and meaningful in counselling work with First Nations adolescents. In addition to a discussion about the vital importance of working within the existing narratives of First Nations youth, the author will unfold a personal narrative as a Canadian Algonquin person. This narrative piece serves to highlight externalisation, re-authoring of the story, the opening of possibilities, and the provision of a new context for the experiencing of adversity.