2013: Issue 4

Posted by on Nov 25, 2016 in | 0 comments

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!


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

    $9.90

    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

    $9.90

    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

    $9.90

    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

    $9.90

    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

    $9.90

    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 dulwich@dulwichcentre.com.au

    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

    $5.50

    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.

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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