Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in | 0 comments

Showing 1–16 of 30 results

  • Creating stories of hope: A narrative approach to illness, death and grief— Lorraine Hedtke


    A narrative approach allows psychosocial teams to stand alongside children who have cancer, or life-threatening illnesses, and their families at critical times and to create stories of agency. Rather than dwelling on stories of loss and despair that potentially enfeeble families, a narrative approach builds on stories of strength that engender hope by asking questions that separate the person from the problem. Developing such stories supports people in taking action against the effects of cancer. It also facilitates the formation of a legacy that can sustain family members, even after the death of a child. This legacy serves as the foundation for remembering the dead, folding their stories into the lives of the living, and constructing lines of relational connection that can transcend physical death. Not only do families benefit from this approach, but the psychosocial team that provides professional and medical services can be uplifted through witnessing practices of strength and love in the face of hardship.

  • Poetic resistance: Witnessing Bahman’s resistance to torture and political violence— Vikki Reynolds, ‘Bahman’, Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett, Colin James Sanders & Gwen Haworth


    This writing presents an orientation to work alongside survivors of torture and political violence centred in witnessing resistance and an activist informed ethical stance for decolonising and antioppression practice (Reynolds & polanco, 2012). This includes descriptions of what constitutes torture and political violence, and understandings of witnessing, and resistance as ever present and useful despite the fact that resistance is often not enough to stop oppression (Wade, 1997; Reynolds, 2010a).

    This writing highlights Bahman, a survivor of torture from Iran, and illuminates his poetic resistance to torture, including poems that Bahman wrote during our therapeutic work together. I will provide enough context of the political situation and particular acts of violence and torture so that the acts of resistance in Bahman’s poems are understandable, and make visible structures of safety (Richardson & Reynolds, 2014, in press) and accountability practices. Bahman’s poems are interspersed throughout the text and following each of his poems there is a link to Gwen Haworth’s film of the poem read by Bahman in Farsi and Colin James Sanders in English. Bahman then reflects on the experience of re-visiting his resistance, our therapeutic work together, and his poems through an interview with Colin.

    Finally, Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett offers a reflection of this work from her location as a woman from a Muslim background and as a therapist with a commitment to creative resistance (2007).

  • Toward a theory of relational accountability: An invitational approach to living narrative ethics in couple relationships— Thomas Stone Carlson and Amanda Haire


    This paper describes an approach to couples therapy that seeks to help couples intimately apply the ethics of narrative ideas in their personal lives and relationships. This intimate application of narrative ideas is focused on helping partners to gain an appreciation for the shaping effects of their actions on one another’s stories of self and to engage in intentional relationship practices that nurture and positively shape the stories of self of their partners. While this approach to working with couples is centred in a narrative philosophy and ethics, alternative practices are presented to help couples challenge the negative effects of individualising discourses on their lives and relationships and to enter preferred relationship practices that are informed by a relational understanding of self and accountability.

  • Using narrative practices to respond to Stigma Stalker in the workplace: A journey with Joe— Sarah Ferguson


    This article conceptualises modern power through the perspective of stigma and offers examples of how narrative practices can be utilised to respond to mental health stigma in a therapeutic context as well as in the broader workplace environment. This paper follows the story of Joe and describes how externalising practices enabled Joe to get to know Stigma Stalker, expose its tactics, and discover its effects on his life at home and at work and upon his identity. Re-authoring practices enabled the development of rich and thick descriptions of Joe’s preferred identity. Documentation and outsider-witnessing practices were used to facilitate action within Joe’s workplace to weaken Stigma Stalker, which enabled Joe to re-engage at work with the support of his colleagues, and contributed to cultural change in relation to stigma.

  • Through a narrative lens: Honouring immigrant stories— Ann E. Kogen


    This article describes how cultural understandings can be utilised in re-authoring stories of individuals suffering from hardships as a result of torture or trauma. Anthropological research about the varied ways in which people express and experience emotion opens possibilities for therapeutic practice. Through an example of therapy, the author illustrates how cultural idioms and understandings can be integrated into a narrative that is healing and empowering.

  • What to do when a diagnosis doesn’t fit?— Amy Druker


    This article will explore ‘the politics of naming problems’. Who should have the right to name the problems that we face? I will share from my work with a 17 year old, K who, despite really wanting a diagnosis, determined that the one selected for her was not a fit, and how we went about re-writing the ‘diagnosis’ to one that she felt suited her much better. Narrative therapists are interested in the meaning a person makes of a diagnosis. What about the label fits or does not fit? These questions demonstrate our belief in a person’s expertise about their lives. In the asking, we hand over the ‘authority’ to the person consulting us to decide if a label fits, and if it does not, to choose a name for the problem that does. ‘Therapy’ becomes a collaborative exploration, in which the person’s expertise about their own life is sought and valued.

  • Why (not) simply loving? Polyamorous reflections— Marion Herbert and Erik Zika


    This short reflective piece was offered at the 12th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference, in Adelaide, Australia, in November 2014. It deals with the relationship option of polyamory: this is a relationship concept that enables the people involved to live sexual and/or love relationships with several partners at the same time in a transparent way. Possible aspects regarding the psychotherapeutic practice are discussed.

  • Witnessing and positioning: Structuring narrative therapy with families and couples— Jill Freedman


    In this paper, the author describes a way of structuring family therapy that fits with the narrative metaphor, creating space for stories to be understood, deconstructed and further developed. In this process, people move between positions of telling and witnessing. Family members engage in shared understanding and meaning making.

  • Brief narrative practice at the walk-in clinic: The rise of the counterstory— Scot Cooper


    This paper describes the development of counterstories in brief narrative single session therapy. Counterstories, being a specific kind of story, involve the juxtaposition of counter plot to the problem plot and set out to rehabilitate a compromised identity. Although in the time constrained context of therapeutic walk-in clinic conversations counter stories are vulnerable to eclipse by the problem narrative there are ways to inoculate it and assist it to further thicken well after the initial face to face contact.

  • Creating different versions of life: Talking about problems with children and their parents— Geir Lundby


    When working with families, many parents have told us that externalizing the problem is the single most important thing they experienced in our work together. This paper describes how externalizing conversations and double-story development can assist children and their parents talk about problems and create different versions of life. Examples from narrative family therapy conversations with two Norwegian families are included.

  • Making a meaning-full life at Montefiore— Dafna Stern and Caroline Serrure


    This paper examines the question of whether the elderly can make a meaningful life for themselves while residing in residential aged care. This question was explored in a joint project with twelve residents of the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home in Hunters Hill, Sydney. Their reflections were put into a collective document which is available for newcomers to the Home. The document demonstrates a process of meaning-making in which elderly residents play an active role. While participating in the project, attention was drawn to the residents’ skills and knowledges.

  • Seeking treasure beneath the ruins: Stories of narrative practice with children and their loved ones— Ross Hernandez


    Children with multiple challenges such as emotional, behavioural, mental, social, developmental, and educational difficulties, often experience constant hardship in their daily lives. These problems also impact their parents or carers. This paper shares stories of narrative practice with children and their loved ones. These stories include the use of externalising conversations, photographs, and the audio recording of outsider-witness responses.

  • Co-researching Hikikomori problem with insiders’ knowledges: Creating ‘Nakama'(Comradeship) across the ocean & generations— Sumie Ishikawa


    This paper describes the unexpected unfolding of the co-research about ‘hikikomori’ phenomenon which was conducted with hikikomori insiders as co-researchers. Her narrative practice which includes electronic outsider-witness practice, the absent but implicit questions, and documentation of alternative stories, puts individuals’ diverse experiences into collective contexts, challenges the dominant discourses, and elicits insiders’ collective stories of not only their social suffering but also their wisdom, skillful responses, values, hopes, and dreams. This paper also suggests hopeful possibilities of responding to collective problems through creating ‘communitas’.

  • Narrative therapy and cultural democracy: A testimony view— Makungu Akinyela


    In this article I discuss my personal introduction to narrative therapy as an African American family therapist and my discovery of the similarities between narrative practices and my own approaches to therapeutic work. I also examine the cultural relationship between narrative therapy and the therapies of a growing number of communities outside of European dominant culture. The article questions the dominant approach to multiculturalism in the field today and introduces the idea of cultural democracy as an alternative approach to managing the relationship between narrative and other Euro-culture grounded therapies and the therapies of non-European peoples which may be similar to, yet culturally unique from, Euro-cultural therapies. This difference is not superficial or inconsequential. The article argues that a cultural democracy view challenges the emotional/ psychologically colonizing links based in presumption of Euro-cultural superiority of the ideas of Europe over the rest of the therapeutic world. This cultural democracy perspective creates a relationship of mutual respect and cross cultural influence between narrative therapy and other Euro-cultural therapies and the therapies developed by non-European peoples.

  • So many possibilities: Psychotherapy research and narrative therapy— An interview with John McLeod


    In this interview, John McLeod invites and encouarges narrative therapists to engage more rigorously with counselling and psychotherapy research; acknowledge a distinctive narrative therapy research identity, and provides an overview of a range of research methodologies particularly relevant to narrative therapists.

  • ‘I gracefully grab a pen and embrace it’: Hip-hop lyrics as a means for re-authoring and therapeutic change— Travis Heath and Paulo Aroyo


    This paper documents the use of hip-hop culture and rap music as a vehicle for change within the context of narrative therapy. Ways in which hip-hop lyrics can provide a voice to a population that is often not granted one, are explored. In addition, dominant stories about hip-hop music as a genre that is exclusively misogynistic, irresponsible, derogatory and offensive, are challenged. A framework for using hip-hop lyrics to assist in core narrative processes such as deconstructing the problem story, unique outcomes, circulation of the new story and re-membering, has been developed. Finally, one of the authors shares his insider experiences with hip-hop music as a tool for change.

    Includes free bonus article ‘Reflecting on Hip-Hop’ by Dzifa Afonu. 


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

  2. 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


    • 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.


  3. Thank you for sharing your insights. This has been very enlightening as a student studying post-grad social work. Recently my tutorial group was discussing how professionals often use their interpretation and that clients may not get to see how some professionals interpret their stories, in this way many things can be missed especially what the client sees as being important.