2015: Issue 3

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in | 0 comments

coverDear Reader,

This issue includes papers from practitioners from Australia, Tanzania, USA, Denmark and the UK. Not only is there a diversity of authors but also topics and themes!

Part One begins with a practice paper by Loretta Pederson entitled, ‘Sharing sadness and finding small pieces of justice’. This is an eloquent invitation to practitioners to consider ways of honouring acts of resistance and acts of reclaiming in working with women who’ve been subjected to abuse. The second paper, is an innovative practice-research paper, by Emma Bullen, which analyses the outcomes from the narrative therapy conversations she has shared with women who have experienced domestic violence. We don’t often publish research papers, but we believe this thoughtful piece will be relevant to practitioners and researchers alike.

Part Two involves two pieces that focus on ways of linking the lives of those with whom we meet individually or in groups. Georgina Gerber-Duvenhage’s paper ‘Fakebook: Renovating reputations’ combines narrative practice with a vitally creative engagement with the culture of social media. We will really look forward to how other practitioners may take this idea into their own contexts. Julia Gerlitz’s paper, on the other hand, ‘Linking lives: Invitations to clients to write letters to clients’, builds and extends upon the rich tradition of letter writing in narrative practice.

Part Three consists of a paper by Christoffer Haugaard, a psychologist working at a psychiatric hospital in Denmark, who is interested in narrative therapy and philosophical ethical considerations.

And Part Four consists of a paper by Jenny Gibson, Jessica Clark, and Sian Thomas. Jenny Gibson lives in the UK and works within the community learning disability field. Jessica Clark lives with her parents and younger sister in New Zealand where she has overcome varying problems such as the ‘Experimental Defeating Warrior’.

Sian Thomas has family links to Wales and talents in story-telling and anxiety defeating. ‘Narrative therapy and dual disability: How to deal effectively with Worrywarts, Milkshakes, and Sticky Situations’, is the first paper by Jenny, Jessica and Sian.

We hope you enjoy this diversity of thoughtful papers. We have certainly enjoyed putting this issue together.

Warmly
Cheryl White

Showing all 6 results

  • Sharing sadness and finding small pieces of justice: Acts of resistance and acts of reclaiming in working with women who’ve been subjected to abuse— Loretta Pederson

    $9.90

    This paper describes work with women who have been subjected to sexual and physical abuse. Ideas of searching for small pieces of justice through thickening stories of resistance to abuse and of reclaiming life from the ongoing effects of abuse, are explored through women’s stories.

  • Narrative Therapy Outcomes for Women who have Experienced Domestic Violence— Emma Bullen

    $9.90

    Debate continues about what constitutes evidence for outcomes of psychological interventions. There are challenges to operationalise research for post-modernist views of knowledge being multiple and relative rather than singular, fixed, and absolute. This has led to limited empirical evaluation of practices such as narrative therapy.

    This paper describes the therapy process for eighty women and outcomes for twenty-three women who had experienced domestic violence and were engaged in narrative therapy, utilising the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS). PCOMS consists of integrating two outcome rating scales into each counselling session – the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and the Session Rating Scale (SRS). The design of the research was clinical data mining.

    This paper briefly discusses difficulties and limitations of the concept of evidence-based practice when applied to narrative therapy. The study identifies and defines several different patterns of therapy outcomes. PCOMS was used to demonstrate that clients who were treated for at least six, one-hour sessions of narrative therapy for complex trauma (domestic violence), showed positive outcomes equivalent to other studies using different treatments.

  • Fakebook: Renovating reputations— Georgina Gerber-Duvenhage

    $9.90

    This paper explores a methodology of working with four young men with previously good reputations, who lost authorship of how their lives were storied. ‘Fakebook’, an interactive social networking tool, purposed to afford double story development and preferred identity conclusions, engaged the young people in conversations around themes of identity and reputations to help them resist ‘downgraded reputations’ and marginalising ‘truth’ stories that were circulating about them. The final section gives an account of the ethics that supported the work and takes a critical look at how it stands accountable to the operations of power and privilege in relation to those who were involved in the process.

  • Linking Lives: Invitations to Clients to Write Letters to Clients— Julia Gerlitz

    $9.90

    This article describes an innovative form of therapeutic letter writing in which clients are invited to write letters to each other, rather than the more traditional narrative practice of therapists writing letters to clients. Two clients who both struggle with chronic pain and caregiver stress are consulting with the same counsellor and begin to write therapeutic letters to each other anonymously, with their counsellor passing the letters between them.

    Examples of the client written letters are included in the body of the article as well as the clients’ responses about their experiences with this innovative form of narrative letter writing. The author describes the intention behind this practice and offers suggestions based on her experience of how to facilitate the process. Most notably, this form of client generated letter writing decentres the therapist and highlights the client’s voice, provides an opportunity for clients to strengthen their preferred narrative, and creates communities of concern in which clients build relationships with each other that assist with decreasing the isolation and influence of problems in their lives. The article aims to inspire fellow narrative practitioners to link the lives of their clients through client-written therapeutic letters.

  • Narrative practice as an ethical position and the moral legitimacy of narrative therapy— Christoffer Haugaard

    $9.90

    Narrative practice involves questioning and resisting dominant cultural truths in both its theory and practices. It may even function as a form of activism. This paper attempts to raise questions about the good of such an activism and the moral legitimacy of practitioners engaging the people who consult them in cultural resistance. I shall attempt to extract hints of an implicit ethical position in narrative practice, and point to a moral rationality for raising questions about the legitimacy of acts of cultural resistance, and suggest some possible implications of such an enquiry. This draws on the ideas of moral philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre.

  • Narrative therapy and dual disability: How to deal effectively with Worrywarts, Milkshakes, and Sticky Situations— Jenny Gibson, Jessica Clark, and Sian Thomas

    $9.90

    This article documents explorations using narrative therapy in a dual disability service provider in New Zealand, working with people who have intellectual disabilities and mental health diagnoses. The authors explore some of the dominant narratives of intellectual disability, and how these can be compounded in a context of mental health issues. After briefly surveying the literature of narrative therapy with people living with intellectual disabilities, this paper provides four examples from practice.

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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