2016: Issue 1

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in | 0 comments

journal-cover-2016-2Dear Reader,

Welcome to the first issue for 2016!

This issue includes a diversity of narrative practice papers, including:

– Thoughtful ways of expanding the possibilities of definitional ceremony practice
– Narrative projects from Greek practitioners responding to the economic crisis and rise of racism
– Creative forms of documentation

We’re delighted that this issue includes three papers from Greek narrative practitioners. The community of narrative practice in Greece continues to diversify and thrive. It also includes papers from Belgium and Australia.

We hope you enjoy this diverse collection!

Warmly
Cheryl White

 

Content

‘Definitional ceremonies as rituals of hospitality’ Sarah Strauven. (Pages 1-15)

‘Living in stories: Embodiment in therapy through liturgical practice’ Chad Loftis. (Pages 16-30)

‘When The Crisis broke out, our whole world went upside down’ The special skills and knowledge that are sustaining us during the economic crisis in Greece’ Margarita Katsikadelis. (Pages 31-37)

‘Fascinating Racism in the age of the Greek crisis: Stories of resistance’ Georgia Korre. (Pages 38-49)

‘Finding refuge: A travelling ‘Tree of Knowledge’ Aliki Meimaridou. (Pages 50-59)

‘Letter writing in two contexts: Facilitating stories of resistance’ Renee Butler. (Pages 60-70)

Showing all 6 results

  • Definitional ceremonies as rituals of hospitality— Sarah Strauven

    $9.90

    This paper describes the project of Abdul Shirzai, Badam Zazai, Shakila Yari, Jahangir Safi, Niaz Mohamed Miyasahib, and Sarah Strauven.

    In looking for ways to respond to the difficulties Afghan refugees are experiencing in Belgium, both related to fleeing their war-torn home country and rebuilding their lives in a new and foreign country, they have created a mobile and interactive exhibition.

    This small project is a citizen’s initiative framed within collective narrative practice and defined by volunteerism and informality. A crucial part of the exhibition is the definitional ceremonies that the group have come to understand as ‘rituals of hospitality’.

    These rituals represent an antidote to the negative effects of asylum policies: impoverished and damaged-centred single stories of their lives and identities on the one hand, and inhospitable experiences on the other hand. These rituals include the creation of receptive spaces, multi-textured stories, and art pieces that stir imagination and conversations that compel reflection. The group hopes to cultivate an active receptivity, openness, and wonderment in their ‘audiences as hosts’ that will inform how people will define their responsibility towards refugees in the future. Through visiting local communities with their exhibition, they aspire to bring about social change.

  • Living in stories: Embodiment in therapy through liturgical practice— Chad Loftis

    $9.90

    Since its inception, narrative therapy has not only been interested in meaning-making with language, but also with other cultural forms including ritual and ceremony. Drawing on this tradition, along with the work of thinkers outside the field, combined with a religious lexicon and several years of experience with ‘liturgical practice’, this article outlines not only the healing potential of therapeutic ceremony but also its political significance. From mock lawsuits to funeral-like mourning ceremonies for Joy and Freedom, this article outlines possibilities, hazards, and essential elements of ‘liturgical practices’, as well as potential categories of ceremony in keeping with common cultural practices, and examples of practice.

  • ‘When The Crisis broke out, our whole world went upside down’ The special skills and knowledge that are sustaining us during the economic crisis in Greece— Margarita Katsikadelis

    $9.90

    This paper details a project honouring Greek people’s skills of re-claiming their lives from the troubling effects of the recent financial crisis. Canvassing a process that used a questionnaire, collective documentation, and definitional ceremony, this work identifies and celebrates special skills and knowledges that sustain people during crisis.

  • Fascinating Racism in the age of the Greek crisis: Stories of resistance— Georgia Korre

    $9.90

    This paper describes a project undertaken by a part of the Antiracist Group of the University of Crete in the city of Rethymno between September 2012 and April 2013. Given that the onset of the Greek Financial Crisis has been accompanied by an increasing prevalence of racist and nationalistic discourses, this project intended to address the problem of racism and its multiple effects in our local community. We made use of specific narrative tools such as narrative documents, externalising conversations, and conversations that highlight unique outcomes. This paper is a presentation of our work in three parts. The title was inspired by Susan Sontag’s essay, Fascinating Fascism (1975).

  • Finding refuge: A travelling ‘Tree of Knowledge’— Aliki Meimaridou

    $9.90

    This paper traces the journey of a ‘Travelling Tree of Knowledge’. It represents an endeavour to identify, honour and exchange knowledge about what sustains interpreters who have previously been refugees and who are now working with refugees. Emerging from the author’s engagement in narrative therapy, it details a budding practice of documentation and exchange.

  • Letter writing in two contexts: Facilitating stories of resistance— Renee Butler

    $9.90

    This article explores some of the ways in which narrative therapy letter writing can assist in facilitating double-storied testimonies for women in two work contexts, family support work and crisis response. It briefly introduces the reader to some of the women and children who have been involved in this therapeutic letter-writing process and gives the reader a glimpse into some of the narrative letters that have been exchanged. It discusses how letters can richly acknowledge women’s skills and knowledges, especially when working in an environment with strict time pressures, and discusses some of the ways that narrative letters can be incorporated into a busy work environment..

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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