2016

Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in | 0 comments

Showing 1–16 of 31 results

  • From ‘disorder’ to political action: conversations that invite collective considerations to individual experiences of women who express concerns about eating and their bodies — Kristina Lainson

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    This article describes an interweaving of narrative practices which has proved helpful for a number of women experiencing concerns about eating and its effects on their bodies. Through the stories of two young women, this paper illustrates how, by inviting collective ideas to individual experiences, and by recognising and naming their own commitments and agentive responses to societal expectations, the women became able to move away from ideas of ‘stuckness’ towards a sense of themselves as influential both in their own lives and possibly in the lives of others similarly concerned.

  • Definitional ceremonies as rituals of hospitality— Sarah Strauven

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    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.

  • Stories of the body: Incorporating the body into narrative practice— Eleni E. Karageorgiou

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    This paper is an attempt to incorporate the body into the practice of narrative therapy so as to offer richer possibilities for therapists to work with clients’ stories. The paper presents various case studies working with various body ‘issues’, such as quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, sexual intercourse, stress, and body image. Maps of narrative practice brought to these issues include externalising conversations, outsider-witness conversations, re-membering conversations, and addressing personal failure.

  • Uncovering Bulimia’s demanding voice: Challenges from a narrative therapist’s perspective— Kassandra Pedersen

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    This paper presents responses to a series of challenges faced during work with a 17-year-old girl who sought to reclaim her life from bulimia’s demanding voice. Kiki was at first unwilling to participate in therapeutic conversations, and initial contact occurred through her boyfriend, who became part of an anti-bulimia team. Encouraged by her boyfriend, Kiki, who was determined to ‘stop throwing up at last’, decided to attend sessions. Through externalising conversations, bulimia was personified as ‘The Guy’, who ruled her daily life with judgements. Kiki described The Guy’s effect on her life and developed a stance resisting his influence. The process of working with Kiki raised a number of challenges: assisting a person who initially declined to participate, overcoming pathologising discourses, resisting the tactics of the problem and its allies, supporting a preferred identity in an unsupportive environment, and keeping Kiki’s preferences and beliefs at the centre of our work. This paper explores the use of narrative practices, including externalising conversations, double listening, identifying unique outcomes, and the failure conversations map, to address these issues and support resistance to bulimia.

  • Collective narrative practice with young people with Aspergers Syndrome who have experienced bullying— Kit Hung (Chris) Tse

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    This paper presents an experience of collective narrative practice with young people with Asperger Syndrome (Aspergers) who have experienced bullying. In Hong Kong, it is common to hear about bullying of young people with Aspergers. This article first discusses some dominant discourses relating to Aspergers and bullying. It then documents the innovative methodologies of the ‘Smartphone of Life’, which connects young people and assists them to develop second stories with alternative identities.

    The narrative practices of externalising conversations, re-authoring conversations, outsider-witness conversations, and definitional ceremonies are used to richly describe the stories of the young people. In this work, the local knowledge and skills of young people in resisting the challenges of bullying are documented through co-creating collective postcards. The article concludes with some reflections about the collective practice and ethical considerations.

  • Exploring the bicycle metaphor as a vehicle for rich story development: A collective narrative practice project— Marc F. Leger

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    This practice-based paper describes a step-by-step outline of a form of collective narrative practice which uses the bicycle as its central metaphor. A significant theme in this collective narrative practice methodology is an interest in attending to individual and collective experiences of place, and to the possibilities that place-based narrative enquiries can provide in eliciting rich accounts of people’s local knowledges and contribute to a ‘re-inhabiting’ of the significant social geographies of people’s lives.

  • Hopeful conversations about voice hearing— Chris Dolman & Michael Spurrier

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    Over a period of a couple of years, Michael and Chris met in the context of therapy in relation to the presence of critical and demanding voices in Michael’s life. These conversations covered much territory and this paper gives a partial account of these conversations – an interweaving of a description of narrative ideas and practices that shaped Chris’ approach, together with Michael’s experiences of participating in these conversations, which reinvigorated his interest in contributing to the lives of other people.

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

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    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

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    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.

  • Divorcing the voice of fear: A collaborative, narrative approach to anxiety by Evalie Horner and Patrick Davey Tully

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    Co-created by a therapist, Evalie Horner, and her client, Patrick Davey Tully, this paper introduces and explores narrative therapy as an approach for addressing issues of anxiety. The paper alternates voices between Horner and Tully as they embark upon and develop their therapeutic relationship. After reviewing a variety of other treatment approaches, they bring the reader into their joint process of narrative therapy, from inception through to the present day. Horner and Tully illustrate the tools they use to deconstruct various discourses and social constructions of truth, including externalisation via the creation of distinct, representative character voices. They discuss how narrative therapy connects past experiences to the present. And they show how narrative therapy engages the client in a pro-active, co-creative process.

  • The restoration of contemplation and creative solitude— Josie McSkimming

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    This article offers some reflections on a renewed emphasis on imagination and creative solitude within the psychotherapy process. Increasingly, people consult psychotherapists with concerns around the effects of their level of connectedness to social media. The continuous exposure, over-comparing, and self-surveillance demanded by social media may be considered as another set of political sensibilities or social discourses that shape people’s sense of self. This article considers these discourses against a backdrop of the prevailing ‘psy’ discourse, including the potentially deterministic field of neuroscience, along with the compulsory inclusion of ‘mindfulness’ in current psychotherapies.

    The stories of two women who desire more creative solitude illustrate their ways of seeing themselves and their struggles differently. Through incorporating the creative ideas of Bachelard and Foucault’s construct of the panopticon (along with dissident counter-conduct), ideas emerge around recreating solitude, reigniting imagination, and incorporating literature into psychotherapy. Not only this, but thought is given to the self-seeing and parrhēsia within Foucault’s later writings which may assist in orienting ourselves as psychotherapists somewhat differently to people’s expressions of resistance to the discourses of compulsory connection to social media and the pathologising of solitude. Creative privacy and solitude may then become more possible in people’s lives.

  • We could be heroes: How film and comic book heroes helped a peer support group to reconnect with their gifts— Rachel Tolfree

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    This paper outlines how conversations about film and comic book protagonists enabled members of a peer support group to become the heroes of their own stories, finding meaning, strength, and purpose in their difficulties and the things that make them different from others.

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

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    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).

  • Thickly describing together – utilising collaborative ethnography in narrative therapy work with young people— Jonathan McClelland

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    An ethnographic stance involves attention to the ‘exotic’ within the familiar – often using the trick of being a ‘foreigner’ to a situation as a way of teasing out what is going on behind what appears ‘natural’ or ‘obvious’ to those who are stuck in the situation. This article explores the potential contributions to narrative therapy of tools and viewpoints from anthropology, specifically the concept of ‘collaborative ethnography’. The article engages with the difficulties of maintaining an ethical approach when working with adolescents in the mental health field, which often does not take the viewpoints and contributions of adolescents seriously, and points the way toward a way of working that does not privilege the expertise or use of power often exerted in this arena.

  • Troublemaker Cards: Promoting the language of responsibility and prevention in men’s domestic violence— Ryan Greenwell

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    This paper describes the use of Troublemaker Cards in men’s domestic violence behaviour change groups as an innovative approach to expose and challenge the dominant ways of being and thinking that support men’s violence and abuse towards women. While language that minimises men’s responsibility-taking for their actions is available and ubiquitous, the Troublemaker Cards offer an alternative, and promote the gendered and political understandings of violence and abuse in a respectful parallel journey of discovery. The externalising language used on the cards keeps the men’s identities separate from these discourses, and yet supports an attentiveness to their relationship with them. Guided by the cards in a ‘cool engagement’, the men are invited to explore and deconstruct the Troublemakers as well as build the foundations for second-story development. Evidence from practice suggests that once men experience this separation and foresee alternative territories to step into, they can better describe their relationship with the ‘Troublemakers’ in a ‘hot engagement’. In a context of accountability to women and children, the men create opportunities to propose how they will prevent potential future abuses and take action based on preferred relationships to the Troublemakers, such that they are not unwittingly reproducing dominant ways of being.

  • Two-way learning as respectful community practice: Honouring, co-creating and facilitating access to the knowledge stories of the Men of the Mimosa Creek Healing Centre— Troy Holland

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    This article comprises two related accounts: first, a short history of an attempt to develop respectful practice in a two-way learning partnership with a community; second, a description of a collective narrative practice knowledges project with Aboriginal Australian men who are participating in a residential rehabilitation program.

    Developing respectful practice is explained in terms of acknowledging and responding to the effects and operations of invasion, colonisation, privileges, and power, and earning and responding to invitations to become a participant and to be influential in a community. The collective narrative practice knowledges project demonstrates ways of externalising and historicising problems; cataloguing existing and aspired-to knowledges; acknowledging and honouring existing personal, familial, and cultural knowledges; being influential but de-centred in the co-research of new knowledges; and the documentation and reciprocal exchanges of knowledges.

1,971 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.”

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. “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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

  12. 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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