2017: Issue 2

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in | 0 comments

Dear Reader,

Welcome to this collection of narrative practice papers from Singapore, UK, Australia, New Zealand, China & the USA!

It’s a diverse collection and we hope the ideas included here are helpful to you and those with whom you work.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Warm regards,

Cheryl White





‘Recipes for life: A collective narrative methodology for responding to gender violence’ Meizi Tan. (Pages 1-12) 

‘We don’t give up: Developing family and community responses to adolescent-to-parent violence’ Ben Shannahan. (Pages 13-27)

‘Stories of hope and pride’ Emma Cox. (Pages 28-36)

‘Exploring narrative group work to responding to burn out in novice teachers’ Fan Lingli. (Pages 37-44)

‘Stuttering therapy when the problem isn’t stuttering: Using narrative practices in a fluency-centric society’ Voon Pang. (Pages 45-54)

‘The chasing of tales: Poetic licence with the written word in narrative practice’ Carmen Ostrander. (Pages 55-64)

Showing all 6 results

  • Recipes for life: A collective narrative methodology for responding to gender violence— Meizi Tan


    This paper explores the use of collective narrative methodology in a two-day group retreat organised for women who had experienced gender violence in their intimate relationships. The women developed ‘recipes for life’ by using the skills and knowledge they had developed through responding to gender violence. Outsider-witness practices were used to acknowledge the women’s alternative stories of resilience and resistance to gender violence. Narrative practices of collective documentation, externalising the problem, and deconstructing social discourses that support gender violence, were incorporated through the creative use of food metaphors. This supported the women in breaking their silence and reduced the sense of isolation, shame and disempowerment that often surrounds gender violence.

  • We don’t give up: Developing family and community responses to adolescent-to-parent violence— Ben Shannahan


    This paper explores the use of narrative therapy practices in developing a community response to a young man’s use of violence towards his family. Opportunities and ethical tensions experienced in incorporating principles and methods of nonviolent resistance (Omer, 2004) are discussed along with opportunities narrative therapy might offer as a response to these tensions. Different conceptions of responsibility and accountability, and the pushes and pulls of dominant aspects of men’s culture, are considered in relation to how these factors might shape responses to adolescent-to-parent violence, and how multi-generational men’s meetings were incorporated as part of this work.

  • Stories of hope and pride— Emma Cox


    Pregnant women with negative identity conclusions often have their stories of hope and pride overshadowed by problem-saturated stories. Consequently, their stories of hope and pride remain unnoticed and untold. This paper describes how narrative practices can create space for these women’s stories of hope and pride to be noticed and richly told in ways that allow women to reconnect with previously subjugated knowledges. Further, this paper includes two stories of practice that demonstrate the significant and powerful outcomes that have been made possible through the use of narrative practice innovations that create space for women’s stories of hope and pride to be noticed and told.

  • Exploring narrative group work for responding to burnout in novice teachers— Fan Lingli


    This paper describes a project supporting six novice teachers in Chinese public kindergartens to successfully take charge of their lives during their first year of teaching. With the help of externalising conversations and re-authoring conversations, we explored the realities of being a new teacher, and how burnout had invaded these teachers’ lives. The teachers came to recognise themselves again and to honour their own uniqueness. Using the mobile instant messaging software WeChat, the project established a virtual community for teachers to gain further interpersonal support and develop skills and knowledges about extricating themselves from their predicaments. Finally, through a definitional ceremony, the project created an opportunity for teachers to tell their stories more vividly and to build consensus with more people. All participants in this project came to understand burnout in new teachers as a sociocultural product. We hope that structural change will happen in our educational system.

  • Stuttering therapy when the problem isn’t stuttering: Using narrative practices in a fluency-centric society— Voon Pang


    Since the early 2000s, practitioners have developed beneficial ways of using narrative practices in work with adults who stutter. This article extends their work to apply narrative practices to work with children and young people who stutter. In a speech language therapy context, externalising conversations were used to determine how young people understood their own speech ‘problems’ – sometimes in ways that contrasted with dominant fluency-centric models, which seek to eliminate or reduce stuttering. Listening for ‘unique outcomes’ and ‘sparkling moments’ enabled the development of alternative stories, in which the hard won skills and knowledges of these young people were made clear. This work was supported by the use of letter writing to support people’s campaigns against the effects of stuttering, and methods to archive and disseminate the knowledges of these young people with regard to living with stuttering. Adopting a narrative approach also enabled a more collaborative way of working and provided opportunities to address issues of power and privilege in the therapeutic relationship.

  • The chasing of tales: Poetic licence with the written word in narrative practice— Carmen Ostrander


    This paper explores narrative applications of the written word in practice, including recreations of innovations I have been drawn to in my reading and through conversations with people who have supported my development as a therapist. It also describes applications that extend the therapeutic use of the written word in the spirit of playfulness and creativity I believe to be at the heart of narrative innovation. Narrative influences on the written word in administrative contexts, letter writing, note taking and other creative forms are described, communicating the influence of a year immersed in narrative ways of working.


  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.