2018: Issue 2

Posted by on Jun 24, 2018 in | 0 comments

Dear Reader,

Welcome to this issue of the journal which has a special focus on the ways in which narrative practices can support parents and features paper from Australia and Canada.

Perinatal depression affects about one in every seven women who give birth in Australia each year. Amanda Worrall’s paper, Bringing our gaze to perinatal depression, vividly describes what becomes possible for women struggling with perinatal depression when they recognise their insider knowledge as legitimate.

Donna Stace’s paper, Walking the line between two practices: Accepting invitations to use narrative practices when facilitating Group Triple P, tells Donna’s story of facilitating a form of behavioural family intervention using innovative narrative practice initiatives throughout the eight-week program and how she ‘walked the line’ between the two practices. This process offered participants a culturally responsive and politically decolonising facilitation of Group Triple P while maintaining fidelity to the program. We believe this paper may be helpful to others working with parents and also any practitioner who is interested in introducing narrative practices into an existing program.

The third paper in this issue, Mothers take action: Fostering solidarity and reappropriating social and political space through a collective creative project is by Florence Godmaire-Duhaime, Anne-Marie Bellemare, Sebrena Caine and Alan Behary Laul-Sirder.This paper presents a case study and analysis of the use of creative arts and narrative tools in fostering solidarity and social change. It is co-authored by two social workers, a proud participant in the project, and a youth worker.

The final two papers in this issue focus on different themes.

With the opioid crises wreaking havoc in Canada at present, it seems a critical time to be sharing ways in which practitioners are seeking to respond. This is the focus of Jenny Johnston’s paper, Supporting folks to reclaim their lives from the control of substances: A Real People, Real Knowledge, Art Board. This paper, explores various narrative practices in responding to the control of substances over people’s lives: privileging marginalised voices, uncovering and elevating tacit or insider-knowledges, documenting and archiving these knowledges, specifically in the form of a collaged visual called, ‘Real people, real knowledge art board’.

The final paper included here by Julia Gerlitz is called Shame Fighters Anonymous: Co-created narrative documents in place of group therapy. This article describes an innovative use of narrative documents in which members of a project called Shame Fighters Anonymous wrote about being sexually abused/assaulted and how they were combating the resulting shame. Their writing was compiled into booklets and shared with other group members. This use of narrative documents enabled participants to join a shared conversation without having to meet in person and it took the place of a more traditional ‘group therapy’ approach.

We hope these writings assist you in your work. If so, the authors are all be keen to hear from you!

Warmly,

Cheryl White

 

Contents

‘Bringing our gaze to perinatal depression’, Amanda Worrall. (Pages 1-11)

Walking the line between two practices: Accepting invitations to use narrative practices when facilitating Group Triple P’, Donna Stace. (Pages 12-28)

Mothers take action: Fostering solidarity and reappropriating social and political space through a collective creative project’, Florence Godmaire-Duhaime, Anne-Marie Bellemare, Sebrena Caine and Alan Behary Laul-Sirder. (Pages 29-36)

‘Supporting folks to reclaim their lives from the control of substances: A Real People, Real Knowledge, Art Board’, Jenny Johnston. (Pages 37-51)

‘Shame Fighters Anonymous: Co-created narrative documents in place of group therapy’, Julia Gerlitz. (Pages 52-61)


Showing all 5 results

  • Bringing our gaze to perinatal depression— Amanda Worrall

    $9.90

    Perinatal depression (PND) affects about one in every seven women who give birth in Australia each year (healthdirect, 2017) and suicide is considered to be the leading cause of maternal death in the perinatal period (Ellwood, 2016). Although a number of risk factors have been identified, the cause of PND is still not clearly understood (BetterHealth, 2017). Understandings of perinatal depression are predominantly shaped by a biomedical model, and the insider knowledge of women is given little if any space. Amanda was keen to engage with women to seek some answers to PND. The following questions helped to shape this exploration: What do women consider to be the issues and problems that make up PND? What have they learnt in relation to what reduces its influence and presence in their lives? What becomes possible for women when they recognise their knowledge as legitimate knowledge?

  • Walking the line between two practices: Accepting invitations to use narrative practices when facilitating Group Triple P— Donna Stace

    $9.90

    The Triple P Positive Parenting Program is a form of behavioural family intervention, and is the world’s leading parenting program ranked by the extent of the evidence base. Like narrative therapy, Triple P is practiced internationally. This paper tells the story of facilitating Group Triple P using innovative narrative practice initiatives throughout the eight-week program, ‘walking the line’ between the two practices. The paper begins with the story of how this practice innovation originated. It then describes the metaphor of walking the line before providing examples of double story development from practice. This innovation offers participants a culturally responsive and politically decolonising facilitation of Group Triple P while maintaining fidelity to the program.

  • Mothers take action: Fostering solidarity and reappropriating social and political space through a collective creative project— Florence Godmaire-Duhaime, Anne-Marie Bellemare, Sebrena Caine and Alan Behary Laul-Sirder

    $5.50

    This paper presents a case study and analysis of the use of creative arts and narrative tools in the practice of social work, with a particular focus on fostering solidarity and social change. We describe an innovative project aimed at tackling oppression with a group by and for migrant mothers in Montreal. First, we discuss how arts practices can be used to connect with ourselves and to nurture a collective consciousness. Second, we show how creative writing and the narrative process can offer a way of connecting in a community-based group, and can foster community empowerment. Third, we develop the idea that the dissemination of a collectively created artwork can create connections with the broader community and function as a tool for social change.

  • Supporting folks to reclaim their lives from the control of substances: A Real People, Real Knowledge, Art Board— Jenny Johnston

    $9.90

    This paper explores various narrative practices in responding to the control of substances over people’s lives: privileging marginalised voices, uncovering and elevating tacit or insider-knowledges, documenting and archiving these knowledges, specifically in the form of a collaged visual called, ‘Real people, real knowledge art board’.

  • Shame Fighters Anonymous: Co-created narrative documents in place of group therapy— Julia Gerlitz

    $9.90

    This article describes an innovative use of narrative documents in which members of a project called Shame Fighters Anonymous (SFA) wrote about being sexually abused/assaulted and how they were combating the resulting shame. Their writing was compiled into booklets and shared with other group members. This use of narrative documents enabled SFA members to join a shared conversation without having to meet in person and it took the place of a more traditional ‘group therapy’ approach. To demonstrate the unique outcomes SFA members experienced, direct quotes are shared from the participants’ writing and from a group interview transcript in which participants reflected upon their involvement with this project. The narrative therapy principles of pain as testimony, legacy, and contribution through hardship, as well as the feminist principle of the personal is political, are presented as the theoretical backbone of this project. The article concludes by laying out the steps required for recreating this project and it invites readers to try this innovative use of narrative documents in place of group therapy in their own work context.

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

0