Dear Reader, 

Welcome to the first issue of the journal for 2019!

The first three pieces consider intergenerational narrative practice in response to intergenerational trauma. There is quite a story to explain how these three pieces were generated.

As part of a year-long narrative practice training program taking place in Rwanda, Saviona Cramer offered a workshop on intergenerational narrative practice in response to  intergenerational trauma. She drew on her work with Jewish families whose parents or grandparents survived the Holocaust. The workshop took place on the shores of Lake Kivu and it was a very significant day. Rwandan colleagues indicated that there was profound resonance and great interest in how such practices could be used in Rwanda. That evening, David Denborough sat down with Saviona and interviewed her in order to create the first paper ‘Intergenerational narrative practice in response to intergenerational trauma’.

The following day, Rwandan colleagues were invited to speak about what was significant to them about Saviona’s work and their perspectives are included in the second piece, ‘Intergenerational narrative practice in the shadow of genocide: Rwandan reflections’. This pieces includes contributions from Niyongana Elisabeth, Manirafasha Agnes, Nsabiyumva Manasseh, Niyonsenga Valentine, Sister Seraphine Kayitesirwa, Uwihoreye Chaste, Mushashi Christine, Umurungi Chantal, Françoise Karibwende, Beatrice Mutamuriza, Genevieve Uwera, Anne Candide Habyarimana, Claudine Mukakimenyi, Providence Umuziga, Felix Banderembaho, Simeon Sebatukura, Clementine Kanazayire, Jeanne Marie Ntete, Beata Mukarusanga and Serge Nyirinkwaya.

A third reflection is offered by Jewish narrative practitioner, Ruth Pluznick.

It’s a profound collection of papers and we very much look forward to hearing from narrative practitioners about what intergenerational narrative practice in response to intergenerational trauma could make possible in diverse contexts

This journal also includes five further diverse papers.   

Decolonising research: An interview with Bagele Chilisa
In this interview, Motswana postcolonial scholar Professor Bagele Chilisa discusses strategies for decolonising research, resisting the domination of Western knowledge, working with Indigenous worldviews, and introducing accountability and collaboration with people and communities who are the subjects of research. This piece has been created from two sources – a conversation between Bagele Chilisa, Cheryl White and David Denborough that took place in Gaborone, Botswana on 23 August 2018 and Bagele’s keynote presentation, Equality in diversity: Indigenous research methodologies, at the 2015 American Indigenous Research Association Conference.

A first person principle: Philosophical reflections on narrative practice within a mainstream psychiatric service for young people, by Philippa Byers and David Newman
This paper is a collaboration between David Newman, an experienced narrative therapy practitioner and teacher, and Philippa Byers, a narrative therapy student with an academic background in philosophy. The paper charts ideas developed during Philippa’s student placement with David, as they discussed narrative practice, other mental health practices and philosophy. The paper draws on philosophy of language and the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur, applying this to Michael White’s injunction to look (and listen) for the experience-near in the words and phrases that are offered to narrative therapists. It offers philosophical reflections on an ethical principle of narrative practice which Philippa and David call a first person principle.

Discovering the good man: Double story development with a survivor of repetitive ongoing trauma in immigration detention, by Janet Pelly
This paper explores the possibilities for transforming a trauma narrative while the person remains in a traumatic situation. It focuses on my work with Yasin (not his real name), a stateless Middle Eastern man who sought asylum in Australia in 2013 after a lifetime of persecution for his ethnicity, religion and attempts to seek protection. The paper describes the use of narrative practices, including double-storied testimony, re-authoring conversations and the Team of Life process, to help Yasin manage life in an immigration detention centre, and to reduce the frequency of his flashbacks and nightmares.

Working with young people in residential care in India: Uncovering stories of resistance, by Maya Sen
This paper describes narrative therapy interventions with young people living in residential childcare institutions in Kolkata, India. It presents an analysis of the contexts of poverty, violence and oppression that shape young people’s experiences before entering care, and the ideologies that shape their experiences within residential institutions. It then demonstrates the application of a narrative framework for working with young people in residential care through the stories of four young women.

Narrative Walks, by Chris Darmody
Narrative Walks is a hope-based, depathologising outdoor program that was developed to engage with populations that may not be drawn to conventional methods of therapy. This structured day program encourages participants to explore 15 narrative therapy questions, and to engage in a number of other activities during a 20 kilometre walk through the bush. The program invites different perspectives on problem stories, and offers walking as a narrative metaphor.

Comprising papers from India, Australia, Botswana, Rwanda, Canada and Israel, this journal issue represents practice and theoretical explorations that stretch the field of narrative practice in profound and compelling ways.  

We will look forward to your feedback.


Cheryl White