Extract from the introduction to this special issue
by Guest Editor Kristina Lainson

Welcome to this special issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work. The first topic under discussion in this special issue is narrative therapy in relation to neuroscience, emotions and embodiment.

Some narrative practitioners have readily found a space for neuroscientific developments in their practice, whilst others suggest neuroscience is a poor fit for narratively informed conversations. Some practitioners have tentatively explored the possibilities but found themselves with unanswered questions, others remain unconvinced that neuroscience has relevance for their practice or the lives of the people with whom they meet. In this context, both highly experienced practitioners and beginning students of narrative therapy may find themselves grappling with big questions and plenty of uncertainty. This special issue aims to address some of these questions and create an opportunity for readers to engage rigorously with neuroscientific claims in relation to narrative therapy and highlight some consequent implications for practice. Articles included vary greatly in how they engage with ideas drawn from neuroscience, considering the theoretical, the practical and the philosophical. This issue is intended to be useful, accessible and interesting to readers with an interest in narrative practice, whatever the extent of their current knowledge about neuroscience.

The second topic under discussion in this special issue is attended to more briefly but is no less significant. It is the broader subject of how we in this field can create contexts for professional differences, debates and critique.


3-8 Editorial by Kristina Lainson

9-12 Refusing to separate critique from respect by Kelsi Semeschuk

13-53 Travelling down the neuro-pathway: Narrative practice, neuroscience, bodies, emotions and the affective turn by David Denborough

54-57 Reflections on narrative, neuroscience and social engagement by Karen Young

58-60 Reflections on narrative, neuroscience and social engagement by Gene Combs

61-63 Feelings, thinking and action as a coherent whole: A reflection on ‘Travelling down the neuro-pathway’ by Jill Freedman

64-67 Narrative therapy, neuroscience and socio-emotional discourses:
Comments by Tom Strong

68-73 A reflection on self-regulation and neuro-conceal by Emma Van der Klift

74-79 Responding to David Denborough’s paper: A short interview with Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin

80-95 Narrative therapy, neuroscience and anorexia: A reflection on practices, problems and possibilities by Kristina Lainson

96-105 Intensifying the preferred self: Neurobiology, mindfulness and embodiment practices that make a difference by Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin

106-116 Michael White’s particularist ethics in a biological age by Philippa Byers

117-120 Narrative responses to physical pains: An interview with Sister Seraphine Kaitesirwa