This article recounts an example of working with a young female student who’d been referred for ‘needing to build resilience’ after being subjected to male peer abuse. The article explores ways of honouring the intent of the original referral, and broader family concern, while also broadening out the conversation from one of working with an individual young woman, to working with a group of young women students, to then engaging a group of young men in respectful conversations about abuse and harassment. In the process, the young men find ways of speaking about abusive actions they have taken, while the young women create a platform for taking broader cultural action on issues of gender and sexuality diversity in the school. Along the way, subtle dilemmas of feminist and narrative ethics are explored.
This paper explores the author’s use of narrative practices with women experiencing domestic abuse, and looks at how, despite living in a broader environment of secrecy and threat, women’s voices and stories can be honoured and a place of refuge can become one of laughter and celebration. The paper explores women’s reflections on their experiences of counselling and group work, examples of externalising conversations, therapeutic letters, and conversations employing the migration of identity metaphor.
This collection includes six articles about the work of the Hearing Voices Network:
Introducing the Work of the Hearing Voices Network— David DenboroughAn introduction by David Denborough
The Use of Humour and Other Coping Strategies— Jon WilliamsEveryone’s experience of hearing voices is different. In this paper Jon Williams describes the ways in which he has come to live with the voices he hears and how humour plays a vital part. This paper also describes a number of creative coping strategies as well as discussing the influential work of the Hearing Voices Network.
Glimpses of Peace— Sharon De ValdaTrauma can be the main trigger or cause of voice-hearing in many people. In this paper, Sharon de Valda evocatively conveys how racism and sexism shape her experience of hearing voices and how she has in turn used her own experiences to assist other voice-hearers.
From Paranoid Schizophrenia to Hearing Voices - and Other Class Distinctions— Mickey De ValdaWhile not commonly discussed, class relations have a significant influence in relation to people’s experiences of mental health and hearing voices in particular. In this paper, Mickey de Valda describes how experiences of class shape his experience and how this has influenced his work with the Hearing Voices Network.
Partnership— Julie DownsIn this paper, Julie Downs (Co-ordinator of the National Office of the Hearing Voices Network) discusses the importance of thoughtful partnerships between those who hear voices and those who do not. Both the hazards and possibilities of these partnerships are considered, particularly in relation to matters of power, politics and control.
Altering the Balance of Power: Working with Voices— Peter BullimoreThrough sharing stories of therapeutic work, this paper describes how issues of abuse and power are vital considerations when working with voice-hearers. Not only is voice-hearing often the result of abuse, but voice-hearing itself can be an experience of abuse. Peter Bullimore describes how he is interested in ensuring that abusive voices are challenged and their influence reduced, and how positive voices can be acknowledged and cherished. The paper also tells stories of a recently established group for people experiencing ‘paranoia’ that is having surprising success, and identifies significant factors that influence the process of recovery. The author also shares some of his own experiences of psychosis and how these influence his work in this area.
This paper explores the use of various narrative practices with children and their families in child protection settings. The first half examines how a ‘double listening’ approach and the engagement of outsider witnesses can be used with children who have experienced trauma and abuse. The second half of the paper gives an account of therapy over a number of months, with a family struggling with the effects of violence, alcohol and depression. Externalising conversations were found to be very helpful in allowing members of the family to work together in response to these challenges, rather than working against each other. These conversations were also documented through digital photographs of a child’s drawings on a whiteboard, which were then sent to the family as a form of therapeutic document.
This paper describes work with women who have been subjected to sexual and physical abuse. Ideas of searching for small pieces of justice through thickening stories of resistance to abuse and of reclaiming life from the ongoing effects of abuse, are explored through women’s stories.
Members of North End Halifax and East Preston, two African Nova Scotian communities, have been meeting together to talk about violence and ways of addressing it in their context, and in their ways. Included here are key documents that have been created from these conversations.
• ‘Some key knowledge and ideas about violence in African Nova Scotian communities’ from women representing North End Halifax and East Preston
• ‘Principles in relation to responding to violence in African Nova Scotian Communities’
• ‘Men speaking out to prevent abuse’ & ‘A Brother’s food for thought’ from the men of the communities of East Preston and North Preston.
These documents have been circulated throughout the communities to spark further conversation and action on these issues.
This article explores using a visual therapeutic document, the Voyage of Life map, with men living in Aotearoa/New Zealand. These men, who are revising their relationships with alcohol and other influences on their lives, have had previous experience with twelve-step models and broader ‘recovery’ approaches.
The Voyage of Life map, and the broader narrative practices that surround its use, are demonstrated through the story of one man, Joe, who is of a mixed cultural background. Through the process, Joe renegotiates his life in relation to alcohol, and re-claims aspects of his Māori whakapapaʼ(history/genealogy).
This paper describes the use of narrative ideas in response to violence and abuse in an accommodation setting for people with cerebral palsy. There had been reports of verbal and physical abuse between residents, and staff reported feeling unequipped to respond to these behaviours. A community assignment approach (White, 2005) was adopted, using externalising and re-authoring maps, definitional ceremonies and documentation to support rich double-storied identity description. This case example demonstrates how this approach supported the mobilising of individuals and a community to respond to concerns about abuse and violence and increase community wellbeing.
This paper seeks to provide a framework for receiving and documenting the testimonies of those who have been subjected to trauma, violence and abuse. It is a framework designed to make it possible to receive and document testimonies in ways that are not re-traumatising and that, in fact, contribute to redressing the effects of trauma in a person’s life. The testimonies that are created can then be used for broader purposes.
Told through the perspectives of his private practice work, and as a student in a graduate narrative therapy course, this article traces the author’s incorporation of narrative ideas and practice in working with issues of drugs and abuse with a young man in Greece. By drawing on the narrative ideas of the migration of identity, and the absent but implicit, and employing the practices of outsider-witness conversations and therapeutic documents, the author assisted the young man to renegotiate his relationship not only with drugs and abuse, but also with his grandmother, and create a space for new directions in life.
This paper describes work by two therapists with a heterosexual couple in which both partners had experienced trauma. The man, Miki, had been traumatised ten years earlier in a suicide bombing on the bus on which he was the driver. The woman, Ruthi, had been traumatised in the years since the bombing by Miki’s abusive aggression. The therapeutic conversations described here involved ways of addressing the experiences of both partners, while prioritising Ruthi’s safety. This paper was created from a series of interviews. The interviewer was David Denborough.