asylum seekers

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in | 0 comments

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  • Making now precious: narrative conversations with asylum seekers— Poh Lin Lee

    $9.90

    This paper explores bringing together a series of narrative principles and practices in response to those who are seeking asylum in Australia and also experiencing the consequences of torture and trauma. This work is a description of ongoing coresearch with asylum seekers into conversations that can be meaningful in a context of unpredictability and instability. This invitational approach makes way for rich alternative story development, re-membering conversations, and bringing to light moments that sustain and nurture through hardship. This work emphasises an approach of ‘making now precious’ by creating pathways for narrative conversations to be carried in nomadic, transportable ways in the hearts of people as they face the long tumultuous journey of seeking asylum, safety and belonging.

  • Narrative conversations alongside Interpreters: A locally-grown outsider-witnessing practice— Poh Lin Lee

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    In the context of providing counselling to people who are being held within mandatory immigration detention, this paper seeks to explore the possibilities and dilemmas of inviting people who act as interpreters to reposition as meaningful witnesses to asylum seekers’ performances of preferred identity. These moments of witnessing, when offered in ways that attend to the complexities and dynamics of culture, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, education, ability and age, can contribute to the honouring and thickening of the alternative stories and robust identity claims of people seeking asylum, who are exploring ways to respond to multiple, ongoing injustices. This paper offers ideas for making visible practices of solidarity and shared cultural knowledges and understandings between people seeking asylum and people who interpret.

  • Reflections on Australia’s Response to Asylum Seekers: A Diary from Six Weeks as a Counsellor within Curtin Detention Centre— Jeanette Gibson

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    Jeanette Gibson is a counsellor who for many years worked within a men’s prison in Victoria, Australia. The same private company which runs this prison administered the Curtin Detention Centre in the northwest of Western Australia. Within this centre, people who arrived in Australia seeking asylum were incarcerated for months and sometimes years while the Australian immigration department investigated their claims and decided whether or not to grant them refugee status. Jeanette took a six week assignment as a counsellor within Curtin Detention Centre. This paper consists of extracts from the diary that she kept during this time.

  • Discovering the good man: Double story development with a survivor of repetitive ongoing trauma in immigration detention—Janet Pelly

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    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. The paper presents the efforts of one man to re-author elements of his life while trapped in an environment that both replicates past trauma and denies hope for a better future.

2,027 Comments

  1. In one of my groups it seemed there was a desire to talk about food preparation and sharing food. This discussion started informally before the group started. I allowed it to continue and asked ways in which participants have built community in their lives. What made this possible was the fact that I was running the group alone without a co-facilitator, allowing me to be more flexible in my approach. Organizational rules of what my group was “supposed” to focus on could prove a barrier to this collaboration.

  2. I liked this paper – I find that after I do my harm reduction groups, I am wondering what to write in the process note. I think I will try asking the participants of the group to suggest what I might include.

  3. Hello my name is Christopher Hanlon, I live in LIghthouse Point, FL. I am interested in learning how macro and micro social work practice may be intertwined. I loved article 4 in the above proposed charter that stated: the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem. Getting away from the individual and more to systemic causes. Just beginning this journey. I don’t like seeing problems through the limited lens of pathology – one in which my MSW clinical social work program seems to promote. I welcome any feedback!

  4. I’m Clayre Sessoms from Vancouver, BC, Canada, traditionally known as Coast Salish Territories. I acknowledge that my work takes place on the ancestral, unceded, and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Nations of the Coast Salish People whose relationship with the land is ancient, primary, and enduring. I’m an uninvited settler in what is colonially known as Vancouver. Because my place of work is on stolen land I commit to support a reconciliation, which includes reparations and the return of land. Here I study counselling psychology and art therapy, and I get to incorporate narrative therapy at my practicum placement, a site that provides free counselling services for LGBTQ2S individuals.

    These materials help me to begin to wrap my head around the complexities of narrative therapy. I especially enjoyed learning about how others have used narrative therapy in practical counselling settings.

    I’m moved by how we often tend to hear, accept, or retell the thinnest stories of our lives and the lives of others. I imagine that not valuing the richness of an individual’s diverse range of stories, perhaps, it has been much easier to cling to tired old preconceived notions about others, which can cause undue harm.

    I’m left thinking about the TEDTalk by Chimamanda Adichie about the dangers of accepting a singular story of someone else, rather than leaning in and committing to understand the wholeness of that person’s narrative.

    I look forward to continuing to learn. Thank you to The Dulwich Centre for providing this accessible forum. <3

    • Hi Clayre,

      I am in a practicum as well, in New York City, working in a harm reduction center. I would also like to employ narrative therapy with participants in the program in one on one counseling sessions. I am glad to see you are doing it!

  5. in what ways have you entered into collaborations before? What made these collaborations possible?

    As a peer worker most of my work was entering into collaborations with young people. I would use curiosity to further inquire into their experience, and looking back wow these narrative practices would have been amazing to use in our youth group discussions! We would use art mostly in telling stories. Many of the young people heard voices and saw characters only they could see. They would enjoy painting these voices, externalising the character, giving it a name and talking about the story and nature of the relationship between the voice and the character. I also enjoyed illiciting these stories, as I could tell they would begin to separate themselves from the voices, allowing for guilt and shame to reduce.

    What might make it hard to enter into these practices?

    The one difficult way of entering into these practices was the note writing. The managerial culture of my last workplace meant it was not considered good practice to have clients sit with us to write notes. In fact most clients probably were unaware that workers did regularly make notes each time they had contact with the centre. We were a strengths based centre that thrived on person centred practice. I think there is a bit of a stereotype that note writing is quite clinical and removed from person centred practice, hence a certain avoidance of bringing up notes in front of clients.

    If these ways of working fit for you, what next steps could you take to build partnerships/collaborations in your work?

    I definitely believe I could continue to use art to help young people tell their alternative stories. In mental health many workers draw thin conclusions of clients – bipolar, poor attachment, violent, with even their strengths really talked about in third person. It would be great to start drawing peoples strengths out with the use of story telling, so that clients can start to own their strengths, rather than have clinicans cherry pick these out.

  6. Thank you to Tileah for a wonderful presentation. I love hearing the word “yarn” used in this powerful way (Americans also have that term). The practice of “translating”, of shifting concepts into language that can be more usefully heard, is very powerful. As coaches we can make good use of this to help clients uncover their hidden or forgotten resources.

  7. These stories are amazing examples of what we can discover when we hold onto our “beginner’s mind” and remember that the other person (client, patient) has the information and understanding, not us. We talk a lot in leadership development about “co-creating” and I think this is a beautiful example of two very complementary roles: the person who has the story and the person who helps to explore and shape it.

  8. I like the idea of narrative – there is something about giving people the power to create a narrative, rather than simply appearing in a story told by someone else. Within the narrative metaphor, I especially enjoy the fabric metaphor – the idea of strands. These may touch each other, or not, may go well together in tone or color, or not. But again, there is some power in creating and weaving the narrative.
    In my own work with coaching and leadership development, I find that the emphasis on narrative(s) helps make things more tangible, and therefore brings them to their true scale, instead of letting them take on imaginary and unclearly described proportions.

  9. I love this. Telling our stories in ways that make us stronger. Such a powerful sentiment. Sometimes through trauma, it is hard to access the words that really encapsulate that experience – though using the written word does help us access those hard to utter parts of our memories … in those cases though perhaps the story we tell ourselves is not one that makes us feel strong in the first instance – so finding a way to tell that story in a way that focuses on the strength of surviving to tell that story is just amazing!

  10. Hello all! My name is Krysta Rathwell and I am from a small town in central Alberta, Canada. I am currently completing my Masters in Counselling Psychology and have a Bachelor in Education Degree. I have just started my practicum and have been studying narrative therapy as that is what I am interested in pursuing.

    A narrative metaphor encompasses how a person is shaped by their stories. These stories have an impact on what people do or believe about themselves. Hearing clients’ stories, from their perspective, helps the therapist to understand their responses and gives the opportunity to seek to find hidden events or meaning.

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