• From ‘disorder’ to political action: conversations that invite collective considerations to individual experiences of women who express concerns about eating and their bodies — Kristina Lainson Quick View

    This article describes an interweaving of narrative practices which has proved helpful for a number of women experiencing concerns about eating and its effects on their bodies. Through the stories of two young women, this paper illustrates how, by inviting collective ideas to individual experiences, and by recognising and naming their own commitments and agentive responses to societal expectations, the women became able to move away from ideas of ‘stuckness’ towards a sense of themselves as influential both in their own lives and possibly in the lives of others similarly concerned.

  • Sharing sadness and finding small pieces of justice: Acts of resistance and acts of reclaiming in working with women who’ve been subjected to abuse— Loretta Pederson Quick View

    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.

  • Uncovering Bulimia’s demanding voice: Challenges from a narrative therapist’s perspective— Kassandra Pedersen Quick View

    This paper presents responses to a series of challenges faced during work with a 17-year-old girl who sought to reclaim her life from bulimia’s demanding voice. Kiki was at first unwilling to participate in therapeutic conversations, and initial contact occurred through her boyfriend, who became part of an anti-bulimia team. Encouraged by her boyfriend, Kiki, who was determined to ‘stop throwing up at last’, decided to attend sessions. Through externalising conversations, bulimia was personified as ‘The Guy’, who ruled her daily life with judgements. Kiki described The Guy’s effect on her life and developed a stance resisting his influence. The process of working with Kiki raised a number of challenges: assisting a person who initially declined to participate, overcoming pathologising discourses, resisting the tactics of the problem and its allies, supporting a preferred identity in an unsupportive environment, and keeping Kiki’s preferences and beliefs at the centre of our work. This paper explores the use of narrative practices, including externalising conversations, double listening, identifying unique outcomes, and the failure conversations map, to address these issues and support resistance to bulimia.

  • Every Conversation Is an Opportunity: Negotiating Identity in Group Settings— Ali Borden Quick View

    Therapy within the context of a treatment centre can spread and confirm stories of deficit, or it can be an opportunity in which preferences and skills reverberate within a community and enable preferred reputations to be born. In a group setting, every conversation is an opportunity to negotiate meaning, and every group provides a stage for the performance of identity. This paper describes some ways that we at the Eating Disorder Center of California day treatment program guide some of that performance, including how we seek to take apart assumptions about eating problems and recovery, what is relevant to share, and what people have in common. Our intention is to open space for women to share their experiences as rich and complicated; their preferences as diverse, varied, and dynamic; and at the same time encourage points of connection, camaraderie, and community.

  • A Service-user and Therapist Reflect on Context, Difference, and Dialogue in a Therapy for Anorexia— Tracy Craggs and Alex Reed Quick View

    This article was co-authored by the participants in a therapeutic process which occurred within a specialist eating disorders service in a hospital setting. One of us was seeking assistance in their struggle with anorexia, and the other was a therapist working in this field. In addition to our encounters in the therapy process, we share in common a background in research and an orientation towards postmodern research methodologies. We became interested in how this shared research interest might provide an additional resource towards creating new knowledges and change. Through a process of shared inquiry, we sought to explore, from our different positions, the therapeutic process that we were engaged in by attending to the different narratives that shaped our experiences, understandings and actions. In particular, the influence of the clinical context on our respective experiences of the therapeutic process was examined. Some tentative reflections are offered regarding the potentially fruitful inter-relationship between therapy and research activities, and the transformative potential of this kind of shared inquiry.

  • Narrative Therapy, ‘Eating Disorders’, and Assessment: Exploring Constraints, Dilemmas, and Opportunities— Mim Weber Quick View

    This paper is a work in progress. It is an exploration of the usefulness of an eating disorders assessment and referral service to the people who consult it; and whether such a service can avoid practices which could be experienced as reinforcing of the eating disorder, pathologising, or blaming. It also looks at the possibility of working with narrative therapy ideas in an environment which does not necessarily subscribe to those ideas.

  • Narrative therapy, neuroscience and anorexia: A reflection on practices, problems and possibilities — Kristina Lainson Quick View

    The effects of anorexia are serious and have significant consequences for people’s lives. A prevalent concern among professionals working within these realms include that available therapeutic approaches may have limited usefulness for some people, especially when anorexia has been in a person’s life for a long time. Both narrative therapy and neuroscience have contributed to ways of working with people’s experiences of anorexia. This article responds to a current, broader, conversation between narrative therapy and neuroscience by exploring some of the implications of each in the context of working with anorexia. By establishing a series of tensions between the principles and practices associated with certain neuroscientific models of anorexia and what is offered by narrative therapy, a case is put for eating disorder services to favour therapeutic approaches that attend to the politics of experience, and that privilege insider experience and knowledge. This article argues that these possibilities also extend into the realms of academic research, and that they have the potential to generate hope.

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