• Cultural Democracy: Politicizing and historicizing the adoption of narrative practices in the Americas— marcela polanco Quick View

    Many practices of narrative therapy have spread widely around the world when adopted by practitioners of diverse cultures. In this paper, I present a personal reflection on my attempts at politicising and historicising the adoption of narrative therapy into my local culture. In a spirit of cultural democracy, I depart from acknowledging my own heritage of mestizaje, including the history of colonisation of Latin America. Following, I briefly present three phases as possible preparations for the initial arrival of narrative therapy to my culture and subsequent dialogue among cultures: a) adopting a decolonial critical stance; b) foreignising narrative practices; and c) facilitating cultural agency. I illustrate my attempts at dialoging with the foreign term externalisation to translate/reimagine its decolonial version in my local culture.

  • University Students Take Action Under the Gaze of ‘the Eye of Success’: A Narrative Collective Initiative— Marcela Polanco Quick View

    This paper presents an initiative for narrative collective work to address western ideas of success. Within the context of the author’s practice at the Student Counseling Center at Nova Southeastern University, Florida, this initiative addresses what the author calls ‘the eye of success’, along with its effects on students’ identity conclusions. Drawing from ideas about modern power, the author situates the eye of success in western educational traditions that set thresholds of success and rating scales against which students measure their lives. The collective narrative practice employed to respond to this, ‘The Wall of Wisdom’, is presented as a way to extend individualistic therapeutic practices by creating public spaces of acknowledgement that link students’ practical options for action.

  • Language Justice: Narrative therapy on the fringes of Colombian magical realism— marcela polanco Quick View

    When problems can talk, dead people can speak, hope can taste, and heart, soul and mind can dance together, a new discursive space is brought to life in therapeutic conversations. In this paper I discuss the reimagination of narrative therapy into my Colombian culture, adopting magical realism as a literary means to engage the imagination in therapeutic conversations. I transgress mainstream rational epistemological traditions of evidence to situate narrative therapy practice on the fringes of convention. I bring to the forefront the ordinary weirdness of narrative therapy conversations via the magical realism’s absurdity and creativity. I stage the discussion in Gabriel García Márquez’s Macondo in his novels to speak the unspeakable, to locate the unlocatable, to touch the untouchable, to hear the inaudible, and to utter the ineffable in our lives.

  • Tales of travels across languages: Languages and their anti-languages— Marcela Polanco and David Epston Quick View

    This paper is a collaboration between an apprentice bilingual translator/narrative therapist (Marcela) and one of the originators of narrative therapy (David). Studies of translation and bilingualism offer interesting and useful contributions to the renewal of narrative therapy. As narrative ideas migrate cultures, these crossings can enrich, acculturate, and diversify narrative practices. At the same time, considerations of bilinguality or multilinguality can influence our practice within languages. The example of therapeutic practice that is offered illustrates how narrative therapeutic conversations can move between and across multiple namings of people’s predicaments. In this process, understandings need not be ironed out, as often happens in monolingual conversations. Instead, multilinguality puts names in play as transitory constructions, susceptible to renewal or reinvention.

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