narrative therapy

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in | 0 comments

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  • Holding our heads up: We have lost loved ones to suicide and want to share stories not stigma A resource for families who have lost loved ones to suicide Compiled— Marnie Sather and David Newman

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    Within these pages are stories and wisdoms from many people who have had to deal with a suicide of a loved one. They have been generously shared from diverse places: Australia, Denmark, Israel, Nigeria, South Africa, United States, Canada, Brazil, Hong Kong, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

    Amongst honouring the heartache and loss of the suicide of a loved one, these stories also shine a light on the often small acts that people use to get through such an experience.

  • Hopeful conversations about voice hearing— Chris Dolman & Michael Spurrier

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    Over a period of a couple of years, Michael and Chris met in the context of therapy in relation to the presence of critical and demanding voices in Michael’s life. These conversations covered much territory and this paper gives a partial account of these conversations – an interweaving of a description of narrative ideas and practices that shaped Chris’ approach, together with Michael’s experiences of participating in these conversations, which reinvigorated his interest in contributing to the lives of other people.

  • Introducing Narrative Psychiatry: Narrative Approaches to Initial Psychiatric Consultations— SuEllen Hamkins

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    This paper is the first in a series to examine the use of narrative therapy approaches within psychiatry. The author, psychiatrist SuEllen Hamkims, describes ways in which narrative ideas shape the initial conversations she has with those who consult her.

    Initial psychiatric consultations are conceptualised as re-authoring conversations in which questions that generate experience and gather information assist in the development of a history of resistance to the problem. Examples of co-research and letter-writing are also offered. The paper ends with a reflection from Virginia Slaughter whose conversations with the author about experiences of depression are offered as examples of this work.

  • Inviting paranoia to the table— Amanda Worrall and June

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    This article describes conversations that Amanda had with a woman called June, whose life had been affected by a condition called ‘schizoaffective disorder’. When Amanda first met with June, June was in good health but paranoia was influencing her life in a way that wasn’t acceptable to her. This article describes how Amanda and June invited paranoia to come to the table, to explore how June could reclaim her life and move forward in a preferred direction.

  • Journey metaphors— Michael White

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    In this paper Michael White documents the use of katharsis and rite of passage metaphors within therapy, teaching and community work contexts. This paper was written to be given as an evening address to participants prior to the Dulwich Centre Publications’ International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference held at Spelman College in Atlanta in June, 2002. As practitioners from many different countries gathered together in the beautiful grounds of the historically black women’s college, there was an increasing sense of anticipation about what experiences lay ahead of us. Never before had such an event been held at an historically black college, and participants and organisers alike felt powerfully welcomed by Vanessa McAdamsMahmoud of Spelman College and the local African American community. We didn’t know exactly where this was all leading, we only knew that we were delighted to be travelling together. What was clear was that thorough preparation would be required to make this event all that it could be. The writing and delivery of this paper was one aspect of these conference preparations. Now, six months later, we would once again like to thank Vanessa McAdams-Mahmoud, Vanessa Jackson and Makungu Akinyela for inviting us to host the conference at Spelman College, and for making possible what was a rigorous, generous-hearted and healing event.

  • Living in stories: Embodiment in therapy through liturgical practice— Chad Loftis

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    Since its inception, narrative therapy has not only been interested in meaning-making with language, but also with other cultural forms including ritual and ceremony. Drawing on this tradition, along with the work of thinkers outside the field, combined with a religious lexicon and several years of experience with ‘liturgical practice’, this article outlines not only the healing potential of therapeutic ceremony but also its political significance. From mock lawsuits to funeral-like mourning ceremonies for Joy and Freedom, this article outlines possibilities, hazards, and essential elements of ‘liturgical practices’, as well as potential categories of ceremony in keeping with common cultural practices, and examples of practice.

  • 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.

  • Narrative Maps of Practice: Proposals for the Deconstructing Addiction League— Anthony C.

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    This paper invites therapists to consider establishing community resources informed by narrative practices as a way of challenging the culture of consumption and assisting those trying to revise their use of substances. The paper also discusses a range of specific proposals as to how various narrative maps of practice can be used to deconstruct addiction. This paper was given as a keynote address at Dulwich Centre’s inaugural Summer School of Narrative Practice, in Adelaide, South Australia, in November 2003. It was heralded by those present as both a call to action and a creative engagement with narrative ideas. The presentation has been adapted slightly for publication here.

  • Narrative Therapy Outcomes for Women who have Experienced Domestic Violence— Emma Bullen

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    Debate continues about what constitutes evidence for outcomes of psychological interventions. There are challenges to operationalise research for post-modernist views of knowledge being multiple and relative rather than singular, fixed, and absolute. This has led to limited empirical evaluation of practices such as narrative therapy.

    This paper describes the therapy process for eighty women and outcomes for twenty-three women who had experienced domestic violence and were engaged in narrative therapy, utilising the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS). PCOMS consists of integrating two outcome rating scales into each counselling session – the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and the Session Rating Scale (SRS). The design of the research was clinical data mining.

    This paper briefly discusses difficulties and limitations of the concept of evidence-based practice when applied to narrative therapy. The study identifies and defines several different patterns of therapy outcomes. PCOMS was used to demonstrate that clients who were treated for at least six, one-hour sessions of narrative therapy for complex trauma (domestic violence), showed positive outcomes equivalent to other studies using different treatments.

  • Re-contextualising conversations and rich story development— Chris Dolman

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    In contrast to more common understandings circulating in contemporary Western culture that de-contextualise the problems experienced by people and tether them to their bodies and beings, this paper describes a number of narrative practices that contribute to the rich description of the context in which problems emerge in a person’s life. Therapeutic practices of double story development that provide a foundation for these re-contextualising conversations will also be described.

  • Reclaiming imagination from fear— Jane Hutton

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    Playful narrative therapy has been used with people of all ages but especially with children, often in relation to serious problems. This article examines ways of using imagination to plot against fear, as well as co-researching with children about what works to shrink fear.

  • Reconstructing Life Journeys: Group Work with Young Women Who Experience Mental Illness— Little Lit Siu-wai

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    This article describes creative work with a group of young women who have been suffering from mental illness for several years. The work conveyed here builds upon the metaphor of a journey of life (see McPhie & Chaffey 1998) and adapts this to a Hong Kong context.

  • Talking about sex: Narrative approaches to discussing sex life in therapy— Ron Findlay

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    How do we discuss sex issues in therapy with a narrative and post-structuralist, postcolonial approach? This paper discusses the ethics and practices of narrative approaches to talking about sex in therapy. It discusses ways to reduce the influence of shame and embarrassment, promote local knowledge and skills, and to minimise the impact of the gender and sexuality of the therapist.

  • The whiteboard as a co-therapist: Narrative conversations in a generalist counselling setting— Lesley Grant & Rowena Usher

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    This article describes an innovative way in which whiteboarding is being utilised in a therapeutic setting. Narrative ideas and practices have been pivotal in developing our use of the whiteboard. In this article we hope to demonstrate the use of the whiteboard in respectful, mindful, co-authorship of client’s stories as they connect with their preferred way of being. We have been inspired to share these discoveries as they are unfolding – therefore this is not a finished product; this is part of a journey.

  • The ‘Mighty Oak’: Using the ‘Tree of Life’ methodology as a gateway to the other maps of narrative practice— Janelle Dickson

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    This paper describes using the ‘Tree of Life’ narrative therapy methodology with a young man who was experiencing bullying, and had himself engaged in anger and aggression. This thorough account of narrative practice shows how a ‘stand-alone’ methodology like the Tree of Life can be a ‘jumping off’ point for using the other maps of narrative practice, including re-authoring conversations, re-membering conversations, definitional ceremony, and therapeutic documents. In this way, the ‘Tree of Life’ methodology provides entry points to other narrative conversations and practices, which blend into each other and complement each other for an effective therapeutic engagement.

  • These are not Ordinary Lives. The Report of a Mental Health Community Gathering

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    This paper contains the stories, skills and knowledges that were described during a two-day gathering for ‘consumers’ of mental health services in Canberra, Australia. This gathering was preceded by detailed consultations that were shaped by narrative therapy ideas and the gathering itself was organised and structured around a series of definitional ceremonies. This led to the rich description of participants’ unique knowledges of illness and healing; their appreciation of healing contexts; their connections with each other; their connections with families, friends and pets, and their connections with service providers. Space was also created for the articulation of the skills and knowledges associated with embracing different hopes, values and ways of living. This paper records the stories that were told on the gathering in the hope that these will be of assistance to others.

2,022 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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