narrative therapy

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in | 0 comments

Showing 161–176 of 190 results

  • Narrative Therapy with Boys Struggling with Anorexia— Rudi Kronbichler

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    The work described in this paper took place in Salzburg, Austria, within a psychotherapeutic outpatient department for children, adolescents and their families. It is based on meetings with eight young men and their families over the last couple of years. The young men’s ages ranged from twelve to fifteen and their diagnoses were that of ‘anorexia’. This paper discusses the growing incidence of anorexia amongst young men and boys and proposes narrative ways of working that have been experienced as helpful and effective.

  • Reclaiming Our Knowledge of Our Children: Talking with Children and Parents About Learning Differences— Lynn Tron Dinneen

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    For families in which a child has a learning difference, broader social discourses about learning, schooling and achievement can so easily disrupt loving relationships. When difficulties are compounded, parents can lose touch with the knowledge they have of their children’s skills. This paper proposes ways of assisting parents to reclaim their knowledge about what is special, unique and precious about their children. This paper was created from an interview with David Denborough, staff writer at Dulwich Centre Publications.

  • Snakes and Ladders: The Ups and Downs of a Self-harming Lifestyle— Diane Clare

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    This paper describes work with Jay, a woman who, after experiencing abuse as a child, engaged in acts of extreme self-harm in later life. The work involved a range of health care staff acting as a reflecting team, using outsider-witness practices of narrative therapy. To ensure that this apparently high number of resources used could be justified within the context of budget-conscious health services, the author developed the idea of clearly calculating and reporting on the ‘economix’ of the approach. The article also outlines the practice of ‘bookmarking’ with clients, which became a pivotal practice. The paper concludes with a poignant and reflective postscript given the tragic event of Jay’s death at her own hand.

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

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    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.

  • Walking away from ‘Illness Fears’: Glimpses of a narrative journey towards personal agency and justice— Jaqueline Sigg

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    This paper describes a therapeutic journey with a man who reclaimed his life from ‘illness fears’ and their devastating effects. It invites the reader to become an audience to the client’s resistance to dominant mental health discourses and the pathological self-narratives these discourses shaped. The article highlights particular turning points where the client reclaimed places in his life that fears and medical discourses had previously occupied.

  • Developing skill ambitions— Mark Hayward

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    This paper addresses some of the dilemmas and contradictions experienced in teaching and supervising narrative therapy within a western educational institution’s culture of assessment and describes a supervision structure used to address the predicament. The paper also takes up the ideas of Michel Foucault about the constitution of self as moral agent and uses these ideas to elaborate the author’s learning aims and a path towards them.

  • Examining Discourse When Talking with Women— Shona Russell

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    This paper discusses the ongoing responsibility we have as therapists for opening spaces to examine cultural and social conditions that can easily remain invisible.

    The author asks: ‘How can I step outside my own ideology and question it’, and ‘What steps can I take to expand the range of discourses which are brought into therapeutic conversations?’ A postmodern feminist orientation is discussed as a way to examine and explore the dominant discourses which are powerfully shaping of identity. Through the story of Rosanna’s life we see how these explorations are linked with re-authoring conversations.

  • Moving beyond multicultural counselling: Narrative therapy, anti-colonialism, cultural democracy and hip-hop— Travis Heath

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    This paper reflects on a previously published practice story of Ray, a 24-year-old Black man from the United States. I seek to demonstrate one way that the ideas of cultural democracy can become actionable within narrative therapy practices, and in doing so, to advocate for a model that moves beyond multicultural counselling.

  • Putting down the burden: Outsider-witness practices, a family and HIV/AIDS— Lauri Appelbaum

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    The narrative therapy practice of de nitional ceremony and outsider witnessing can create spaces for people and communities to move through dominant problem stories to new, richer stories of hope and connection. This paper looked at the use of outsider witnessing in a new setting, with a long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS, and his family. This paper introduces David, his history of experiences with HIV/AIDS stigma, trauma, and homophobia, and his current struggles in his relationships with his family. The outsider- witness experience with David and his family is described, with detailed re-authorising conversations between me, David, and his family. Outsider-witnessing practices provided David and his family a way to move through dominant stories of stigma, shame, and disconnection, to richer stories of love, connection and commitment to one another. The paper discusses recommendations and ideas for re-creating these experiences with other long-term survivors, in community and in partnership with AIDS service organisations. The paper concludes with reflections.

  • Responding to grief and loss using therapeutic documents — Karen Esakin Mittet

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    This article demonstrates some of the healing practices that narrative therapists have available to them when helping people who are grieving the death of someone they love. It emphasises the healing effects of therapeutic documentation and the significance of effective note taking when preparing therapeutic letters for individuals who have been bereaved.

  • Serious play with computer games: A sometimes useful approach for connecting with young people who choose to wait and see— Clive Taylor

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    Many young people are wary about engaging in counselling and this article explores one approach to connecting with them and inviting useful co-exploration of issues that may have intruded into their lives. The playing of computer games is widespread amongst young people and they have a passion for them and expertise that can be very helpful for narrative explorations. Computer games provide young people with ways of gaining skills and of achieving outcomes against the sometimes overwhelming challenges that games set against them, achievements that can seem completely lacking in their ‘real’ lives. This article follows one such exploration. Counsellors who are not ‘gamers’ can enlist the assistance and expertise of the young person in their exploration of this approach.

  • Turning Depression on Its Head: Employing Creativity to Map Out and Externalise Depression in Conversations with Young Women— Sarah Penwarden

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    This paper explores the counter-effects of creativity on depression, and gives an example of creative narrative therapy strategies in externalising and storying depression in conversations with young women at a New Zealand high school.

  • ‘Weird and scary stuff’: Diverse spiritual experiences about death in Australia— Steve Rose

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    Rich opportunities await the narrative therapist when space is opened in narrative re-membering practices to incorporate those experiences of death and dying that are often thought of as too ‘weird and scary’ ‒ or simply as just ‘a bit too strange or mystical’ to be treated as privileged experiences. This paper suggests that far from deserving to be avoided or totally ignored, these stories offer rich opportunities for exploration. Using a narrative lens, and drawing on the already known practices of narrative re-membering, the author unpacks some of his own stories privileging unusual and, at times, transcendent experiences. The article then outlines how such stories fit within a narrative framework. Finally, a number of suggestions are canvassed for how narrative questions related to these ‘weird and scary stories’ may be framed.

  • Narrative dream analysis? Towards a narrative therapy response to acknowledging people’s responses in dreams— Ron Findlay

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    This article starts with a brief overview and critique of classic dream analysis, then follows with a review of a sample of published narrative therapy approaches to dream analysis and working with dreams. He then outlines another possible approach focussing on attending to unique outcomes, initiatives, and responses in dreams already occurred.

  • Narrative Therapy: Wandering with King Arthur and Dr. Watson— Povl E.B. Jensen

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    It has been my ambition in recent years to persuade psychiatrists and doctors to include narrative therapy in their daily work practice. Likewise, by taking the best of two worlds, narrative therapy and psychiatry in harmony, I hope to inspire narrative therapists to consider that psychiatry is not the enemy, but can be put to very valuable use. My main point is that a person’s sense of identity, competence and ‘personal agency’ is paramount. Mental illness or disorder has a unique ability to undermine this, and mainstream psychiatry (with medical focus on pathology) is poorly equipped to hold the pieces together, let alone help strengthen selfconcept and self-esteem. By including basic narrative therapy strategies and concepts (like ‘double-listening’, rescuing exceptions to the disqualifying problem-story, use of metaphors and attending to ‘the absent but implicit’) we can achieve a far better engagement between patient/client and psychiatrist/therapist.

  • Presenting the League of Parents and Small People Against Pocket Kering: Debuting the skills and knowledges of those who experience financial difficulties— Elizabeth Quek Ser Mui

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    This paper describes a narrative collective practice model that was applied in a Singapore community that experiences financial difficulties and other complex issues. The ‘Pocket Kering’ (‘no money’) project involved four stages. First, conversations with families in their homes elicited rich descriptions of their experiences of Pocket Kering, and the skills, values and knowledges they had employed to respond to it. The second part of the project brought the ‘small people’ together in a day camp where they engaged with the ‘Pocket Kering Monster’. The children identified and shared their ‘superpowers’: the skills, values and knowledges they had used to shrink the monster when it had appeared in their lives. The third part was called ‘Operation M’ (for money). The children were employed to plan and run a small income-generating project using their superpowers. The final stage of the project entailed a definitional ceremony in which the stories of the children were told and retold, and their preferred identities were acknowledged by an audience of community members and parents. The paper concludes with critical reflections on the project, including considerations of power and privilege.

1,971 Comments

  1. Hello:

    This is Andrea from Toronto.

    I found particularly helpful the discussion in the FAQ around the use of metaphors of conflict and combat. I expect to be working in healthcare settings with critically ill patients and their loved ones (mostly children and parents), and I anticipate hearing them use these kinds of combative metaphors during our conversations. I also anticipate meeting many people who are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from “fighting” these problems. I appreciated the comments in the FAQ about combative metaphors, and the suggestions around exploring other kinds of metaphors which may be less conflict-laden and draining on their emotional resources. Thanks again for making this material available!

  2. I have started to use collaboration with clients when I am asked to write a report. I ask clients what they see as the areas of change and challenge of which they want others to be aware. I also at times share my report with the client first to be sure it accurately reflects their experience. In this way they are both acknowledging their ongoing journey and being acknowledged for the work they have done.

  3. Mike here, in London. I too was interested in “We were unwittingly adjusting people to poverty or other forms of injustice by addressing their symptoms, without affecting broader social and structural change.” It’s a really difficult question. I was involved for about 10 years in working with people suffering from homelessness. Sue Mann’s story really rang true for me. One thing I was involved in was a choir for marginalised people, literally helping them find their voices. That, I felt, was useful, and collaborative. But I have always been suspicious of things like distributing left-over sandwiches to people sleeping rough on the street, as if that made it OK for them to be there as long as we give them some stale sandwiches. Or giving them tents or sleeping bags. What message does it send? Even though it may be well-meaning.

  4. Hi, I’m Mike. I work as a couples counsellor in London, England. My main training was 50% psychodynamic and 50% systemic. Narrative work was touched on briefly, for one module, and I am looking forward to learning more. Couples certainly do bring stories, often rather thin stories. “My partner is selfish.” Or “My partner had an affair”. Full stop. That’s all there is to know. Even in happy couples, people seem to get shaped into rather thin roles: this partner is the one who’s good with people, that partner is the one who’s good with money, this one cooks, that one drives. If the relationship ends, they may discover, actually *I* also can drive, cook, manage my money, make friends, I am a complete person.

  5. I think it will be an important part of my practice to investigate with clients which elements of our systems (social, cultural, political, economic) that are contributing to or mitigating their problems and suffering. I was particularly struck by the following sentence from the Just Therapy article: “We were unwittingly adjusting people to poverty or other forms of injustice by addressing their symptoms, without affecting broader social and structural change.” I think it is incumbent upon those of us in helping professions to work with the people we are helping to begin addressing the systemic issues that are contributing to (or creating) their problems. Otherwise, we may fall into this trap of “adjusting people to injustice.”

  6. Hello! My name is Andrea and I am a Masters student in a spiritual care program located in Toronto.

    After reviewing this chapter, I’m reflecting upon the question that was raised: “how do we respond to grief when that grief has been caused by injustice?” and thinking about it in the context of working with seriously ill children and their families in a hospital/hospice setting. Patients and families in that setting also face grief that has been caused by injustice (in the form of incurable illness), and I see how the narrative metaphor can be used to help those families begin to reclaim their own lives in the face of tremendous loss caused by uncontrollable circumstances. I can see how the Articles of the Narrative Therapy Charter of Story-Telling Rights would be tremendously helpful when working with patients and families as a framework for telling and receiving their stories about their lives and their problems.

    For me, the material in this chapter also raises the question of how we can help to facilitate healing in a world where systems are seemingly becoming more unjust and creating deep suffering. My initial thought is that we continue to listen to each other’s stories with deep compassion, and the teachings of this course will help to provide us with new ideas and skills on how to do this.

  7. Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk was incredible. The one line where she said “a single story creates a stereotype. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete”. This blew my mind. I am ashamed to have ever participated in the single story belief of anyone let alone whole cultures, communities and countries , continents and so on. I know that moving forward I will endeavour to hear more stories and to encourage others to tell their story. I am about to run a photovoice narrative project to do just this, give a whole community the opportunity to change their stereotype.

  8. “Narrative therapy doesn’t believe in a ‘whole self’ which needs to be integrated but rather that our identities are made up of many stories, and that these stories are constantly changing.”

    I like this, I find it very compatible with my beliefs as a Buddhist. In Buddhism, as I understand it, mistaken beliefs about a solid, fixed “self” are the source of our suffering.

    I work with couples using EFT for couples, and in that approach, there is a big emphasis on externalising the problem as “the cycle that you get trapped in”, and encouraging couples to come up with their own name for it.

  9. Thank you for this. I am a counsellor, and trying to make as much as possible of my notes “in quotes”, that is, writing down things that the clients said. And not my own opinions.

  10. hello

    I the ED of a Friendship Center in Terrace, BC where were mostly target the indigenous population in our city of 12,000. I found your video interesting and something that we may want to try. Havee you been able to to do any follow ups studies to gage the long term effect of your program?

    Regards

    Cal Albright
    ED
    Kermode Friendship Center
    http://www.keremodefriendship.ca
    Terrace, BC
    Canada

    • Hi Cal, thanks for the interest. At this point the only followup has been through conversations with with people who return to volunteer on additional walks or engage with our other programs.

      However, a group of fourth year medical students at a local university have offered to run a pre and post measured study / report in 2020 as part of their studies which should be interesting.

      Let me know if you would like more information.

      CD

  11. Thank you for this overview of Narrative Therapy. I am returning to practice after some time away, and these reminders are timely and appreciated.

  12. Hi Chris

    I really enjoyed watching your video about Narrative Walks. My project is based in Blaenau Gwent, in South Wales, Uk. I’m wondering whether I might use such an approach in my work with our Youth Service, who support young people between the ages of 11 and 25. Have you any thoughts on this? Are there any resources available, either free or to purchase?

    Best wishes

    Paul

    • Hi Paul, m

      Much of my early attempts of the program were with the 15-20 year old age bracket and I found it worked really well. When I recently had an opportunity to run the program again with this age bracket – I extended the finish time so that could spend more time at the stop points and have a fire at the last resting place to talk about our intentions after the walk. This meant that we used head torches for the 2km which added a bit of a sense of theatre to the day. It was pretty cool.

      If you email me on hello@embarkpsych.com I can send you the manual. Or ask any other questions via this page so others might share in the answers.

      CD

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