outsider-witness practices

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in | 0 comments

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  • Conversations with Divorced Parents: Disarming the Conflict and Developing Skills of Collaboration— Anne Kathrine Løge

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    Parents who have divorced often experience conflict-saturated accounts of each other and their relationship. This paper shares some narrative approaches which seek to help divorced parents ‘disarm the conflict’ and develop skills of collaboration. This work involves exploring each parent’s preferred values and purposes with linguagrams, inviting divorced parents to act as outsider witnesses for each other, and inviting in other divorced parents to act as outsider witnesses for the parents seeking therapy.

  • ‘A Different Story’: Narrative Group Therapy in a Psychiatric Day Centre— Ron Nasim

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    This paper describes a narrative group therapy model applied in a psychiatric day centre. The group was conceived as a form of definitional ceremony, in which a participant is invited to share an account of a unique outcome that happened to them recently, while the other members serve as outsider witnesses to this development. A detailed example of a therapeutic conversation about depression, and the outsider witness group’s responses, shows how these generative conversations can be held in a psychiatric setting. A second example of this work details how outsider witness group reflections can be used to form the basis of an alternative kind of ‘discharge letter’. Finally, the paper discusses significant dilemmas arising from the work, including how to discern which subordinate story-lines to develop from the many entry points available.

  • 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.

  • ‘My story to be told’: Explorations in narrative documentation with people from refugee backgrounds— Chanelle Burns

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    This paper explores the use of narrative documentation in work with people from refugee backgrounds, specifically in contexts of responding to trauma. It recounts, through an in-depth case study, work with a man from Sierra Leone in which a number of documents were co-created, including letters, documents of skills and knowledge, and rescued speech poetry. Through the lens of narrative documentation, a number of narrative principles and practices are explored, including eliciting responses to trauma, scaffolding, externalising, re-authoring, and outsider-witnessing. This paper is the outcome of a project of co-research and offers insights into how the practice of narrative documentation might be used across language and culture.

  • Narrative Approaches in Centrelink: ‘It’s Those Turning Questions …’— Lesley Dalyell

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    This paper documents a narratively-based interview guide for social work assessments used in Centrelink, a major Australian government department. The questions used in the assessment are illustrated by examples from conversations with the young people and their parents consulting the service, as well as reflections from the team of social workers who trialled the interview guide. The paper shows how working within existing governmental frameworks can still lead to conversations with clients that are respectful, generative, and hopeful.

  • Outsider-witness practices and group supervision— Hugh Fox, Cathy Tench and Marie

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    This paper describes the work of a ‘narrative supervision group’ organised and run in Sheffield, UK. It conveys how the work of supervision reached out of the room in which the group met and touched the lives of the people who were at the centre of the discussions. In doing so, this paper illustrates a possible model for the use of outsider-witness practices in group supervision.

  • Outsider-witness Practices in Developing Community with Women Who Have Experienced Child Sexual Assault— Michelle Fraser

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    The West Street Centre is a community-based service for women and young people who have experienced child sexual assault. As a feminist service we are interested in addressing the issue of child sexual assault in forums beyond the therapy room and therapeutic group programs. As such, we have been committed to finding ways to strengthen the community of women who use our service, as well as the women who work to respond to this issue in the community. Narrative outsider witness practices and a number of other key feminist community development ideas have provided a foundation for the organisation of two community forum days over the last two years. This paper describes these community days and the thinking that informed them.

  • The stories we need to tell: Using online outsider-witness processes and digital storytelling in a remote Australian Aboriginal community— Clare Wood, Mercy Fredericks, Beth Neate and Doreen Unghango

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    This article outlines an innovative narrative therapy project in the remote Aboriginal community of Kalumburu, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The project was a collaboration between the Tramalla Strong Women’s group from Kalumburu community, and a narrative and community practitioner.

    The project incorporated digital storytelling in combination with narrative therapy practices to document and reclaim stories of survival and resilience to enable people to speak of future hopes and dreams. Narrative therapy practices such as re-authoring, rememembering, outsider witness process and definitional ceremonies provided the framework to unearth these stories. This article explores the ethical position underpinning the collaborative partnerships and how narrative therapy practices and digital storytelling practices were adapted in a rural and remote context. The project also outlines an experiment with an online outsider witnesses practice.

  • Troublemaker Cards: Promoting the language of responsibility and prevention in men’s domestic violence— Ryan Greenwell

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    This paper describes the use of Troublemaker Cards in men’s domestic violence behaviour change groups as an innovative approach to expose and challenge the dominant ways of being and thinking that support men’s violence and abuse towards women. While language that minimises men’s responsibility-taking for their actions is available and ubiquitous, the Troublemaker Cards offer an alternative, and promote the gendered and political understandings of violence and abuse in a respectful parallel journey of discovery. The externalising language used on the cards keeps the men’s identities separate from these discourses, and yet supports an attentiveness to their relationship with them. Guided by the cards in a ‘cool engagement’, the men are invited to explore and deconstruct the Troublemakers as well as build the foundations for second-story development. Evidence from practice suggests that once men experience this separation and foresee alternative territories to step into, they can better describe their relationship with the ‘Troublemakers’ in a ‘hot engagement’. In a context of accountability to women and children, the men create opportunities to propose how they will prevent potential future abuses and take action based on preferred relationships to the Troublemakers, such that they are not unwittingly reproducing dominant ways of being.

  • Stories from the Room of Many Colours: Ritual and Reclamation with People Wishing to Make Changes to Drug and Alcohol Use— Deidre Ikin

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    In this paper, Deidre Ikin describes her work in The Room of Many Colours, the location of group conversations with people migrating from a life dominated by alcohol and drugs. Drawing on some challenging therapeutic situations, Deidre first gives an account of using a definitional ceremony to respond to a particularly painful account of trauma near the end of one group meeting. She also describes the work of one woman in preparing the Rainbow document, an ‘insider’s’ guide for mothers and child protection workers to use in determining when conditions are right for children to return home. These practice-based accounts are followed by a discussion of ethics and orientation when working in relation to substance misuse and child protection.

1,959 Comments

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

  2. 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

  3. Thank you for sharing your insights. This has been very enlightening as a student studying post-grad social work. Recently my tutorial group was discussing how professionals often use their interpretation and that clients may not get to see how some professionals interpret their stories, in this way many things can be missed especially what the client sees as being important.

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