outsider witnessing

Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in | 0 comments

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  • Linking Families Together: Narrative Conversations with Children, Adolescents, and Their Families— Jodi Aman

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    This paper explores ways of responding to the problems children and adolescents face in ways that include and honour the contributions of other family members. For example, parents and care-givers can be enlisted to help with scaffolding and outsiderwitnessing, as well as providing what the author refers to as ‘comemories’. The paper also discusses specific ways of working with children, such as keeping therapeutic conversations fun, regarding children as ‘story listeners’, opening space for conversations about difficult problems, and using therapeutic documents. How these considerations are put into practice is then documented in three accounts of working with children and adolescents on issues of anxiety, the death of a pet, and a parent’s diagnosis of cancer.

  • The ‘Bellayla’ Project – bringing storylines of identity into relationships of harmony— Peter Bourke

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    This paper shares the journey of the ‘Bellayla Project’, a co-research initiative between the author and two young people, Bella and Tayla. It describes how engagement in this project enabled second-story development in the lives of these two young people. It also conveys what becomes possible for young people when they are invited into a space of critical thinking, collective inquiry, and sharing knowledge about ‘problems’.

  • Privileging Insider-knowledges in the World of Autism— Courtney Olinger

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    Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) continue to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States of America suggested in 2007 that 1 in 150 eight-year-olds in the US has autism. In 2009 the CDC prevalence rose to 1 in 110. With the rising number of diagnoses, more families are impacted. Unfortunately, discourses surrounding ASD often present limited views and ways of working with these families. Using narrative practices, insider-knowledges can be privileged and guide professionals. This article presents ways that service providers can incorporate outsider-witnessing to elevate parents to ‘expert’ status, involve parents’ voices, and promote agency. It also includes a collective document of parents’ insider-knowledges which can be circulated to inform professionals and parents about the experiences of autism.

  • Responding to children in situations of family violence: Narrative therapy group work with children— Jocelyn Lee

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    This paper discusses a practice innovation: a two-day, one-night group work process conducted with children who lived in households that use violence. The author developed the ‘My Happy Ending’ group work using narrative therapy principles and practices to respond to children in situations of family violence. The children were clients consulting with social workers or counsellors within the social service agency the author works in, Tampines Family Service Center in Singapore. As part of the practice innovation, the author created an original group work curriculum, consisting of the performance and narration of an original fictional story, and several play- and art-based activities. The purpose was to decrease the influence of family violence in the children’s lives and to increase their personal agency in dealing with it, using key narrative therapy practices. These narrative practices included externalisation of the problem, using metaphors, increasing people’s sense of personal agency, scaffolding preferred stories and identities, de-constructing discourses, outsider-witnessing, definitional ceremonies and creating collective documents. Narrative therapy practices were found to be helpful for enhancing children’s sense of agency and diminishing the influence of past and ongoing experiences of family violence and other difficulties faced in their daily lives.

  • The Circle: A narrative group therapy approach— Mike Mertz

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    This article describes ‘Circle’, a narrative group therapy approach used in a high-level residential treatment facility for young people involved in the child welfare, juvenile justice, or mental health systems. Most of the young people engaged in Circle have survived significant physical or sexual abuse or neglect and have been viewed, by others and themselves, as ‘severely emotionally disturbed’ or ‘dysfunctional’. Circle is intended to provide a space and opportunity for these young people to build a community of concern, and to identify and embrace preferred identities and directions for their lives. The work progresses through the following three stages: stage one – identifying what the young people give value to, exploring their preferred directions in life, and externalising problems; stage two – taking a stand for what the young people hold as important, negotiating their relationships with problems, and thickening the subordinate storylines of their lives; and stage three – stepping into preferred identities. Three exercises also are provided as illustrations of work completed in each stage of Circle.

  • Weaving networks of hope with families, practitioners and communities: Inspirations from systemic and narrative approaches— Glenda Fredman

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    Over the last decade, inspired by systemic family therapy and narrative approaches, Glenda and her teams in the UK have found ways to bring families, practitioners and communities together to respond to medical, mental health and social care crises. This work has taken place with children, adolescents, older people and people affected by intellectual disability and their families. This paper shares an inspiring story of this work and describes ways of ‘conducting’ and ‘weaving’ networks of hope.

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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