Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in | 0 comments

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  • My Practice as Described by Those Who Consult Me— Marit E. Løkken


    Clients’ experiences of conversations with therapists is a crucial issue, but one that is often not directly researched. Marit Løkken embarked on a research project that involved not only asking her clients about their experiences of therapy, but also involved developing the research project, and the questions asked, in consultation with those clients. This article describes this process, includes examples of some of the responses, and includes an interview structured as a definitional ceremony to record her reflections on these responses.

  • Decolonising research: an interview with Bagele Chilisa —David Denborough


    In this interview, Motswana postcolonial scholar Professor Bagele Chilisa discusses
    strategies for decolonising research, resisting the domination of Western knowledge,
    working with Indigenous worldviews, and introducing accountability and collaboration
    with people and communities who are the subjects of research. This piece has been created from two sources – a conversation between Bagele Chilisa, Cheryl White and David Denborough that took place in Gaborone, Botswana on 23 August 2018 and Bagele’s keynote presentation, Equality in diversity: Indigenous research methodologies, at the 2015 American Indigenous Research Association Conference.

  • A Service-user and Therapist Reflect on Context, Difference, and Dialogue in a Therapy for Anorexia— Tracy Craggs and Alex Reed


    This article was co-authored by the participants in a therapeutic process which occurred within a specialist eating disorders service in a hospital setting. One of us was seeking assistance in their struggle with anorexia, and the other was a therapist working in this field. In addition to our encounters in the therapy process, we share in common a background in research and an orientation towards postmodern research methodologies. We became interested in how this shared research interest might provide an additional resource towards creating new knowledges and change. Through a process of shared inquiry, we sought to explore, from our different positions, the therapeutic process that we were engaged in by attending to the different narratives that shaped our experiences, understandings and actions. In particular, the influence of the clinical context on our respective experiences of the therapeutic process was examined. Some tentative reflections are offered regarding the potentially fruitful inter-relationship between therapy and research activities, and the transformative potential of this kind of shared inquiry.

  • Talking about the DSM-V— Tom Strong


    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition;DSM-V) is nearing publication, despite considerable controversies over its development. In this paper I provide a critical historical review of developments associated with the DSM-V, particularly as these developments relate to the practices of narrative and other constructionist practitioners. I relate the findings of recently completed research in which practitioners shared how they responded to the influence of the current DSM-IV-TR on their conversations with clients, along with ways they creatively responded to that influence. I close with suggestions for practitioners who live with administrative expectations that they use DSM-V diagnoses in their conversational work. This article is based on a paper presented to the Therapeutic Conversations X Conference, Vancouver, Canada May 12, 2012. 

  • Independence and Local Knowledge: The Work of East Timor Insight— Kiera Zen


    This interview with Kiera Zen describes the philosophy and work of East Timor Insight. Emphasising the significance of honouring and building upon East Timorese local knowledge and skills, this organisation is proposing alterative models of research, education and community development. The interviewer took place in Dili, East Timor, in March 2006. The interviewers were Cheryl White and David Denborough.

  • Using a Narrative Approach of Double-listening in Research Contexts— Jay Marlowe


    This paper introduces the process of using the narrative principles of double-listening and double-storied testimony as an approach to conducting research with Sudanese men who have resettled in Australia. It highlights the value of documenting not only the trauma story but also a person’s response to it. While double-listening has been used in professional practice and community engagements, this approach also offers a valuable insight into how research can be conducted in respectful and resonant ways that create safer spaces to engage people’s lived experiences.

  • Externalising Questions: A Micro-analytic Look at Their Use in Narrative Therapy— Tom Strong


    This paper examines the narrative therapy practice of asking and answering externalisation questions. It looks at some of theoretical and clinical literature related to the use of these questions and then turns a micro-dynamic look at some examples of how such questions were asked and answered in the course of therapeutic dialogue. The focus is on learning from these analyses to enhance therapists’ ability to engage clients in collaborative and resourceful externalising conversations.

  • Protection, collaboration and action: Research and power— An interview with Anita Franklin


    Anita Franklin teaches community workers at Sheffield University in the UK. This interview about research and power was conducted by David Denborough.

  • The Getting of Wisdoms— Cate Ingram & Amaryll Perlesz


    An action research project was conducted by a public family therapy agency, in Melbourne, Australia, to investigate the impact of the writing of client stories and the subsequent reading of these stories to others in similar circumstances. This paper describes some of the effects this process had on individuals and families who authored their ‘Wisdom Narratives’ in the hope of inspiring and supporting others. Going through the process of putting their story/struggle into words on paper enabled people to recognise their own agency and influence, while reading stories out loud back to the author engendered self-compassion. In conclusion, the creative process of penning narratives of change might now be considered as having an important impact in generating self-worth and sense of agency.

  • From Narrative Practice in Counselling to Narrative Practice in Research: A Professional Identity Story— Kathie Crocket


    This article describes particular practices, learned in and for my work as a counsellor, which I called on as I produced myself as a researcher in undertaking a doctoral study. Both copying and originating, I wove into my research practice knowledges familiar to me from counselling practice. My account of becoming a researcher is a story of professional identity: it was my wish to practice research in ways that were congruent with the values that informed my counselling work. In this article, I describe how narrative ideas of storying, of constructing a club of one’s life, of migration of identity, were all useful tools to me as I learned and theorised and generated new practices in research. I show, too, some ways in which I grappled with interpreting the practice-research relation.

  • Decentring Research Practice— Andrew Tootell


    This article presents a brief account of one therapist’s journey to develop a research approach that was consistent with their values and practice as a therapist. This journey led to the development of a ‘De-centred research practice’ based upon an ethic of collaboration and equity, which seeks to document the ‘local’ skills and knowledge of the research participants.

  • Working for Ethical Research in Practice— Kathie Crocket, Wendy Drewery, Wally McKenzie, Lorraine Smith, John Winslade


    As counsellor educators, therapists, and researchers practising from social constructionist understandings within a university context, we are called frequently to think about the interrelationships between practice and research. In this paper, we suggest that as practices, research and therapy have much in common. Furthermore, we explore the possibilities that are created when both therapy and research are considered to be ethical relational practices.


  1. I’m Clayre Sessoms from Vancouver, BC, Canada, traditionally known as Coast Salish Territories. I acknowledge that my work takes place on the ancestral, unceded, and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Nations of the Coast Salish People whose relationship with the land is ancient, primary, and enduring. I’m an uninvited settler in what is colonially known as Vancouver. Because my place of work is on stolen land I commit to support a reconciliation, which includes reparations and the return of land. Here I study counselling psychology and art therapy, and I get to incorporate narrative therapy at my practicum placement, a site that provides free counselling services for LGBTQ2S individuals.

    These materials help me to begin to wrap my head around the complexities of narrative therapy. I especially enjoyed learning about how others have used narrative therapy in practical counselling settings.

    I’m moved by how we often tend to hear, accept, or retell the thinnest stories of our lives and the lives of others. I imagine that not valuing the richness of an individual’s diverse range of stories, perhaps, it has been much easier to cling to tired old preconceived notions about others, which can cause undue harm.

    I’m left thinking about the TEDTalk by Chimamanda Adichie about the dangers of accepting a singular story of someone else, rather than leaning in and committing to understand the wholeness of that person’s narrative.

    I look forward to continuing to learn. Thank you to The Dulwich Centre for providing this accessible forum. <3

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!