youth work

Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in | 0 comments

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  • Thinking Queerly about Narrative-Informed Organisational Development: A conversation with Janet Bystrom, founder of RECLAIM— An interview with Julie Tilsen

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    Maintaining a narrative practice within conventional organisational structures that are informed by modernist and medicalised ideas of identity, professional expertise and ethics can present a variety of challenges. In some contexts, governmental regulations and market-based funding directly affect the practices of service providers by imposing regulations and limits that stand in opposition to the relational intentions of narrative practice. This is particularly true for narrative practitioners who work alongside marginalised communities with intentions of doing justice. One organisation, RECLAIM, in St Paul, Minnesota, USA, is striving to meet this challenge. RECLAIM is building a community organisation that serves queer and transgender young people. Julie Tilsen (co-editor of this issue) sat down with RECLAIM’s founder, Janet Bystrom, to learn how, as an organisation, RECLAIM aspires to embody narrative practices and principles, not only in the therapy room, but also in its policies, procedures and everyday organisational practices.

2,021 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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