Explorations with the written word in an inpatient mental health unit for young people— David Newman


In this paper David discusses the concept of the spoken word being ‘relatively unavailable’ to the people he works with at a Sydney based psychiatric unit for young people. He discusses some of his use of the written word in responding to this relative unavailability. This includes some fine tuning of the use of the written word by considering; language use that minimises the risk of people rejecting themselves, utilising the concept of people ‘getting their language through the language of others’, ways to use Michael White and David Epston’s concept of ‘failure proofing’ questions and crafting questions that come out of the dilemmas of therapeutic work. Finally, the ethics of documenting and living documentation more particularly is discussed.