Moving beyond the single story: using a double-storied assessment tool in narrative practice — Jake Peterson


This paper explores the danger of a single story in traditional mental health assessments, and presents an alternative assessment tool that seeks to contribute to rich story development while satisfying organisational requirements. This double-storied assessment tool elicits stories of strength and hope alongside stories of difficulty. The paper draws on the maps of narrative practice and discusses six aspects of the assessment tool: structuring safety, externalising conversations, re-membering conversations, unique outcomes, deconstruction and documentation. Transcripts from case examples are used to demonstrate the use of the assessment tool. The tool can be used by narrative practitioners and other mental health professionals who are required to administer assessments and wish to resist pathologising approaches and to invite practices of accountability into their work.