Putting down the burden: Outsider-witness practices, a family and HIV/AIDS— Lauri Appelbaum

Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in | 0 comments

Putting down the burden: Outsider-witness practices, a family and HIV/AIDS— Lauri Appelbaum

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The narrative therapy practice of de nitional ceremony and outsider witnessing can create spaces for people and communities to move through dominant problem stories to new, richer stories of hope and connection. This paper looked at the use of outsider witnessing in a new setting, with a long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS, and his family. This paper introduces David, his history of experiences with HIV/AIDS stigma, trauma, and homophobia, and his current struggles in his relationships with his family. The outsider- witness experience with David and his family is described, with detailed re-authorising conversations between me, David, and his family. Outsider-witnessing practices provided David and his family a way to move through dominant stories of stigma, shame, and disconnection, to richer stories of love, connection and commitment to one another. The paper discusses recommendations and ideas for re-creating these experiences with other long-term survivors, in community and in partnership with AIDS service organisations. The paper concludes with reflections.

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