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Responding to children in situations of family violence: Narrative therapy group work with children— Jocelyn Lee

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Responding to children in situations of family violence: Narrative therapy group work with children— Jocelyn Lee

$9.90

This paper discusses a practice innovation: a two-day, one-night group work process conducted with children who lived in households that use violence. The author developed the ‘My Happy Ending’ group work using narrative therapy principles and practices to respond to children in situations of family violence. The children were clients consulting with social workers or counsellors within the social service agency the author works in, Tampines Family Service Center in Singapore. As part of the practice innovation, the author created an original group work curriculum, consisting of the performance and narration of an original fictional story, and several play- and art-based activities. The purpose was to decrease the influence of family violence in the children’s lives and to increase their personal agency in dealing with it, using key narrative therapy practices. These narrative practices included externalisation of the problem, using metaphors, increasing people’s sense of personal agency, scaffolding preferred stories and identities, de-constructing discourses, outsider-witnessing, definitional ceremonies and creating collective documents. Narrative therapy practices were found to be helpful for enhancing children’s sense of agency and diminishing the influence of past and ongoing experiences of family violence and other difficulties faced in their daily lives.

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