Shame Fighters Anonymous: Co-created narrative documents in place of group therapy— Julia Gerlitz


This article describes an innovative use of narrative documents in which members of a project called Shame Fighters Anonymous (SFA) wrote about being sexually abused/assaulted and how they were combating the resulting shame. Their writing was compiled into booklets and shared with other group members. This use of narrative documents enabled SFA members to join a shared conversation without having to meet in person and it took the place of a more traditional ‘group therapy’ approach. To demonstrate the unique outcomes SFA members experienced, direct quotes are shared from the participants’ writing and from a group interview transcript in which participants reflected upon their involvement with this project. The narrative therapy principles of pain as testimony, legacy, and contribution through hardship, as well as the feminist principle of the personal is political, are presented as the theoretical backbone of this project. The article concludes by laying out the steps required for recreating this project and it invites readers to try this innovative use of narrative documents in place of group therapy in their own work context.