The dialectical narrative inquiry: Responses to Ambivalence and Insensitivity— Grant Thomas Ryan


This paper describes the application of the dialectical narrative inquiry, a therapeutic approach that incorporates phenomenology and narrative inquiry within narrative practices in order to elicit double-storied accounts of people’s lives. I describe this approach through my work with Sarah, a 28-year-old university student who had been experiencing difficulties in her interpersonal relationships. Sarah and I were able to develop her personal dialectic, chart her landscapes through re-authoring questions, and clarify her positions regarding her problematic and preferred responses to experiences of ‘Ambivalence and Insensitivity’. Through the use of macro-scaffolding over subsequent sessions, Sarah and I were able to identify her personal values and her hopes and intentions for the future. We also identified specific barriers to enacting these preferences, and personal skills and knowledges that she would be able to draw on in order to move towards her hopes and intentions for the future.