Working with People Who Are Suffering the Consequences of Multiple Trauma: A Narrative Perspective— Michael White


In October 2003, Michael White gave a presentation at the Treatment & Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture and Trauma (TRC) in Ramallah, Palestine. In consultation with those present, it was decided that it would be helpful to have this presentation recorded, transcribed, edited and then translated into Arabic to be made available to other Arabic-speaking workers in Palestine and elsewhere. The paper published here was created for this purpose. In doing this, we realised that it was a paper that would be of value to a wider readership and so have included it here. Jane Hales transcribed an audiotape of the presentation and David Denborough assisted in bringing this piece to its current form.

The paper places an emphasis on the priority given to the redevelopment and reinvigoration of a ‘sense of myself’ in working with people who have been subject to trauma. It describes how this can be achieved through the use of definitional ceremony structures, outsider-witness practices and re-authoring conversations. The last section of the paper discusses the work of memory theorists and its relevance to work with people who have experienced trauma. More particularly it proposes that, in order to re-associate dissociated memory, we must first enable a revitalisation of the ‘sense of myself’.