The Garden Metaphor by Beata Mukarusanga

In this week’s Friday Afternoon Video, Beata Mukarusanga speaks about the use of gardening metaphors in work with adults and young people in Rwanda. As she discusses, many Rwandans have experiences of farming and gardening and readily took up gardening metaphors to reflect on their experiences, developing ideas like the need to ‘weed’ unhelpful influences, protect themselves from ‘pests’ and keep their preferred values and skills well ‘watered’. Using this culturally resonant language allowed for a move away from Western ways of understanding to elicit and value local knowledges and cultural practices, including exploration of the ways in which expert knowledge about tending crops could be applied to the care of children. In this way, the use of gardening metaphors contributed to decolonising therapeutic practices.

Author biography
I am Beata Mukarusanga, Rwandese, Trainer, Narrative Therapist and Clinical Supervisor. I have worked in the domain of mental health as a psychologist for 9 years, heading the department of Clinical Psychology in the National referral neuropsychiatric Hospital.

My academic training is in Clinical Psychology (2000-2004), and I hold a Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work (MNTCW), a joint program of the University of Melbourne and Dulwich Centre, Australia (2018-2019). I also have post-graduate certificates in Professional Counselling and Psychodrama for Children (Alfred Adler Institute of Individual Psychology of Torino). In addition, I am a trainer in Systemic and Narrative supervision after a 2-year diploma course (2018-2019).

My domains of interests include HIV counselling, individual and group interventions for people with drug misuse, and PTSD complexities, child development and parenting skills training, children and adult psychotherapy both in individual and group settings, trainings for caregivers in child care and protection, and clinical supervision for managers and health/social work professionals. 


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