Michael White loved to be in the company of children, and his work with children was filled with beauty, laughter and intrigue. He often spoke about the extreme importance of finding ways for children and families to address trauma. He received many referrals of children in child protection services as well as with larger systems such as Aboriginal communities impacted by suicide. In Africa, he met with over 60 agencies providing services to children impacted by AIDS epidemic. Since Michael’s passing in 2008, a number of initiatives have emerged and/or strengthened their narrative approach to working with children and their families. What contribution would you like to make to this tapestry of narrative initiatives with children, their families and their communities?
The Ummeed Child Development Center
The Ummeed Child Development Center (Mumbai India) provides specialized care for most developmental disabilities and has moved into areas of training, research and advocacy. It is now one of the country’s leading NGOs, much respected for its work in the field of children with disabilities.
The idea of Ummeed was born while Dr. Vibha Krishnamurthy was working at Children’s Hospital in Boston as a Developmental Pediatrician. The resources available at the hospital and community there brought home to her the paucity of facilities available for children with developmental disabilities in India.
The Ummeed Training Center offers a year-long Mental Health Training Program that builds on narrative ideas and practices.
Narrative Therapy, Which Aims To Empower The Patient With Self-Generated Coping Skills Inspired By Fables, Is Finding Eager Practitioners At NGO Ummeed Child Development Center
Crafting Another Narrative
The Room Full of Stories narrative therapy conference in Mumbai (October 2016), the first in the country, draws focus on how children with special needs can benefit from it.
Journey of Metaphors and Metamorphosis
Aileen de Souza discusses applying Narrative as a psychologist at the Sethu Center for Child Development and Family Guidance in Goa, India for her final presentation of Ummeed Child Development Center’s year-long Mental Health Training Program in Narrative Therapy.
Please refer to the section Counseling in a Range of Contexts for glimpses into the Ummeed Child Development Center’s year long Mental Health Training Program, and emerging narrative practices in India.
Narrative Therapy in Wonderland: Connecting with Children’s Imaginative Know-How
Laurie Markham & David Marsten share some of what excites them about this book, which they co-authored with David Epston. W. W. Norton. For further information, click here.
An encyclopedia of young people’s knowledge and life-saving tips
How we overcome bullying, survive the ocean of depression, try not to take people’s hate into our hearts, and much more!
This ‘book of knowledge’ brings together important tips from young people about ways of tackling problems, overcoming bullying, surviving the ocean of depression, and much more! …
You will find in these pages survival strategies for when life is full of dramas, special skills in not taking people’s hate into your heart, and stories about what young people have learnt from journeys they have undertaken.
This encyclopedia contains knowledge and philosophies of students from primary schools, high schools and universities. It includes stories from young people from many different worlds.
Dulwich Centre Collective Project
Using Narrative ideas to support families where a loved father has been violent towards his female partner and continues to live at home at the request of his children by Carolyn Markey
Apart from swimming with her Border Collie and being a taxi for young people who live with her, Carolyn’s working life is primarily with children. Having been taught by Michael White in the early 90’s, Carolyn now practices Narrative therapy as a school counsellor in a co-eduational school in Adelaide and in an NGO, Uniting communities within a family counselling team who work primarily with those affected by violence. She is also a senior teacher of the Dulwich Teaching Faculty.
This piece of Narrative therapeutic and group work describes some recent consultations she had with a mother and her two daughters traumatically affected by their loved father’s and partner’s violence. This occurred at Uniting Communities.
Beads of Life – a narrative therapy group for children who have been diagnosed with a medical condition by Sara Portnoy
‘Beads of Life’ group uses narrative therapy principles to help young people with a diagnosis of Cancer to tell the many stories in their lives in ways which make them stronger. The video describes a one day workshop that is run at University College Hospital, in London where beads are used as ‘hooks’ that the young people can hang their stories on. In the morning the young people choose different beads to represent the many different stories in their lives related to their skills and abilities, where they are from, how they spend their time, the important people in their lives and their hopes and dreams. Having spent the morning ensuring that the young people are in ‘a safe place to stand’ the afternoon is spent addressing their stories around Cancer and weaving these stories into the many other stories in their lives. Outsider witnessing, Externalising, creating therapeutic documents of the young people’s preferred identity stories and creating a community practices are part of the day.
Although at UCH this approach has been used with young people with a diagnosis of cancer it could be used with young people where any difficult story is dominating their lives. ‘The Beads of Life’ has also been adapted to work with young people individually.
Navigating relationships when our children are in out of home care: A narrative therapy group for parents whose lives are affected by child protection intervention and the removal of their children by Lauren Graham
Lauren describes a narrative informed group she developed and conducted for parents whose children are in care, and the ripple effects of linking communities through the sharing of stories and documents initially generated through the group. This initiative is linked to the work of a local action group in which Lauren is a member, in partnership with parents, which helps raise awareness and promotes strategies for family inclusion. Her work with this community continues and the themes of the group and stories generated continue to be shared, helping to make visible the skills and knowledge of parents on this journey, including the ways in which they resist the effects and find ways to sustain themselves. As an identity project, this has helped open up opportunities for parents to address the concerns that required child protection intervention.