In this Salon, Charley Lang interviewed Barbara Herring (“B”) with two new members of our narrative community, Tanya Barr and Eric Katende, both black clinicians and recent graduates of Antioch University. Tanya, Eric and B spoke to both the challenges and the hopes experienced as black students, community members and therapists in a very white world. After small groups met, Tanya, Eric and B then selected participants’ questions to respond to in an engaged collaborative conversation.
June 20, 2021 Collab Salon: Reports from the LAB: Stories from youth dealing with homelessness at a community-arts center
Established in 2002, Le LAB is an endeavour of the CIPTO* in Gatineau, Quebec, dedicated to making arts and creative expression accessible to all. We focus on people at-risk of living or already living with challenges related to substance use, homelessness and social exclusion. The presentation will focus on the experience using storytelling in order to cultivate connection and empowerment within the activities of the LAB over the last year.
January 17, 2021 Collab Salon: Re-authoring Confinement: Creating a Collaboratory During the Pandemic
Around the world, Covid-19 profoundly impacts our everyday lives. As narrative practitioners we are trained to double-listen to problems, to pay close attention to the suffering as well as to initiatives and events that might not be predicted by the problematic stories. What are some of the sparkling moments where the dominance of the pandemic problem disappears? Please join us as we begin our new year with a range of contributors sharing experiences and the joy of collaborative projects across the world: making poetry and art, creating Covid inspired music, learning from Community gatherings and from our children.
February 21, 2021 Collab Salon: Community-based Practices as Response to Earth’s Environmental Crisis and Opportunity
The environmental crisis is increasingly showing up in our neighbourhoods through severe weather events, struggling ecosystems, and the coronavirus pandemic. How can we, as narrative therapists, offer pathways for coming into relationship with these escalating risks in ways that are not overwhelming nor lead to despair? How might we contribute beyond individualised models that leave far too many people without care for their collective challenges? How do we show up in solidarity with those who recognise the potential for a great breakthrough towards environmental and social justice? Narrative therapy has a rich lore of collective practice that has evolved beyond the office, which can be valuable in this context. Merle and Jenny will share collective initiatives in diverse settings in response to Earth’s environmental crisis and opportunity, followed by a conversation to explore possibilities and potential for our narrative therapy community.
April 18 2021 Collab Salon: Individuals in Competition or Communities in Connection? Narrative Therapy in the Era of Neoliberalism
Even though the term “neoliberalism” often elicits eye rolls or glazed expressions, we use it because it is the most comprehensive label we have found for the dominant discourse shaping political and economic reality in the ‘developed world’ during the last 40 years. The neoliberal worldview treats monetary return on investment as the most highly valued measure of success, and it conceptualizes each of us as an entrepreneur in the world in competition with every other person; each of us as a tiny corporation. The metaphors of neoliberalism pull us away from any focus on community, collaboration, or caring for each other’s welfare. They invite us to focus on individuals, and away from social and cultural pressures. Instead of ‘unreasonable workload’, neoliberalism wants us to see ‘poor stress management’. Instead of ‘fear and worry due to financial insecurity’, it suggests we see ‘depression’. If we are to help people escape the constraints of neoliberalism, we must understand enough of how it has been constructed that we can expose its workings. This salon will provide an opportunity for the critical reflection that is necessary if we are to help people who consult with us see through the webs of neoliberal discourse and perceive possibilities for community, connection, and mutual caretaking.
The international development of the narrative approach has allowed narrative ideas to inspire interventions in a wide range of areas. In particular, over the last 15 years or so, these ideas have been transposed into the world of business and organizations. Narrative coaches offer to accompany managers, teams and all working communities in exploring the meaning of their work and how the dominant economic discourses create or reinforce situations of power and privilege in the companies. One of the most sensitive areas of this new field of action for narrative ideas is the accompaniment of suffering communities, either through psychosocial risks, burnout, bore-out, or even « return-out » (since the lockdown). There is a particular circumstance where they are very relevant: in those very frequent tragedies that are suicides in the workplace. Beyond this Collab salon, several projects are envisaged: setting up a Consulting Group to deepen all these subjects and bring concrete tools to all international colleagues interested