Irene (trauma survivor) and Christoffer Haugaard (psychologist) developed a practice of witnessing in relation to Irene’s alter ego in fictionalized life stories. This developed out of necessity in order to address an intensely traumatic life history and powerful identity conclusions that were out of reach for regular conversation. The approach that we developed used two essential survival strategies from Irene’s childhood: Her invention of an alter ego and her imagination of having an audience to the injustices in her life. Over time, these practices became the central structure of our collaboration. In this collab salon, Christoffer will describe this practice with examples and present Irene’s account of the effects.
In July 2020, the BIPOC narrative community was launched with the intention of providing narrative practitioners of color a supportive space to discuss “local” ideas, innovative practices, amplify one another’s work, and process their experiences. The community organizers also hoped to mentor and support newer narrative practitioners, and practitioners working in spaces that did not privilege narrative ideas or postmodern therapy practices. As the community enters its second year, planning committee members Ingrid, Candea, Shuo, and Akansha shared lessons learned and their hopes for how they envision the community will grow and be sustained in the future.
April 17, 2022 Collab Salon: Letter as Threshold: Inhabiting Metaphor in Narrative Letter Writing Practices
We live through the narrative metaphor, yet many of us as Narrative Therapists find ourselves lost when invitations to metaphor beckon at the edges of our therapeutic conversations. From the forgiving editorial space of Narrative letters, this presentation invites participants to identify, expand, and inhabit metaphor to externalize problems, develop unique outcomes, and recruit an appreciative audience. Akansha and Randy will share some of the metaphor-centered letters they’ve written and invite participants to begin exploring metaphor in text while collaboratively resisting the gravitational pull of Cleverness that sometimes keeps pen from paper.
What does it mean to “author your life?” Like all things, the phrase has no fixed meaning. It is just a collection of words. For us, the phrase takes us to the politics of meaning-making and calls into question who has the rights to claim authorship of anything. We stand in support of the idea that you have special authorship rights when it comes to whatever it is that matters to you, whether that is your personal identity, events that have taken place in your life, or a project that you are taking up and care about. Writing what you think and feel, and why, in your unique way is precious and no one has any right to demean or diminish it. No one else has a right to evaluate what you think or how you express it. They can share the effects that it has on them or take a different position, but they don’t get to cast judgement on the legitimacy of your position or the quality of your expression.
In this Collab, Sasha discussed some of what she has been learning since the law changed in Aotearoa and facilitated a conversation about narrative practices that might be helpful when a person is contemplating how they want to die. Sasha described some examples of conversations with people who: chose to die through assisted dying, who deteriorate suddenly before the assisted dying assessment process has been completed and with people who change their minds and opt to die with palliative care support only. There was an exchange with participants who had experience in this area of practice.
How can we develop working relationships across narrative generations to become mentors to each other? What are some of the fresh ideas and different nuances persons from different generations are adapting to narrative practices from their cultural and historical contexts? This gathering brings together two narrative practitioners in conversation across narrative generations. Akansha will interview Peggy Sax, a narrative therapist and Founder of Re-authoring Teaching and Trishala Kanakia, a fairly new narrative therapist and the Re-authoring Teaching Assistant. We hope to spark ideas about how narrative practices are being applied in diverse work contexts and also to highlight the fresh and different nuances each practitioner may bring in as they use the practices with their know-hows, wisdoms and adaptations.
What's getting in the way of curiosity these days? Justine D’Arrigo and Chris Hoff will explore the practice of Scenarios and how narrative practitioners can use Scenarios in the effort of reinvigorating curiosity and composition in their practices. Michael White (1997) wrote that when someone is considering entering some form of liminal space, like the co-creation of possible futures, that it is important to engage in some predictions of the experiences that one might expect in these efforts. We believe that White (1997) knew that the significant periods of confusion and disorientation, and at times despair and desperation that often accompany journeys into liminal space could shut down these efforts, and have these travelers turn back toward more familiar territories. We think one tool that can support a cultivated liminality and composition is the practice of Scenarios.
Tim Donovan (Alice Springs, Australia) and Dale Johns (California Gully, Victoria, Australia) will apply narrative therapy approaches to counselling people who have been subject to sexual violence. The session includes a specific account of Dale’s experiences of childhood sexual violence. What is presented will challenge some traditional ideas around sexual assault counselling. There will be an opportunity to explore your beliefs around vulnerability and shame in your own work.
Narrative Therapy inquiry offers novel and exciting opportunities to explore membership in online communities and spaces. Whether it is through involvement with Discord servers or Team Speak or through informal groups through Facebook or WhatsApp, complexity and sophistication can be co-discovered in online communities. Vast possibilities exist around speaking about these groups and communities in Narrative Therapy and, in particular, the importance of these communities can be privileged and elevated instead of obscured or diminished.
August 15, 2021 Collab Salon: Temper Tantrum Parties & Learning How to Apply David Epston’s Inventions
David Epston has invented many imaginative, and startlingly successful ways of disappearing problems for children & young people which he has documented in stories from his practice in many publications. I have found that using his ideas successfully within my own practice has required more of me than simply following the guidance in the stories, and I have had failures along the way. In this Collab Salon, I will illustrate David’s approach to Temper Tantrums with using recent examples from my own practice to children & young people which have been successful in just two sessions. I will also touch on what I am a learning so far about applying David’s remarkable inventions. Kay Ingamells
How will narrative practice sustain and transform in the coming years and decades? While honoring our mentors, we take delight in the emergence of newer voices within a generation of narrative practitioners. Here we bring together voices from around the world to learn more from them about their narrative initiatives and collaborative spirit. Please join us in welcoming- and learning from -Raviraj Shetty & Jehanzeb Baldiwala (Narrative Practices India, Mumbai India), and Alfonzo (Poncho) Diaz (Colectivo de Prácticas Narrativas, Mexico City, Mexico).
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.