Saturday 30 July 2011
E.Kotze & S.Gaddis
“Reflexive Practices in Narrative Therapy”
(Elmarie Kotzé & Steve Gaddis)
Witnessing violence has effects for professionals as well as individuals and families subjected to the violence. In the territory of violence and despair, hope has been described either as a possession held by someone else or as something for the self to hold onto. Hope has also been described in terms of people doing hope together. Faced with violence and despair we see counselling practice as social action and work towards doing reasonable hope by creating and sustaining communities of care.
Possibilities for communities of care become available when professionals and clients collaborate and respond to interpersonal violence through the use of narrative practices that may include outsider witnessing, narrative documents and taking it back practices. In the workshop we will provide examples of these practices. One example reports on a family exposed to domestic violence and the role of a police officer who witnessed the violence and acted from an ethic of justice and an ethic of care. His response helped to save lives and invited a taking-it-back practice. A small community of care developed from these actions. Another example documents professionals’ responses to traumas that families experienced. Professionals witnessed the despair of the families experienced and, with small acts, created communities of care.
In our work, we also purposefully work towards holding clients' particular meanings and intentions and staying in/within moments of complexity. In this we are guided by our commitments to be both responsible and influential, while remaining decentred. We share examples of the micro mo(ve)ments that take place in therapeutic conversations. We will illustrate with examples from therapy with people who have been affected by significant mental illness and trauma. We will show how continually drawing from theory offers a way to listen and helps in formulating questions and responses. This careful attention is in the service of co-developing preferred stories that are intended to undermine serious problems. Detailing the specifics of our practice offers a reflecting surface on which to build our capacities to meet with clients in ethical, intentional, and effective ways.
In the second part of the workshop we will use the DVD “Telling and Re-telling Gender Stories” produced by Elmarie Kotzé, Kathie Crocket and Stephen Gaddis to reflect on the shaping effects of gender stories. In our teaching, personal and professional lives we have experienced the effects of internalised essentialist gender ideas and practices. We see our work with essentialist discourses connected to counselling in the territory of violence and trauma as well as the small but significant everyday experiences. In the workshop we offer examples of our efforts to navigate beyond these essentialist discourses. Our purpose is to increase awareness of contextual histories, as well as the problematic and subjective effects when these stories intersect with other socially constructed discourses of identity.
We offer examples of outsider witnessing practices (White 2007) as a group of men discuss examples from their own lives as they work towards preferred practices of becoming a man.
Elmarie is an educational psychologist and senior lecturer at the Department of Human Development and Counselling at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. What has remained constant throughout her professional journey is a passionate search for ways in which counselling practice and theory can come together to sustain and enrich the hopes and dreams that people hold for themselves, their families and their communities. Her presentation, with Stephen Gaddis, will consider positioning theory and witnessing practices in research and therapy.
Stephen is the Co-Founder and Director of The Salem Centre for Therapy, Training, and Research, in Salem, Massachusetts, USA. The Salem Centre is broadly committed to teaching postmodern approaches to psychotherapy. Steve created The Narrative Therapy Initiative, which is a training track for people specifically interested in skill development associated with narrative worldviews and ethics. He has an M.S. and Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Postgraduate Certificate in Narrative Therapy from The Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, Australia. He taught in the graduate school of counselling as a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the University of Waikato in New Zealand and teaches narrative therapy courses in The Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College and The Graduate School of Social Work and Counselling Psychology at Salem State University. Steve has published and presented on narrative therapy nationally and internationally and has a full-time independent therapy practice where he continues his ongoing apprenticeship with narrative practice that started nearly twenty years ago.