Michael White

Addressing men’s violence was one of the first clear starting points for  teamwork at Narrative Practices Adelaide. We include here a brief audio recording of a “Narrative Practices Adelaide” conversation.  Prior to this recording, Rob,  Shona and Maggie reviewed notes from Michael’s intensive on working with the effects of violence and abuse and from conversations they  had with Michael about men’s violence. Toward taking a narrative focus to that work with men, they reflected on their  work and Alan Jenkins framework for “Invitations to Responsibility.” Through this closer look, they began to highlight relevant themes, which were further  brought to life through their own counseling work and  teaching. They describe how Michael’s concern with men’s violence became one of the clear starting points for their work together as a team, and incorporated into the broader training of their certificate course.

 Recording on men’s violence: “We all work together.”

Rob Hall and Alison Newton

Rob Hall and Alison Newton

Men who use violence in their relationships been the focus of Rob Hall and his partner Alison Newton’s work for many years. Since 1980, he has been working in the area of gender violence and abuse – in an emergency counselling service with a team exploring new approaches to inviting men to take responsibility for their violence to and to find ways to ensure the safety and well being of people they had abused. He then joined a colleague, Alan Jenkins, to further work with men who have perpetrated abuse, and more recently focussing on approaches to working with adolescents who have sexually abused. Together with others, Rob and Alan formed an organization called Nada, and have developed a partnership, in this work, with Maxine Joy and Alison Newton.

Rob continues to seek ways of further ensuring that intervention with people who have perpetrated abuse is practiced in ways that are consistent with, and that promote, responsibility, respect, fairness and accountability. A counselling approach which is consistent with these ideas entails the development of practice as an ethical journey. To quote from his article Pitfalls and Challenges in Work with Men who Use Violence Against Their Partners (on the Pratiques Narratives website).

In the last few years, Rob and his partner, Alison Newton have begun to give international workshops together (Shelburne,Vermont and Paris, France).

Transcript: NPA Conversation about men and violence

Shona Russell

Shona Russell

rob hall

Rob Hall

Maggie Carey

Maggie Carey

Shona: I was just thinking, going back into the history, remembering where those notes came from. I remember a 5 day intensive in Adelaide Michael did in September–was it 2007 or 2006? Working with the effects of violence and abuse. Did those notes that we are referring to come from that particular training?

Rob: Yeah, I attending that training. Michael was also very generous in acknowledging me. A lot of those notes came from that training as well as conversations we had together.

Shona: Maggie Rob and I took those notes and studied them again. And talked about Rob’s current work and Maggie’s and my current work, and looked at which of those notes we wanted to extend on to share in teaching in detail. That became the focus of our work for the first year together.

Rob: Also, we were lucky enough to have a number of clients with whom we could all work together around these issues, and to help us.

Shona: Could you say a bit more about that?

Rob: I’ve done a lot of my work seeing clients of my own and their partners. You and Maggie sat in on a number of sessions, and reflected on the conversations and also on the themes. You were also involved in the therapeutic work. That helped me to throw an even clearer narrative light on the work that I was doing.

Maggie: I think it is important to recognize the amount of time that it takes to do that sort of collaboration, to have that time to work together and fleshing out some of those notes that Michael left, and that come from those workshops. He was pretty clear that those were notes that needed more locating in actual practice and conversation to really do them justice. That’s what he had earmarked time to do with you, Rob.

Shona: That’s what I enjoy about the initiative that we took up. We studied those notes to pull some relevant themes, making them come to life through our own work, and bringing that into teaching. I remember that first workshop–was it three or two days?

Rob: Two days.

Shona: It was quite exciting at the end of it because people in Adelaide who were very involved working in the field came up, enthused and excited with the ideas that we were sharing. There was a sense for me of something really being on the move. I guess I’m building on something you were saying Maggie. We weren’t just taking something we had seen written and reproducing it. We were challenging ourselves, and drawing from experiences of people’s lives, and inviting workers to take that further.

Rob: In an ongoing sense, that counseling work still continues, which is what Michael saw as being central. Also the training is now incorporated into the broader training of our certificate course. We all work together.

Go Back to Michael White – An Overview