Narrative practices have evolved in many ways over the decades in response to changing professional, social and cultural contexts. The founders of the Narrative Therapy approach, the late Michael White and David Epston, gave voice to the hope and intention that we would continue to try out different modes of inquiry, come up with new practices, and integrate these cherished ways of being with people that fit with our own local experiences and socio-political contexts. Now the Affective Turn in psychotherapy invites us to explore the relationship between politics, culture, memory and embodiment in the context of decolonizing practices. Many therapists especially the younger generation of narrative therapists are asking for integrative therapeutic resources and practices that engage narrative meaning-making while building on non-verbal embodied healing experiences.
This course builds on our deep respect for the evolution of Narrative Therapy while creating spaces for an interplay with other treasured approaches to working with people experiencing serious difficulties in their lives and relationships. Severe and early trauma seems to rob clients of memories and cast sensations, images and memories as the enemy, and can disconnect people from what has shaped moral virtues, intentions, and a sense of “myself” across time. we explore how integrating alternative approaches can make visible the complexities of lived experiences, allowing for the discovery of different metaphors, new associations and a shift in a felt sense of bodily experiences. These discoveries help reinvigorate a re-connection with moral virtues, a language for inner life, and new possibilities for action and movement in accordance with cherished intentions, values, hopes, dreams, beliefs, purposes and commitments. When the language of sensations, images, and memories are engaged in this way, people—with child-like creativity—connect with real and imagined allies, responsibility for abuse is assigned where it belongs, and preferred solutions and subordinate stories emerge. This sense of “aliveness” and agency creates new possibilities for relating.