When Russia invaded Ukraine, shattering the peace whose fragility many of us underestimate due to the privileged peacefulness of our own lives, it happened coincidentally just as a sub-group from Re-authoring Teaching had picked up a dormant thread of discussion around our Hot Topic, Narrative Practices Around the World: Intercultural Considerations. The thread began as a casual reconnecting between folks from various places on the planet, but as events unfolded—as was the case when this Hot Topic first formed at the beginning of the pandemic—we heard stories, and responses to stories, of resistance, resolve, pain, and relational accountability from members of our own international community was soon evident. One member had fled to the UK from Hong Kong, now fearful that to return and be subject to mandatory Covid screening was to offer up their DNA to a now-emboldened repressive regime. Another member was navigating life as a student and mother in the UK while their friends and family were protesting in the streets of Moscow. A Canadian member saw a close friend and colleague return to fight in her native Ukraine, aware that in the multi-storied world that Narrative Therapy demands, there needed to be space for their divergent views regarding the Canadian trucker’s convoy.
Please read below for links for contributions for resources to Ukraine and our statement of support for Ukraine.
Please join us in giving generously to these two highly recommended links for all kinds of help to Ukraine:
Narrative Therapy does believe in a multi-storied world, on all levels, from individual families to the family of nations. On all levels, we stand against the imposition of a single story by the powerful on the less-powerful. As we navigate the daily onslaught of news, we encourage all of us in our community to expose the power tactics that use misinformation and disinformation to distort, the tactics that are meant to obscure power operations and protect the powerful from having to be accountable, and the power that seeks to dismember rather than re-member and unite our communities.
Across the Generations
Re-authoring Teaching’s oft-repeated intention of supporting Narrative Therapy around the world and across generations presents a new challenge to us at this moment: How do we support our sisters and brothers in the Ukraine? How do we support our colleagues who are closest to the struggle? How do we get close enough to the struggle ourselves that they don’t feel alone in it? On a National Public Radio broadcast this morning, a grandmother was interviewed, deep in a subway in Kyiv, where she was spending the night keeping her grandchildren safe. She was recalling family stories about how her grandmother had sheltered her parents from the Nazis in the same manner. “How can this be my life?” she asked. Talk about across the generations!
With Reasonable Hope
With authoritarianism on the rise worldwide—and what is that if it isn’t the ceding of authority to a single-story teller—where are we to stand? What are we to do? As part of this disentangling work, we find inspiration in Kaethe Weingarten’s (2010) writing on what she calls Reasonable Hope in a Time of Global Despair.
Kaethe writes: Reasonable hope is relational; Reasonable hope is an action; Reasonable hope maintains that the future is open, uncertain and influenceable; Reasonable hope seeks goals and pathways to them; Reasonable hope accommodates doubt, contradictions and despair.
Kaethe encourages us to engage in the doing of hope with others and encourages us to:
Narrative Practices Around the World: Inter-cultural Considerations
Narrative ideas and practices that began in Australia and New Zealand have now spread to many countries throughout the Americas, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa. What are some of the innovations emerging as practitioners apply narrative therapy to different culture, context and meanings? What kinds of questions do people in different cultures voice as they step into their cultural identities, and strive to make narrative therapy into their own?