“The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem”. This formative statement by Michael White is a core principle for narrative-oriented therapists. Something becomes “a problem” when it gets in the way of a person’s life, visions and hopes. How we approach the problem shapes how we look at it, what we will find, and how we might act in response.
A person may consult with a therapist when in the grip of a problem-saturated story about themselves or some aspect of their life. A narrative-oriented therapist would be curious about the meaning of the problem to them, how this informs their thoughts and actions, and ways in which these are or are not helpful. Making use of ‘double listening' the therapist would also notice and appreciate the person’s knowledges, skills, values and commitments that can contribute to responding to the difficulties.
As an alternative to defining the person according to the problem or locating the problem within the person, a narrative-oriented therapist is guided by ‘positioning’ theory which suggests we come to know and experience ourselves through relationships located within specific histories, cultures and political systems.
Informed by this orientation, therapist and client work collaboratively to co-research, deconstruct and reauthor the problem-saturated story. This includes noticing neglected but helpful aspects of experience, witnessing actions in response to dearly held commitments and values, and paying careful attention to ways in which language is used. This can support the client to reclaim their life from the effects of a problem, and to discover or find their way back to preferred identity conclusions. This in turn can open hopeful possibilities which honour valued relationships and treasured aspects of their history and culture.
This approach invites therapists to attend to power relations in the therapy room, including by adopting a decentred yet influential stance and demonstrating respect for clients as the experts in their lives.
Illustrative examples, practical exercises, case study reflections, journal articles and other handouts, together with ample presenter-attendee dialogue, will support your learning.
Merle Conyer supports individuals, teams, organisations and communities responding to interpersonal, institutional, political, cultural and environmental trauma, healing and justice. Contexts in which she contributes include mental health, legal, government, academic and community sectors, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, organisations facilitating redress for institutional abuse, and those contributing to human rights, social justice and environmental justice.
Her track record includes board, management, service delivery and volunteer roles. Through her independent practice she currently offers counselling, supervision, debriefing, training, groupwork, wellbeing support and consulting services. She interweaves interdisciplinary wisdoms such as somatic psychotherapy, trauma-informed practice, narrative therapy, ecological psychotherapy, focusing and mindfulness practices, and is guided by both clinical and cultural supervision.
Merle is an Accredited Supervisor and Clinical Member with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia. She holds a Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Master of
Counselling and Applied Psychotherapy, Master of Education, Graduate Diploma of Communication Management (Human Resource Development), and Diplomas of Somatic Psychotherapy and Energetic Healing.
Live Interactive Webcast or Webinar Registration
Fees: $199 Primary viewer (includes three month's access recording of the event.
$99 Additional viewer (must watch on same device as primary viewer)
$29 Purchase lifetime access to the recording (available to primary viewer only)
Reminders for all events are sent two weeks, one week, one day and one hour prior.
Learning objectives of this training:
“This workshop introduces effective therapeutic practices for walking alongside clients as they explore what strengthens, nourishes and enlivens … a respectful way of being in relationship that can be transformative for both of us." Merle Conyer
How will you benefit from attending this training?
Morning Session (includes a short morning tea break)
Afternoon Session (includes a short afternoon tea break)
This seminar has been designed to extend the clinical knowledge and applied skill of Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Coaches, Psychologists, Hypnotherapists, Social Workers, Case Workers, Pastoral Care Workers, Community Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Psychiatrists.
9:00am - 12:30pm (includes 15 minute break at 10:30am)
12:30pm - 1:00pm
1:00pm - 4:30pm (includes 15 minute break at 2:45pm)
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