Taking Lives Back from the Effects of Trauma: A Narrative Approach
Useful for single session, brief and longer-term therapies
Trauma can shatter lives. It can take away joy, hope, contentment, and dignity. It can dominate people’s life stories, overshadowing other events that, if remembered and valued, could contribute to a preferred identity and a sense of meaning.
As narrative therapists we believe that the stories that are remembered and told about
our lives are our lives – we know ourselves and are known by others through these stories. Therefore, when we work with people whose life narratives are filled with stories of trauma, we are interested in hearing those little-told and not- well-remembered stories that run counter to the dominant plot of trauma. We believe that telling and retelling these stories puts people into a different relationship with the trauma and those who have perpetrated it. People begin to experience their identities in preferred ways and they view their lives and relationships as being open to more possibilities.
In this workshop together we will focus on 6 areas:
1. Double listening. This involves listening to understand, and also listening for those things the person values that are not spoken about directly, but are implied, those things that are absent but implicit.
2. Identifying and challenging the effects of the trauma. We cannot change the occurrence of trauma but we can work with the ways it affects people. Once we have identified effects, we can begin to help people take back their lives from those effects and regain a sense of dignity.
3. Examining cultural and political stories – especially stories about gender and power – for their contribution to contexts, in which violence and abuse occurs, and to their contribution to the meaning people make of experiences of violence. We think that problems occur in and are supported by particular sociocultural contexts, and by ideas and beliefs supported by and rendered invisible by the culture.
4. Working with people to author and live out preferred stories – ”counterstories” to the stories of trauma that have brought them to therapy.
5. Joining with others against trauma. This can include working with communities or linking lives virtually as part of therapy.
6. Ideas for approaching memories of trauma in non-traumatizing ways so that people can lay claim to small acts of resistance, self-protection, and courage.
Registration Rate: $435 + HST