New to Narrative?
Narrative practice amounts to an innovative paradigm shift in psychology and community development. In a nutshell, narrative is interested in how we tell the stories of our lives and how this telling shapes who we are and how we become. These stories are laid in relations of power, power that lives in conversations, language, institutions and practices. Some stories might come to dominate over others and may have a louder impact upon a person’s life while other stories may be more quiet or even subjugated. Narrative practice shows how these stories produce reality and then influence our day-to-day living. While this might sound lofty and complex, it actually provides accessible, and highly effective, entry points to help kids in schools in immediate and useful ways.
School counselors using a narrative approach work collaboratively with their students, teachers, administrators and parents. These counselors bring curiosity to guide the conversations, but the expertise for “problem solving” often lies in the client’s stories. This avoids the trap of pathologizing labels that can limit students’ worlds. Narrative counselors are interested to learn about others’ meanings, preferences, and purposes for their lives to construct a particular sort of conversation, one that invites and enables people to take up their preferred positions in relation with themselves, others, ideas and the world!
Interest in Narrative Training:
The CSUSB Counseling Program offers a distinctive orientation that incorporates postmodern ideas and creates opportunities for students who are particularly interested in learning about narrative counseling practices. We are one of a few institutions in the world that offer this training as a part of a formal degree program. We offer a number of classes that draw upon the specific body of ideas, skills and approaches that emerge from constructionism and postmodern theories. For students who are curious about narrative, there are many points of possible introduction to these innovative ideas. This will happen in your very first CSUSB class, Introduction to Counseling. The theories are picked up and developed in the practicum classes as well as in the counseling theory class, and the group counseling class. In addition, you might be interested in attending a monthly Narrative and Pizza Seminar or taking advantage of further training and attending conferences about narrative therapy.
If you find that narrative practice resonates with you and you want to further delve into this study, or this interest is a part of your decision to attend our program, you can let the Program Coordinator know. This way we can shape a program of study specifically developed around this interest.
A Few Narrative Resources:
This website offers numerous resources that are at the hub of narrative practice. Here, you can find information on journals, international training, community work, as well as an active archive of resources about the origins of narrative practice. You will find here the free online journal, Explorations, which is edited by CSUSB professor John Winslade and contains several articles written by CSUSB students and alumni.
'The Narrative Practice & Collaborative Inquiry (NPCI) Study Group' began a few months after Michael White's death, in an effort to create 'an island of belonging' where those drawn to narrative practice and other collaborative approaches from across geographic distance can find each other and build a learning community that transcends geography, professional status, and other differences. The guided study group includes a media library with readings and recordings, five E-Learning Modules, guest authors, and online discussion forums. Through a partnership with Alliant International University, study group members can now earn CE credit for each Learning Module. The guided study is ongoing so it is possible to join at anytime. Registration includes several reduced fee options. You can learn more about the NPCI Study Group by visiting the Reauthoring Teaching website and signing up for the NPCI email newsletter.
The home website for Jill Freedman and Gene Combs, who are well-respected teachers and authors of narrative practice. The site offers some great introductions to explain narrative as well as connections to further sites. You can see a list of their national and international training opportunities as well.
The Vancouver School for narrative therapy has been actively involved in training and workshops for counselors for many years. On their website, you can learn about the Therapeutic Conversations conferences, an exciting conference that brings together many participants interested in social constructionism and community practice.
Lorraine Hedtke’s website about her work with dying and bereaved people. Born out of narrative practices, re-membering offer a new way to think about grief psychology. On the website there are numerous articles that can be downloaded that explain the philosophy and practice. Lorraine also is the program coordinator for the CSUSB Counseling and Guidance program as well as lectures nationally and internationally about death, grief and remembering practices.