Trauma, Identity and Hope: A Narrative Therapy Approach

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Experiences of abuse and trauma frequently attack a person’s sense of identity. Under these circumstances it is common for people to come to a range of negative conclusions about themselves, their lives, and relationships – with consequent implications for how they live their lives.

Narrative therapists are interested in the stories that shape our lives. When it comes to experiences of trauma or abuse, narrative therapists are likely to be interested in what a person’s responses to these experiences might say about them – about who they are and what they stand for. This process is believed to contribute to the development of alternative and more empowering stories of identity – in contrast to the negative and debilitating stories of identity fostered by the abuse or trauma. These alternative stories of identity do not usually feature directly in the accounts people give about their experiences of abuse and trauma – they are subordinate stories, and absent from people’s accounts. However they are usually implicit in their responses to trauma or abuse. Developing alternative stories of self, or identity, provides a more solid foundation for survivors to build on as they address and seek to minimise the affects of trauma and abuse in their lives. It also contributes to a persons sense of being able to have influence in their own lives.

This course will explain a range of techniques utilised by narrative therapists in co-creating with clients these alternative stories, with a particular focus on identifying and investigating ‘the absent but implicit’. The course will also illustrate the approach with case material from the presenter’s work with children, adolescents and adults.

During this training you will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive an overview of the major principles of Narrative Therapy
  • Learn about how these principles can be applied to a range of issues presented by children, adolescents and adults who have experienced trauma
  • Learn techniques for engaging with difficult clients
  • Learn techniques for inviting clients to argue for change
  • Be exposed to ideas for hopeful ways of working with challenging situations
  • Learn about how Narrative Therapy principles can be applied to experiences of trauma and abuse

Who should attend?

Workers with some familiarity with Narrative Therapy and trauma providing counselling or casework services to children, young people and/or adults