“The reason why we want to be cautious with any
social explanation is for the simple fact that hidden variables have
become packaged in such a way that there is no control window to check
what is inside. Explaining in ‘instant sociology’ has become a cinch,
much like ‘instant psychoanalysis’. Their accounts have become as
impossible to probe and repair as a block-boxed electronic appliance.
It’s because the very success of social explanations has rendered them
so cheap that we now have to increase the cost and quality control on
what counts as a hidden force.
"Rise of the storytelling sites: 2013 should be an interesting year for
online narrative, with Ev Williams’ Medium asking members to post around
a prompt and Jonathan Harris’ open-ended Cowbird. One of Cowbird’s many
features is the “retelling” — similar to reblogging on Tumblr — and a
“serendipity” option that encourages those in the site to wander. News
sites haven’t nailed integrating readers’ emotional response to stories
yet, so storytelling is the new geo- and may be layered on, then
integrated, then ultimately no longer a feature in a few years" - Kristen
Yesterday I received an email from Dr. Andrew Cashin who resides and works in Australia. I had first contacted Dr. Cashin a couple of years ago when I found myself tasked to work with a young boy whom had been diagnosed with Autism. I immediately went searching for articles or sources for how to work from a narrative approach with people diagnosed with Autism. I found only one article and it was Dr. Cashin's. I used his article as a guide for my work and found it to be quite successful. The mother of the child was quite pleased with the work we did together and toward the end of our time together (they moved) told me that my client "had his best IEP meeting ever." After that I reached out to Dr. Cashin to ask him if he knew of other sources for my work and he was quite helpful and told me that they were starting some new work and that he would keep me informed.
Yesterday in his email he sent a new article that he authored with Graeme Browne, Joanne Bradbury, and Ann Mulde that was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing titled The Effectiveness of Narrative Therapy With Young People With Autism. The aim of this pilot study was to be the first step toward empirically
determining whether narrative therapy is effective in helping young people with
autism who present with emotional and behavioral problems. Being a pilot study the authors used a convenience sample of 10 young
people with autism (10–16 years) to evaluate the effectiveness of five 1 hr sessions of
narrative therapy conducted over 10 weeks. In the study the primary outcome measure was the parent-rated
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) but the study also used as secondary measures the Kessler-10 Scale of Psychological Distress
(K-10), the Beck Hopelessness Scale, and a stress biomarker, the salivary cortisol to
dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) ratio.
Well guess what he results were? Significant improvement in psychological distress identified through
the K-10 was demonstrated. Significant improvement was identified on the Emotional Symptoms Scale of the SDQ. The cortisol:DHEA ratio was responsive and a
power analysis indicated that further study is indicated with a larger sample. Leading to the conclusion Narrative therapy has merit as an intervention with young people
with autism and of course further research is indicated.
No matter where you fall on the narrative therapy and research question there are some realities to doing the work we do in North America, evidence based practice is king. However there is some hope for those that want to continue to practice narrative therapy in certain settings. There's John Stillman in Minnesota and his work with the Veterans Administration researching narrative therapy and trauma and now Dr. Cashin and his fellow authors providing promising results with narrative therapy and autism. Who knows, with me starting a PhD program next month, I might throw my name into that research hat as well.
In recent decades, both postmodern and feminist perspectives have
had a significant impact on the family therapy field (Moules, 2000; Osmond & Thorne, 1993; Sanders, 1998). These two broad philosophical
positions have engendered an intriguing set of challenges and opportunities for proponents of both ideologies. On the one hand, the assumptions embedded within these positions overlap and support each other in
combating the patriarchal, hierarchical, oppressive modes of thinking
about and working with families. On the other hand, they have also
taken divergent, sometimes antagonistic, paths. For example, the feminist agenda propagates an activist clinical stance on issues related to
gender, whereas postmodernists caution about the relativity of our
so-called “Truths” and the potentially adverse impact of imposing our
values on clients.
“To be is to relate. To exist is to relate. You are
your relationships, so it’s even deeper than interdependence.
Interdependency would be “I’m still separate but I have relationships.”
But relationships aren’t something we have, relationships are something
that we are.”
- I have no interest in trafficking in this trade.
- If I am consulting with a person who prefers to use such labels, then I am interested in honoring what they experience this to be doing for them, and I am interested in actively exploring with them what speaking in this way makes possible.
Tonight I had the opportunity to invite a few friends into the classroom. First was my friend Brooklyn representing the Center Orange County. Brooklyn presented on various issues effecting the LGBT community and the services offered by the Center. The class had a lot of questions for Brooklyn and a lot of experiences were shared. Next up friends Jamie and Alicia came in to share their coming out stories and talk about their relationship. It was a great night. I forgot to get a pic of Brooklyn but here is Jamie and Alicia in action:
I received this note from a student the other day. Yes, I found myself talking about narrative therapy in a human sexuality class..
Hello Professor Hoff and what a great writing assignment!
I found and referenced an article that gave examples of narrative post
modern theory while working with couples and I have to say, sounds like
an interesting theory. I'm looking forward to getting into Grad school
to explore this and other theories more
This is a reminder that the next event in the narrative and pizza series
takes place this coming Friday, Dec 7, 6pm to 8pm at CSU San Bernardino.
The seminar will be led by Dr John Winslade and Dr Lorraine Hedtke and the focus will be on:
SIDESTEPPING PATHOLOGIZING LANGUAGE
Practices of diagnosis in medicine, education and pyschology have often
produced descriptions of people that are designed to help people but
often have a totalizing effect. The problem is that, like drugs,
pathologizing also has side effects that can impact on a person’s
identity. Narrative practice offers some creative ways to help people
separate from these side effects and takes account of the power that
resides in language. We shall explore some of these and make them
Please see the attached flyer for more details.
The seminar is open to students, staff, faculty, alumni, community
supervisors, friends and relatives, and anyone else interested. All are
As usual a small donation will help cover the cost of the pizza.