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Collective Narrative Practices

Exploring Collective Narrative Practices

Collective narrative practice is built on the practice and foundation of narrative therapy. It is an emerging field. Collective narrative practice is a practice that aims to reach and help groups or communities that have suffered from a significant collective experience. This practice is applied in contexts where therapy might not be effective due to the cultural system.

The Collective narrative practice aims to help the group members or community tell their story in a way that would make them strong enough to recover from the experience. It promotes a more healthy and just society. 

The practice takes the healing process and works outside of the treatment room. It is a mixture of community organising and therapy. It is easy to work with and offers a new and effective approach to dealing with hardship.

Making up on a therapy

Principles of Collective Narrative Therapy

Methodologies of Community Narrative Therapy

Ncazelo Ncube developed the Tree of Life alongside David Denborough in response to the plight of children suffering from HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa.

The participants draw a tree of their lives depicting their roots, skills, knowledge, hopes, dreams and special people in their lives. The participants then join all the trees to form a forest and discuss the type of storms that affect them and how they can protect themselves from it. The methodology has become very popular.

This methodology allows both young people and older people who are not used to speaking about their lives in such an open setting to discuss it in a setting where they would feel comfortable. They can engage in meaningful conversations using sports metaphors. The conversation can be held in a sports gym, on the field, in a locker room, during game half-times, and so on.

This methodology makes use of collective remembrance. After the Rwanda genocides, therapists had their hands full responding to and helping the survivors. This method was developed as a response to the requests of the counsellors to help the survivors.

The collective narrative document is a document that contains the experience of a group who have experienced a traumatic situation. It explores how they were able to sustain themselves through difficult times. This document can then be shared between groups to enable those who have endured the hardship to feel that they contribute to others. Those who receive the documents also get to see that they can overcome.

Songwriting is therapeutic. Several narrative therapists and other community workers in Australia and Ireland are now using music and songs in their therapy work with individuals, groups and communities.

Teenagers at the therapy
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