Help me study for my Psychology class. I’m stuck and don’t understand.
Two part discussion One is the lead post which is my discussion about the topic and than a response post to another students discussion. I will provide you with the book and an article to write this discussion for the book it is going to be chapter 10. I will also provide the instructions and once you accept two examples from other students so you can reply to one of them.
? Lead post:
- Identify 3 key practices in this theory and explain them. Identify how these practices are drawing and implementing on which constructionist principles. Share your personal opinions and situate your position on these items.
- How does this theory conceptualize the self? How does it conceptualize change?
- In approximately 500 words, give an example of this theoretical orientation that you could apply to your current or prospective field of work and explore any limitations of this theoretical orientation (diversity, work setting, population). Feel free to use examples from personal world as well (family, friends, etc.), but please dis-identify and do not diagnose.
? Response Post:
In approximately 300 words respond to another person in your group about their key points listed. What did you learn by reading their response? What did you find yourself agreeing with and disagreeing with about what they were emphasizing and drawing attention to? Pay particular attention to their application of the theory and share if it fits with your own understanding.
https://we.tl/t-Um9wXFXiHN CHAPTER 10
Three foundational tenets of narrative therapy are double-listening, scaffolding, and situating comments (Zamani, 2021).
When clients show up to therapy, they often start off explaining about a problem. A narrative therapist will listen to the client’s story but will also be tuning into the information that is absent but implicitly woven within the story (Zamani, 2021). This is the practice of double-listening. The goal is to pick out the pieces of the story that represent local knowledge the client might not readily identify as relevant or important. Narrative therapists believe these stories are integral to the client’s identity.
Narrative therapists use scaffolding techniques in order to meet the client where they’re at and then guide them to deeper understandings. Starting off with experience-near language enables the therapist and client to discuss desired outcomes. As they continue working together, the therapist will start integrating more abstract ideas that include identity construction and social influences. It is likely that folks come to therapy unfamiliar with narrative practices and scaffolding provides clients with the time, language, and overall conceptualization of how various socio-linguistic and cultural factors influence identity.
Situating comments stem from the understanding within narrative therapy that clients are the experts in their own lives. A way of minimizing a client’s “overprivileging” (Gehart, 2018) of the therapist’s comments, situating comments provide specific context emphasizing that it is just one opinion out of many. Providing this context is important for recognizing that information is not generated within a silo, but that socio-political, linguistic, cultural and many other factors influence its creation.
A key foundational tenet of narrative therapy overall is social constructionism, and the various practices listed above are directly drawing from constructionist principles. Narrative therapists believe that folks don’t have problems, but instead problems are thrust upon them when surrounding dominant discourses are in direct conflict with personal core beliefs. According to narrative therapy, dominant discourse is constantly playing a part in how people develop linguistically and socially. This influence can cause a disruption that leads folks to seek therapy. A therapist working within a narrative framework will utilize the tools in the subsequent paragraphs to help the client understand that the problem is separate from their personhood. Ways to mitigate the disruption include the client’s own understanding of how social forces play a part in how they understand, conceptualize, and story the problem. During the process, folks are encouraged to find local knowledge within their stories to redefine their meaning-making framework. This new perspective will hopefully provide them the opportunity to regain some balance in their lives.
There are many different practices within narrative therapy that I’m drawn to. I find a lot of value in honoring local knowledge, in requesting permission to dig deeper, and in sharing different ways of making meaning. The one nagging concern I have for narrative therapy is how the concepts of social construction translate linguistically and culturally to the folks I work with. A lot of the key practices in narrative rely on specific linguistic expressions like, “how do you make meaning of that experience?” or “how could you tame the problem” (Gehart, 2018, p. 437). However, I’m left wondering how to linguistically express the concepts of narrative therapy with folks who have been experiencing language deprivation throughout their lives. Something that I think will help is the concept of cultural democracy (Akinyela, 2014). Akinyela (2014) describes how metaphors found in narrative therapies might not hold meaning for folks of non-European descent. I think the same concept applies to folks who are not directly privy to incidental learning of dominant discourses. I think an important part of my work will be to respect the lived experiences of folks who don’t hear, and seek out local knowledge and practices from individuals who are part of the Deaf community.
This theory conceptualizes the self as having multiple identities that are influenced and shaped by dominant and local discourses. How someone stories their experiences is a result of how they interact with and perceive dominant discourses. Narrative therapists believe that there are multiple versions of the same story, and they work with clients to unravel additional strands of the story to identify additional, more useful meanings. In this way, they can increase the client’s sense of agency, and then support their discovery of ways they can control the trajectory of their lives. Change is conceptualized as a client using local knowledge to redefine what they want their lives to reflect instead of always falling into what dominant discourses define as “right” or “acceptable”.
I have been working with a student who has been talking a lot about their identity development as a mom who is Deaf and blind. This student and I work intimately together because of the nature of tactile communication, and I have been honored with her sharing of multiple stories. Recently, this student, we’ll call her Gabby, has been explaining how she doesn’t feel like a mother because her child doesn’t live with her. During one phone call, she described how she participated in Mommy and Me courses when her child was born, she created methods of taking care of him as a blind person that were “not normal” (her words), and how she would take him to daycare every day on public transport. As I write this retelling of her story, I recognize I am pulling out pieces that were more afterthoughts than parts of the story. As she cried telling me the story, she explained how she was regretful her child didn’t get a “normal” childhood and that she was questioning herself as a mother. From my perspective, she was using dominant ideas of “good” mothering as a mirror to reflect on her own experiences. I felt like this comparison was a big part of her distress and I asked if we could talk through some of her beliefs surrounding motherhood and family. She kindly agreed.
I asked if she could tell me about moments where she was felt like a good mom, and if she could describe why she thought they were good. She started talking about the moments described above and how important it was that her son was loved, cared for, and happy. Gabby described how even though she did things differently, she still was the one ensuring her son was safe and cared for. She explained how people at the day care center would ask her how she could take care of an infant as a person who was blind and Deaf. I asked her what her response was to them. She said that she always was proud to explain alternative methods for diaper changing or feeding. I then mentioned that those alternatives were probably not what dominant society would deem as “normal” but that they were exactly what she needed to do to care for her son. That was local knowledge that was incredibly valuable and should be honored.
Even though this was just a small part of a larger conversation, and I’m sure that there were more insightful and helpful things I could have said, I think that this was a moment where we co-edited her story to highlight instances of motherhood she didn’t find immediately recognizable. The conversation was incredibly meaningful to me and I hope we have more opportunities to re-story together.
Akinyela, M. M. (2014). Narrative therapy and cultural democracy: A testimony view. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 35(1), 46-49. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261957872_Narrative_Therapy_and_Cultural_Democracy_A_Testimony_View (Links to an external site.)
Gehart, D. R. (2018). Chapter 10: Narrative and collaborative therapies. In Mastering competencies in family therapy: A practical approach to theories and clinical case documentation (pp. 427-448). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Externalizing: I figured since the main technique of Narrative therapy was externalizing (according to Gehart (2018) anyways) it was one I needed to get down to allow for further understanding of the other practices. This idea was new and interesting to me. It was new to see the problem isn’t the person, that the problem is the problem. The actual linguistic tactics of it were what I found so intriguing about this concept. The idea that you create this alter-ego that is just the problem, and doing that by changing it from an adjective, to its own noun separate from the person was a new process for me. At first glance, this seemed a bit fluffy to me. Not the concept but the actual language of externalizing, of asking someone to “tell me the relationship they have with anxiety” that seemed just strange to me.
However strange and jarring I found the questions to be at times, I found that I agree with this view of people separate from their problems, a problem is not a whole person and is something separate to overcome, and even that is not the correct word. Perhaps to find a new relationship with, one that fits better with one’s preferred story. I love how this externalization reframes your mindset when looking at a problem and I like the attitude of externalizing.
I think another facet of this externalizing that threw me for a loop is it’s not a one-and-done type of technique. That it’s a process and takes time to learn to externalize the problem, that it is ongoing. You don’t walk into therapy and walk out a completely changed and resourceful externalizing person after day one. The idea that it takes time for clients to shift their perspective on themselves and the presenting problem, from having it, to seeing it as outside of themselves. The word choice of having a “relationship with depression” is strange to me. The idea that I don’t have anxiety, that I have a relationship with anxiety is strange to consider. But at the same time, I can think of a group of clients that this would absolutely work well for, but I will wait to discuss that a bit below.
I think the idea of “sides” of ourselves where the problem exists reminds me of Psychosynthesis Theory where we have many subpersonalities and the goal is to try and bring them together in a balanced whole or self. In Psychosynthesis, you look at the strengths of each subpersonality to create resources, whereas here it’s just to move the problem further away from “the self” (Lombard, 2014).
I can see how this type of technique cannot be forced and must be introduced as a possibility and see how the client responds. It reminds me of when I was introduced to tapping and FLASH Therapy. At first, I was very put off by how different a technique it was but then I later saw the value (Gehart, 2018).
I also was attracted to the benefits of externalization. Decreasing conflict and blame, undermining a sense of failure, and showing when there were alternative times where the client had an influence over this challenge or problem that they are facing. Identifying new avenues for reducing the troubles the problem can bring. I saw so many positives that I really was vibing with.
Adding just a bit more of my exploration with externalizing (there is so much and I feel like there could be a whole chapter or book on externalizing alone) I was very drawn to the metaphors used to externalize. This was interesting to me because a friend of mine visited me after we all were vaccinated and she, myself, and my girlfriend are all third culture kids, but they (herself and my girlfriend) are bilingual. They got into a long discussion about how direct and unimaginative music in English was, whereas in Russian and Vietnamese they use metaphors for everything to explain how they feel. This was also a new concept to me and it seems to fit very well with the idea of externalizing metaphors for relating to the problems. A few that caught my attention from the book were: walking out on the problem, going on strike against, defying, recovering, or reclaiming territory from the problem (this will also come into play with my fictional character), taming, and harnessing. These terms all seemed to ignite a passion in me to read them and feel in a space of strong support. Like a strong independent woman walking out on her problem? Like YAS honey! You don’t need it to sustain you anymore (sounds like I am sliding into a different theory here but bear with me)! And reclaiming territory, that within your story, you are the most important author and choose which points matter and which narrative is preferred. It got me pumped up, to say the least (Gehart, 2018).
The constructionist piece with Externalizing seems to clearly be language constructing reality. That by a simple shift from the problem turning from being an adjective to a noun, there is now a new sense of possibility and agency (Zamani, 2021).
Separating the person from the problem.
“When anger takes over”
Problem Deconstruction (investigative reporter)
I love the Problem Deconstruction from the social constructionist point of view. With this technique, the therapists are using deconstructive listening to help clients trace and locate the effects of dominant discourses and empower clients to make choices about which discourses they let affect their lives. I liked how Gehart (2018) referred to this as investigative reporting.
The therapist listens for “gaps” in client’s understanding of the problem and asks them to fill in details. Helping clients unpack their stories to see how they have been created and constructed, finding influences of dominant and alternative discourses throughout. These questions target problematic thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes by asking clients to think through: history, context, effect, interrelationships, and strategies. What is the history they have with the problem, what contexts influence the problem, belief, feeling etc? When is it most likely to happen? The effects of the problem, what has it done to your relationships? The interrelationships with other beliefs, thoughts, feelings, etc. Are there problems that feed this problem or make it more difficult (this felt a bit like inception)? Then finally strategies used by the problem, how does it influence you? (Gehart, 2018).
Again I am feeling like this relates the most to the constructionist principle or language constructing reality and determining what possibilities and choices are available to a person.
The Constructionist pieces here are discourse, context, identities, and I even see dominant vs local knowledge when looking at alternative narratives and which to accept. Discourse, context, and identities I see when we are looking at the narratives and what influences them, from many different angles and perspectives (Zamani, 2020).
Mapping the Influence of the Problem (and the influence of the person)
I thought mapping to be an interesting and new intervention as well. The idea of expanding the reach of thought of a problem to other people in the client’s life. Asking how the problem has been affecting the lives of the clients’ friends, family, and significant others moves the problem from just an internal dialogue to a relational one. I do however see the importance of once you start mapping the influence of the problem making sure to map the influence of the person, so the client feels a sense of their own agency in changing their story and finding hope. Maybe someone can help me out here? I guess I can see it from the point of view of separating the person from the problem and if we map the influence of the problem we should also map the influence of the person as they are two separate entities (Gehart, 2018).
Gehart (2018) discusses how mapping the influence of the problem questions look at how the problem has affected a variety of areas in the client’s life. Their physical, emotional, and relational health. How has this problem affected their close relationships, how has it affected others they interact with?
The mapping of the influence of the Person I think is actually quite powerful. It starts with externalizing. Flipping the script and looking at how the person has affected the “life of the problem”. Questions like, “When have the people involved kept the problem from interrupting an event or an area in their lives?”, “When were they able to keep the problem from taking over when it was showing up?” (Gehart, 2018).
Constructionist principles would be discourse about the person’s influence, what other personal factors are at place and affecting the story. I could also see context here as well as agency and change. I think that when you map the person’s influence they can start to see they have a part in shaping the narrative and are able to decide which way their story goes next, or how complex and “thick” their story really is (Zamani, 2020).
How does this theory conceptualize the self? How does it conceptualize change?
The conceptualization of the Self, I had a few thoughts. One, the person is their own being and not “a problem”. There is a “self” a true self that comes through in the narrative (changes based on context/ which narrative we are discussing), though there are multiple narratives therefore multiple valid alternative identities. I would assume in the context of autonomous, relational and narrative self that here we are discussing the the narrative self. Also, the way identity is constructed in stories is where the self is located, or so I thought I understood from the lecture (Zamani, 2021).
For Facilitating Change, Narrative therapists are looking at transformative interpersonal patterns (TIPS), using questions and teqniques to separate the client from the problem and the things that support the problem, like mapping in the landscape of action and consciousness, deconstructive questioning, and scaffolding. For all of these, therapists begin by exploring PIPs and SCIPs and then creating space in language where the client can envision a different narrative and identity (Gehart, 2018).
In reading Spitting Truth from My Soul (Heath, 2015) I was really struck by a few things that I related to in narrative and that I wanted to try myself. It was great to read a session and see how personalized narrative can be. That the therapist first took the time to connect with the client on a human level and see what they were doing and what they liked. And that little act of trying to connect and understand someone became such a monumental way forward in communicating and building a path of trust and collaborative in therapy. I have often tried to explain to friends, relatives, and my girlfriend what I feel when I hear rap and really listen for the lyrics. I hear empowerment, I feel strong when I rap a song, such as WAP by Cardi B and Megan the Stallion. I could easily relate to where the client and therapist landed on rap being a philosophical string of words of wisdom. This gave me ideas for my final client in this class. Where to even start with them and building that trust and communication. Understanding it doesn’t always happen on day one but that you can shock the client out of the “routine” of what they think therapy is (this reminded me of EFT a little). I love that. This was a powerful article. I also love the permission questions and asking for permission and really valuing the local knowledge and language of the client and showing them that respect.
I guess as this is the theory I think I want to use for the final paper in this class, I wanted to start to dive in here. So one area I want to focus on in the future is international student support, but another area that I have a passion for is celebrities’s being denied empathy and treated as not even human. I did my research methods paper on this Empathy: Denied topic. Since I will be counseling my book character Regina, I imagine that Narrative Therapy will be very helpful with her experiencing a relationship with fame and celebrity. I know I want to help her find her own narrative and story apart from the dominant narratives about herself that she is fed by the media and by fans. In looking at this goal (I know narrative doesn’t really have “goals”) there was a lot I saw in SFT that would be helpful as well as Narrative. But for picking just one, I think we have to start with externalizing before we can get to deconstructing the problem or mapping the influence of the problem or the person. I think my character has so much she has taken on as her “problems” and what she believes are flaws within herself. I would start with meeting her apart from the problem. Getting to know Regina. What does she like to do outside of work? What does she do for work? When does she feel the most fulfilled? Does she have any pets, what music does she listen to, etc.? The idea that there are times without the problem and it doesn’t always exist and therefore is not within her, are very strong Ideas I want to help her build. That she has a relationship with fame and celebrity, sometimes that is good and sometimes it is not. But that is also not who Regina is, that fame or celebrity are nouns and external from Regina. And our focus is on alternative stories and which is the preferred narrative of Regina’s identity. “Who do you want Regina to be?”
More questions might be, “Regina, I would like to ask you a few questions about your work and the impact that has on your life and your relationships. Would that be alright?”
And if she says yes.
“Great, thank you so much for being open to discussing those areas of your life today. Can you please tell me a little more about your relationship with fame and celebrity?”
I feel like I might have bitten off a little more than I can chew in my final client, but I am really excited about this project. I like the idea of working with that cognitive dissonance of when a personal story does not align with the dominant narrative within their culture. I like the idea that therapists are “question smiths”, inviting other things to consider (Zamani, 2021). I love that the main focus of Narrative is identity, that that we are giving back power to our clients. To engender hope that the story is one of always becoming and that the client is in charge of what dominant or alternative discourses they want to ascribe to. And it really gives my brain some gymnastics to try and go from the outside in, instead of the inside out. The world and context has more influence than we think and that gets lost a lot of the time (Zamani, 2021).
Gehart, D. R. (2018). Mastering competencies in family therapy: A practical approach to theory and clinical case documentation. Cengage Learning.
Heath, T., & Arroyo, P. (2015). Spitting truth from my soul: A case story of rapping, probation, and the narrative practices. Part I. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 34(3), 77-90.
Lombard, C. A. (2014). Coping with anxiety and rebuilding identity: A psychosynthesis approach to culture shock. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 27(2), 174-199.