As I reflect on 2021 I realise that it has been a year of reconnecting with Narrative Therapy in very significant ways. One of the gifts of the Covid-pandemic has been the wonderful learning opportunities that became available on-line. Although the social isolation has been very difficult it has provided me with more time to focus on my professional development.
A very significant learning opportunity presented itself when Stephen Madigan invited me to attend the 30 hour Advanced Narrative Therapy course offered by Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy Training (VSNT) at the beginning of the year. This course put me in touch with some of the recent developments in Narrative Therapy. It also gave me the opportunity to connect with experienced colleagues who teach this work all over the world and to participate in lively and stimulating discussions. I could participate in all of this in the comfort of my own home over two weekends – no travelling expenses and loss of time from my practice. What a gift!
This experience ignited a renewed interest in reading, researching and re-thinking my own practice and the training that I offer. I will share some of the resources that I find particularly useful with you in the next few Narrative Therapy Newsletters:
I re-read Narrative Therapy (2nd Edition) by Stephen Madigan, 2019. I love the way in which Stephen writes about the history of Narrative Therapy and the theory that informs it. There is also a very informative chapter on the latest developments in the field, many of which I was exposed to in the Advanced Narrative Therapy course. What a great book to offer to colleagues who wish to understand the background, practices and developments of this work – for new-comers and experienced practitioners alike
I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading articles from the free on-line Journal of Contemporary Narrative Therapy (JCNT) Editors: David Epston, Tom Stone Carlson, Sanni Paljakka, marcela Polanco which you can find at: https://www.journalcnt.com/. What a precious gift these practice-based articles are to the Narrative Therapy community. Do yourself a favour and go and find out about the work in the fields of grief and palliative care, couple therapy, in-sider witness work and working with children, to name but a few.
I have added a few pages with lists of resources that I can recommend to my website. You can find it at: http://elizemorkel.co.za/what-is-narrative-therapy/
It has been a rewarding year for the Consultation Groups. We had to alternate between on-line meetings and meeting in person. We found the teaching videos of Johnella Bird’s – Constructing Narratives to make a Difference – a rich and meaningful resource. Going through the booklet and exercises slowly and re-acquainting ourselves with relational language was an excellent learning experience. The regular contact with colleagues provided a safe space to discuss and share our experiences as we lived through the pandemic and all the losses and trauma that it brought to our lives. The groups also provided opportunities to discuss our work in the increasing demands for services that we experienced these past two years.
The past week has been a definite highlight for me as eight colleagues joined me for the first One Week Intensive workshop in my new living space at the foot of the Helderberg. Despite it being the end of a very busy year, I felt energized and excited to share the revised workshop content with the group of enthusiastic psychologists and counsellor from Cancer Care. Space restrictions limited our numbers and this proved to be an asset. You can read some of the feedback from participants at: http://elizemorkel.co.za/workshop-test/intensive-workshop-level-1/
Plans for 2022:
Consultation Groups: These groups meet monthly (9 meetings per year to accommodate school holidays) for 2 hours of discussion of literature and examples from our therapy work. Please contact us to put your name on the list. We will finalize the groups, meeting times and dates early in January when registration will open. Group meetings will start in February 2022.
Couples Therapy workshop: A number of colleagues expressed an interest in attending a couples therapy workshop. We will finalize dates in January 2022, depending on the interest expressed. Please assist us by putting your name on the list of interested people. Just send Belinda an email.
One Week Intensive: I will definitely offer an Intensive at the end of 2022, but if there is enough interest I might also do one in the first semester. Please let us know whether you are interested and spread the word about this foundation phase Narrative Therapy training.
Thank you for your support. May you have a very peaceful and joyous festive season and stay safe.