In our journey to explore the application of narrative ideas and practices across the diverse culture of India, the mental health team from Ummeed Child Development Center was invited by Preeti Broker, Child & Adolescent therapist to the beautiful city of Pune. Raviraj Shetty and I conducted a two day workshop on Introducing the Narrative ideas and practices.The two days were spent exploring the key ideas that underpin narrative practice and exploring rich story development.  Most of the participants were teachers, counsellors and supervisors working in educational settings.

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What really stood out to us while facilitating the  workshop was the readiness of all the participants to take on the ideas of people as meaning makers, stories as a frame or lens for meaning making, Life is multi-storied, not single storied, and people having expertise regarding their own lives.

Most participants shared how they were moved to consider and be aware of assumptions they may hold and expressed an interest in exploring skills and knowledge that families have and use to respond to difficulties they are confronted with.

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Our hope and intention for having these gatherings has been to explore how these ideas can be taken up and used in different ways, in multiple contexts of work. We are particularly keen to see how narrative ways of working can support therapists, teachers, supervisors, doctors and community workers in their desire to be helpful to the people they work with. Hearing participant’s reflections and stories helps supports our intention.

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It makes our lives as trainers more richly described and keeps us thinking about new ways to share the ideas that have influenced and supported our work over the last decade.

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Written by: Jehanzeb Baldiwala.

Jehanzeb Baldiwala is a therapist, supervisor, trainer and part of Ummeed Child Development Center’s management team since 2004. She has aligned herself with narrative ways of working over the past ten years. Her work at Ummeed includes consulting with families and children in responding to a range of issues that include anxiety, depression, school related issues etc in addition to training and supervising the mental health team at Ummeed. She was instrumental in developing a year long Mental Health Training Program in collaboration with Narrative Practices Adelaide and Reauthoring Teaching, Vermont. Currently, she is working with her team to pilot a training program that focuses on teaching community workers narrative ways to work with families in Hindi. She has also helped with the design, implementation and documentation of supervision processes at Ummeed.

Formerly Director of Family Support and Social Rehabilitation Services at North East Community Center, Philadelphia, USA, she has a Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Mumbai.

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