In July the Mental Health team attended a conference in Vermont by Re-Authoring and Teaching. The conference explored the use of narrative maps in Responding to trauma and difficulties in people’s lives and conducted a workshop which involved live interviews: finding your way in narrative conversation. For me it was the first time I experienced narrative practitioners from different parts of the world coming together and forming a community.
Now back home and thinking of my experience I recall the week being intense yet fascinating, I learned so much that it was only later I was able to reflect on my feelings and thoughts. I think what particularly stood out to me were the live interviews, I found them complex and yet I felt it was where I learned the most. Being new to narrative practices I often find it hard to scaffold questions and tease apart often subtle preferred stories. Watching Maggie in the live interviews let me witness skills first hand and really think about what I did in my sessions and what I can do differently.
What I found particularly useful was at the end when the audience was allowed to ask questions and reflect on the experience of witnessing the interview and exploring Maggie’s intentions behind asking specific questions. I must admit I was in awe at the level of thought that was put into each question and the ability to adapt questions in really difficult points in the conversation while continuing rich story development.
However what really brought the whole conference together for me was the narrative community, it was such an uplifting experience to feel a part of the community. Different therapists from all over the globe sharing their work, ideas and journeys. The experience of having like-minded people in the same place with same intentions is extremely moving.
I found it so interesting how people were using narrative ideas differently each cultural adapting it’s principles and ideals to fit their society’s needs. The respect, humor and acceptance of each person could really be witnessed and experienced. Looking back I think what made this community different from others was the fact that it wasn’t bound with social hierarchy there was a free exchange of thoughts and feelings and an unconditional acceptance of ideas.
I would like to end this with a quote that describes my feelings of my journey so far and my hopes for the future.
“Some journeys don’t have endings, they lead to new beginnings. These are the journeys that lead to great adventures!” -Alex Haditaghi
This article was written by Tanya Percy Vasunia
Junior Counselor, Mental Health Team, Ummeed Child Development Center