The term narrative is important for many reasons; it is the means by which we recount our lives, the events, emotions and experiences that make up the patchwork of our existence. It is the core of each interpersonal relationship, and it has become a continual theme throughout my working career. The fundamental basis of mental health care is the trust and confidence built through the power of working relationships, enabling people to tell their stories.
Documenting our work also presents a conflict between the dominance of bureaucratic tick-box approaches and the need to represent someone through a narrative of their lives. Then there is narrative therapy as a psychotherapeutic approach to talking treatments. This episode concludes by outlining two of the core components of narrative therapy, before the next episode which will take the form of an interview with a friend and colleague who has trained in narrative therapy.
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“We construct a narrative for ourselves, and that’s the thread we follow from one day to the next. People who disintegrate as personalities are the ones who lose that thread.” [Paul Benjamin].
As western industrialised societies have drifted into a post-industrial service industries world, one thing proliferates more than the most infectious of diseases… bureaucracy! Now anything to do with paper, or its electronic offspring, reigns supreme. Managing, auditing and regulating have become effective barriers to creativity and innovation.
The new mantra is standardisation, systematisation, uniformity and safety… conformity ensures mediocrity will be the outer limits of permitted imagination. Do the children of today dream and aspire to become a bureaucrat when they grow up? Do they loose sleep over the excitement of their first suit and form to fill? Take with a large degree of caution any bureaucrat promising to reduce the plethora of bureaucracy. It is not in their interests to free up other people to exercise their talents, initiative and decision-making skills.
To access the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):
“Bureaucracies force us to practice nonsense. And if you rehearse nonsense, you may one day find yourself the victim of it.” [Laurence Gonzales].