Interweaving Narrative Methods Into a Mandala of Transformational Practices

Interweaving Narrative Methods Into a Mandala of Transformational Practices

Susan Mossman Riva
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9251-9.ch016
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Narrative therapy can be understood as part of a narrative continuum where generative story threads are interwoven into a mandala of transformational practices. Individual and social transformation is elicited by narrative practices that reinforce narrative coherency. Through engagement with narrative methods, phases of narrative practice and inquiry are analyzed, revealing the emergence of narrative concrescence within an integrated narrative framework. Autoethnography, narrative therapy, narrative mediation, narrative conflict resolution, and transformational learning using “transformagram portfolios” can be understood as connected storying practices contained in mediatorship. This holistic approach to narrative methods creates linkages that further the generative potential of narrative practices as illustrated in case studies. By reinforcing narrative coherency in the noosphere, “narrative truth” can be generated and used as a guiding force in a post-truth era.
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Narrative therapy can be regarded as a transversal approach that can be applied to different forms of therapeutic interventions and professional practices. When conflicts and illnesses are perceived to be interconnected, narrative therapy and narrative conflict resolution can be practiced together, using an integral approach based on narrative methods aligned with the appropriate practice pathway. Narrative therapy can be imagined as an integral part of an integrated continuum framework. When practitioners working in therapy, naturopathy, mediation, and conflict resolution adhere to a holistic vision, the components of narrative therapy can be adapted and interwoven into specific contexts. Narrative therapy can also be integrated within transformative pedagogies to train future practitioners providing an experiential approach for adult learners.

As narrative therapy recognizes the importance of power relationships, using references from anthropology and the social sciences, it provides an analytical framework for understanding the causes of both illnesses and conflicts. By working with narratives, intrapersonal conflicts as well as illnesses are shown to be interconnected. When these multiple layers of relationships are analyzed, they reveal a form of “linkedness”. Generating reflexivity, through the analytic process brings forth narrative coherence and concrescence using a relational lens (Rankin, 2002). This approach spans a continuum ranging from the local and personal to the global and societal. This “glocal” paradigm provides a vision of increased planetary relatedness.

Autoethnography is a powerful performance pedagogy and narrative practice that generates self-transformation (Denzin, 2014, p.80). When it is integrated into the narrative therapy continuum, it can be used to elicit transformational processes within the larger relational matrix. Duoethnography can also be used to create a dialogical space to increase reflexivity. This method can be used in higher education to foster deeper understanding while providing an experiential pedagogy as part of the transformational learning process. “Grounded in social justice, duoethnography has been used purposefully to promote change” (Sawyer and Norris, 2012, p. 3).

This chapter will illustrate how narrative therapy can be used in a transversal manner, eliciting connectivity throughout the therapeutic continuum process. A mandala of narrative practices can be interwoven into an integrated framework that can be adapted to various professional postures while remaining connected to the fundamental concepts and practices developed in narrative therapy.

Case studies will be presented to show how narrative therapy was adapted to multiple contexts to foster transformational processes. Narrative inquiry englobes a large spectrum of methods that can cultivate transformative pathways for individuals, families, and communities. Narrative methods like narrative therapy and narrative conflict resolution engender flyways that lead to wellbeing, constructive problem-solving, and social transformation.

Individual and social transformation will be presented within an integrated framework, showing how narrative approaches are transversal, interconnected, and multilayered. These approaches can be imagined as an interwoven mandala of methods that together elicit generative processes. Mediatorship, is a vessel or container of these transformational processes that use narrative methods as a vehicle for transportation.

In the following sections narrative mediation with political asylum seekers and within intercultural contexts, narrative inquiry research methods, transformative pedagogies, auto/duoethnography, as well as community based participatory research will be recollected to demonstrate how narrative therapy is a foundational practice that can be applied to varying contexts using narrative methods.

Interdisciplinary and relational approaches can be used in conjunction with narrative methods to foster social transformation, especially when they are adapted to meet the needs of scholar practitioners with different professional postures. The core components of narrative therapy will be presented in a way that reveals a form of generative “linkedness” where narrative therapy is nested within an integrated continuum of narrative practices.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Life-o-Grams: Holographic representations of life history.

Duoethnography: An ethnographic method where authors incorporate their reflexive writing process in a shared text.

Gnothi Seuton: Concept from the Greek Wisdom Tradition, “know thyself.”

Earthship: Living in a conscious relationship with Earth.

Transformagrams: Transformational processes.

Community-Based Participatory Research: A form of participatory research that integrates community members in a participatory research process.

Mediatorship: The function or position of a mediator, and a vessel of connectivity that contains an integrated framework of mediation practices.

Homing In: Refers to the ability to find one’s way by activating an inner compass.

Viriditas: The greening, generative power in nature.

Glovircal: The global and local linked through virtual landscapes.

Autoethnography: An ethnographic method where the author uses a biographical approach.

Holy Grail Way: Is a legend and metaphor referring to the questing process.

Noosphere: Planetary mind.

Narrative Concrescence: A process that moves from coherency, to congruency, to concrescence or an intricate coming together of narrative strands in a form of increasing wholeness.

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