Moving stories: creating a dialogical space for reflexive storytelling about family
Subject Categories::C880 Social Psychology
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AbstractThis inquiry is set in and against the backdrop of my personal and professional experience as a family member, as a social worker in adoption, as a relationship therapist in independent practice, and as a family therapist in a licenced fertility clinic. Over the years, I have practised from within a number of different therapeutic approaches and I have come to value a collaborative way of working that positions the people with whom I am working as the narrator of their own lives. My position as therapist then is to co-create the conditions in the therapeutic arena for people to tell and reflect on stories about their lived experience in families. The invitation to tell stories about family, the storytelling itself, the witnessing and the process of sense-making enables reflexive and collaborative conversation that is designed to extend people’s stories about the possibilities of what a family can be like and become. In this thesis I offer stories about family from my personal and professional lives. These are mostly constructed as conversational narratives and are intended to mirror what I am calling the collaborative, co-creative and reflexive etho-methodology of narrative social constructionist therapeutic conversation. I discuss how the stories we tell about our lives are generative of narratives which influence the meanings of our past, current and future relationships. I discuss how storytelling is not only a description of relational matters but also opens relational possibilities. This study focuses on the creating of dialogical and reflexive space for generative storytelling. I show how we weave our personal lives from skeins of imagination, memories and stories provided by our family history, the time in which we live and the culture that we live in. I discuss the ethical implications of storytelling practices from within the living moment of them occurring - in professional practice, in everyday life, in research writing and in terms of making this material publicly available. In both this research study and my professional practice, I combine social constructionist and narrative theory with an ethnographical methodology. The influence of social construction on narrative practice proposes that we and our ideas about relationships are co-created and re-created within relationships. The professional practice and the research processes are driven by an onto-epistemological ethos where becoming and learning are understood as intertwined, emergent and mutually shaping. As a method of inquiry autoethnography acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality and the researchers influence on the research. I often say to people with whom I am working therapeutically that we are engaged in a kind of collaborative research process. In my professional practice, reflexive conversations and reflexive writing open up possibilities for people to change the relationship with their own history. The writing stories from my own life as part of my research practice has mirrored what I do in my everyday professional practice with similar outcomes.
CitationBöhme, H. (2020) 'Moving Stories. Creating a dialogical space for reflexive storytelling about family'. Professional Doctorate thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Professional Doctorate thesis
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