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The Narrative Therapy Initiative at the Salem Center | Nov. 8-9

Thu, November 8, 2012

Un-doing Normal: Clinical Skills that Open Space Between People & Contemporary Norms

Date: Thurs. & Fri. Nov. 8 & 9, 2012, 8:30am - 3:30pm
St. Andrew's Church
135 Lafayette St.,
Marblehead, MA 01945
Presented by:
Stephen R. Gaddis, Ph.D.
with Kelley L. Cook, LICSW
Raluca Honciuc, MSW
Zoe Kessler, MSW
Matt Mooney, LICSW
Sally Reagan, MA, MFT
Omar Ruiz, MSW
Tracy Starr, MS, FT

This conference addresses the influence of social norms in shaping our clients' views of themselves and the problems they are up against. Understanding the relationship between clients' personal stories and the influence of social norms has clinically significant implications and can be understood as a social justice practice.

Socially constructed Western norms can cause people to think of themselves as personal failures for not measuring up to what supposedly counts as morally right, impressive, good, admirable, etc. For example, Western norms suggest people should be assertive, independent, rational, healthy, perfect, strong, happy, fun, outgoing, and ideally, married with children. The internalization of these norms can help sustain clients, pathological views of themselves supporting a sense of powerlessness, hopelessness, and despair. This conference explores the opportunities that arise for practitioners when we see part of our "clinical" role as respectfully collaborating with clients to destabilize the internalization of these norms.

The conference presenters have a shared narrative post-structural perspective and will share practice-based stories from their various work contexts. Stephen Gaddis will present morning workshops each day designed to illustrate the intersection of theory and practice. Advanced-level practitioners currently studying narrative therapy will provide 45-minute presentations demonstrating how they are bringing narrative ideas to their particular work contexts and interests. These include reflection on working with adults who were subject to sex trafficking as minors, families attempting to respond to issues of sexual abuse, trauma, therapeutic witnessing and audience-ing, the intersections of Latino and U.S. culture, children's ways of being in psychotherapy, and other topics. These presentations are intended to bring the audience in close to ways these ideas are influencing real practice. After each 45-minute presentation, an open dialog will be facilitated for participants to share what has been interesting and meaningful for them.

About Narrative Therapy
Narrative therapy is a therapy approach based on the idea that people are not problems. Instead, problems are  understood as internalized stories that have become taken-for-granted truths about their life and relationships.  Narrative therapists focus on assisting clients in the co-development of new stories that do justice to clients' hopes and values, and to witness the new steps clients take in line with these narratives. Narrative therapy is a strengths-based, collaborative, and highly rewarding approach for clients and therapists, which emphasizes the importance of subjective meaning-making and power relations in all dimensions of life.

Stephen Gaddis, Ph.D.
Stephen Gaddis Ph.D. is the Director of The Narrative Therapy Initiative at The Salem Center in Salem, MA. He has studied, practiced, and taught narrative therapy since 1944. He earned his International Postgraduate Diploma in Narrative Therapy at The Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, Australia, and also taught narrative therapy at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Currently, he has a full time narrative therapy and supervision practice, and teaches narrative therapy at Salem State University and Boston college.

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For more information:

Email us at [email protected] or
Call 978-741-2691 or
Visit narrativetherapyinitiative.wikispaces.com

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