Children's 'Know-How': Narrative Therapy with Children & Families

What if we conceive of our meetings with children and their families as arenas in which that which has been made invisible or overshadowed by problems can be seen and shared?  Imagine if in these forums children can separate from ‘being defined as the problem’ and move towards being known through there skills, abilities, and wonderful expressions of life.  This workshop will present narrative practices to address the very serious problems faced by children, youth, and their families. Through engaging the wisdom of children and their family members a constellation of skills and abilities can be discovered and utilized to address problems.  Therapeutic practices will be presented that engage hard to reach children, bring forward their abilities and open possibility for revised understandings of self and life.  In any arena the audience plays an important role.  We will discuss how family members can be invited to be supports of change, co-therapists, and witnesses to preferred developments. This engagement with children meets them in their world of play, learning, and fun.  Story becomes an inviting playground in which to adventure and discover the hopes and wishes children act upon to get by and handle tough times.  This workshop will invite you to extend your skills in listening, practice, and creativity.  The material will be introduced through conversation, video example, and experiential skill practice.  In this process children’s skills, resources and abilities may be used to counter even the most serious problems such as the effects of trauma, the misuse of anger, worry, ADHD, and other understandings of life.

Together we will explore:

  • The key concepts of narrative therapy as it relates to working with children and families,
  • Ways of talking about problems as separate from the identities of children and how this relates to how children come to know themsleves,
  • Specific questions to bringing forth the skills, abilities, and counter-problem activities children and families employ.
  • Seriously playful means to document, expand and support alternate stories through crafting ‘take-home documents’ such as storybooks, testaments, and lists that involve meaningful audience members in witnessing progress.

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© Scot J. Cooper Inc. 2016