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A Story to Live and Work By Religion and spirituality in the self-narratives of Scottish Counsellors Alette Willis, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow The.

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Presentation on theme: "A Story to Live and Work By Religion and spirituality in the self-narratives of Scottish Counsellors Alette Willis, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow The."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Story to Live and Work By Religion and spirituality in the self-narratives of Scottish Counsellors Alette Willis, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow The Theology and Therapy Project, School of Divinity Social Work Seminar, 27 March 2012

2 Outline of Seminar Introduction Theology and Therapy Project Importance of Stories to Live By Reading and Witnessing Others Stories to Live By Discussion Summary and Conclusions

3 Introduction Counsellors and Social Workers use practical personal knowledge in their professional work PPK draws on self –Experiences –Stories attached to experiences –Impacted by societal stories Story to Live By = professional self Stories Matter

4 Project Aims to understand the ways psychotherapy, Christianity, and a new language of spirituality intertwined post 1945 focusing on Scotland, but connecting to the UK –how did psychotherapy in post-war Scotland borrow and adapt Christian ideas and practices? –how did Christianity in post-war Scotland adopt and translate psychotherapeutic ideas and practices? –how was the Scottish fusion of psychotherapy and Christianity exported to England?

5 Scope and Funding Two and a half-year project Funded by Religion & Society Programme, –Arts and Humanities Research Council –Economic and Social Research Council Archival research Oral Histories (15+1)

6 Why Oral Histories? Growth of counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland 1960s, 1970s, 1980s –not a great deal of the everyday written down –key people involved in their 60s, 70s, 80s Valuing of individual lives Self as fundamentally embedded in culture and society Narrative

7 Counselling Organizations Related in Some Way to Churches Scottish Marriage Care –Catholic Marriage Advisory Council –Catholic The Tom Allan Centre (Glasgow) –Church of Scotland Davidson Clinic (Edinburgh) –Senior church figures on board of governors (Church of Scotland, Episcopal and Catholic)

8 Religion and spirituality in the lives of key people Winifred Rushforth psychotherapeutic treatment can bring about miracles of healing which are the fulfilment of Divine purpose Davidson Clinic, became Wellspring

9 Counselling Ideas in Pastoral Care Dr Frank Lake (English) Clinical Theology Practical Theology (New College, University of Edinburgh) Transactional Analysis in Church of Scotland small group work SIHR consulting to Scottish Episcopal Synod

10 Why do Our Findings Matter? Increasing dominance of medicalized story of counselling and psychotherapy Clients bring religion and spirituality to therapy room Therapists bring religion and spirituality to therapy room People draw on narrative resources in developing Stories to Live By

11 Follow-on Project Aims To engage in knowledge exchange around the findings of our project with counsellors, pastoral care workers and other interested groups –How might our findings be useful to individual counsellors and pastoral care workers? –How might reframing the storied lives of individuals challenge, change or shape broader social discourses?

12 Professional Identity and Story A Story to Live By, Connelly and Clandinin Knowledge used in practice is closely tied to personal identity The self as means and tool of professional practice Phronetic (Aristotle via Flyvbjerg), experiential knowledge (rather than technical) Narrative knowledge

13 Narrative Knowing Told in a present context drawing selectively on past experience pointing to some desired future Events become experience through their incorporation into narratives Integral to ethical decision making: what should I do?

14 Narrative Identity The self comes into being with question: what ought I to do? (Frank) Dialogical (even if imagined) Must be intelligible in the context –Narrative resources –Societal stories matter Talk therapies work with narrative selves –Narrative Therapy Practical personal knowledge is storied and tied to narrative selves

15 Narrative Knowledge Exchange Narrative engages emotions and empathy Thinking with rather than about others self-narratives –Vs monologues and mergers Amplifies alternate practical personal knowledge

16 Stories to Live By of Scottish Counsellors 16 oral histories –Counsellors and Psychotherapists –Members of clergy Counsellors and psychotherapists –Story of professional origins –Experiences of practice –Conflicts with externally imposed storylines –Exits and/or intentions for future Particular context was a study of religion, spirituality and development of counselling

17 Stories to Live By Molly Ken Mary

18 Questions (Narrative Therapy) what captures my attention and/or my imagination? What is it in particular that captures my attention or imagination? What images of people's lives, identities, relationships, and the world are evoked? To which areas of my current life do these images and events relate, and in what ways? Do any experiences or events in my past resonate with these images? In what specific ways? In what ways am I becoming other than who I was by re-engaging with my own life and work in dialogue with this story?


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