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Co-constructing Non-verbal Narratives: Narrative Scrapbooking as a Meaning-making Tool in Bereavement

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Co-constructing Non-verbal Narratives: Narrative Scrapbooking as a Meaning-making Tool in Bereavement

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This presentation overviews the technique of Narrative Scrapbooking, a clinical approach developed to access and convey non-verbal processes in grief. Using contemporary constructivist, narrative, and existential-humanistic theories, this presentation delineates case examples of narrative scrapbooking from the student’s clinical experience working with bereaved family members.

This presentation overviews the technique of Narrative Scrapbooking, a clinical approach developed to access and convey non-verbal processes in grief. Using contemporary constructivist, narrative, and existential-humanistic theories, this presentation delineates case examples of narrative scrapbooking from the student’s clinical experience working with bereaved family members.

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Co-constructing Non-verbal Narratives: Narrative Scrapbooking as a Meaning-making Tool in Bereavement

  1. 1. Co-constructing Non-verbal Narratives: Narrative Scrapbooking as a Meaning-making Tool in Bereavement Elizabeth Maier M.A., Ph.D. Candidate Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Clinical Psychology Track, Creative Expression Track Palo Alto, California, USA Presented July 19 th , 2006 Constructivist Psychology Network Conference San Marcos, California, USA
  2. 2. Narrative Scrapbooking (NS) <ul><li>NS is a creative and co-constructed process: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructivism as a philosophy of participation (Mahoney, 2003) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Based in a compassionate and empathic human relatedness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Helping to create and re-create reality in a constructive, hopeful atmosphere </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 4. Narrative Scrapbooking (NS) <ul><li>Therapist and client co-constitute an atmosphere: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating a visual teleonomic narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Narrative as defined by Plato’s The Republic is a story which has a beginning, middle, and ending (William Labov, 2006) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 5. Narrative Scrapbooking (NS) <ul><li>Therapist and client co-constitute an atmosphere: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating a visual teleonomic narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teleonomic refers to the ever-emergent quality of the narrative as it develops </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Patterns become clear in retrospect and are not necessarily apparent at the start </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 6. Structure <ul><li>NS is a visual journaling technique: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beginning with an accordion-style book </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focusing upon an intention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intentions are verbally shared in the group </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intuitively collecting images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Images come from books, magazines, photographs, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Piecing together the mosaic </li></ul></ul>
  6. 8. Distinguishing Narrative Scrapbooking Tend to limit the range of emotional expression Negotiates with one’s capacity and need for emotional expression Focus on a concrete outcome Focuses on process Scrapbooking Hobbies Narrative Scrapbooking
  7. 10. <ul><li>The teleonomic process of NS mirrors human personality development by recognizing themes after the fact. </li></ul><ul><li>Similarly, grief therapists are approaching a new postmodern concept of grief. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grief as a non-linear and often cyclical experience (Neimeyer, 2001) </li></ul></ul></ul>NS and Grief
  8. 11. Dennis Klass (2001) Inner Representation Model <ul><li>Ethnographic study started in 1978: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To better understand the experience of child loss from bereaved parents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed an overall picture of the inner and social worlds of bereaved parents </li></ul></ul>
  9. 12. Dennis Klass (2001) Inner Representation Model <ul><li>Found: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parents maintain continuing bonds with the representation of the Deceased Child </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Degree to which parents feel integrated and resolved about their grieving is related to the integration of the inner representation in the parents’ social world </li></ul></ul>
  10. 13. What NS proposes to do: <ul><li>Help participants in group setting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access their emotional states </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Receive empathic support and reassurance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolve (as much as can be) or reduce the distress associated with the grief </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Co-construct new narrative around distressing event or experience </li></ul></ul>
  11. 14. How does NS achieve this? <ul><li>In sync with Kennedy-Moore and Watson’s (2001) survey on how and when emotional expression helps, NS aims to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce distress about distress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitate insight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affect interpersonal relationship </li></ul></ul>
  12. 15. Facilitation <ul><li>Ensuring memory as constructive narrative: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognizing the root of the distressing emotion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing the way in which the client expresses the emotion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Externalizing the process so as to gain a witness consciousness </li></ul></ul>
  13. 16. Case Study of Grieving Mother <ul><ul><li>45 year old woman </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lost her daughter, age 4, to a life- limiting illness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workshop Participant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In a group setting </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewed afterward </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 18. Expect a Miracle Nursing Essential A Gift for Healing Discovering Wisdom Life Prayers
  15. 19. Inner Creative How to See Within Reach In search of answers Mommy & Me
  16. 20. Spiritual Parenting Conscious Dreaming LOVE
  17. 21. GROWTH Complete Metamorphosis MOMENT The Return of the Mother Leading a Life that Matters
  18. 23. Future Work
  19. 24. Digital Scrapbooking <ul><li>Digital Scrapbooking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Manipulating Digital Imagery </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Online digital scrapbooking groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bringing together online communities for support and creative sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasts for Demonstration and ‘Live’ support </li></ul></ul>
  20. 25. <ul><li>“ This is my interpretation of what it has been like for me, but I’m learning more about the intent and meaning of it. People hear my voice and then it becomes part of them. People can learn from their sharing of their books. I do believe they are meant to be shared.” </li></ul><ul><li> ~Karen Herzog, Feb. 4, ‘05 </li></ul>
  21. 27. References <ul><li>Kennedy-Moore, E., & Watson, J. (2001). How and when does emotional expression help. Review of General Psychology, 5 (3), 187-212. </li></ul><ul><li>Klass, D. (2001). The inner representation of the dead child in the psychic and social narratives of bereaved parents. In Neimeyer, R.A. (Ed.), Meaning reconstruction and the experience of loss, pp. 77-94. Washington, DC; APA. </li></ul><ul><li>Labov, W. (2006). Narrative pre-construction. Narrative Inquiry, 16 (1), soon-to-be published. </li></ul><ul><li>Mahoney, M. (2003). Constructive psychotherapy: A practical guide. New York: Guilford Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Malchiodi, C. A. (2002). The soul’s palette: Drawing on art’s transformative powers for health and well-being . Boston: Shambala. </li></ul><ul><li>Neimeyer, R. A. (Ed.) (2001). Meaning reconstruction and the experience of loss . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. </li></ul>

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