Leuven3 Something Totally Random

Saturday: Workshop 2

Narrative Practice for speech and language therapists: stories and identities.
Saturday, February 11 2023

Speakers: Mary O'Dwyer, PhD, is a speech and language therapist who works with children and adults who stutter and their families. Her main interest is in supporting people to gain knowledge about stuttering and openness about being a person who stutters. Narrative practice is a main component in her work. She has researched and published on the topic.
Fiona Ryan, PhD, is a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist working collaboratively with children, adolescents and adults who stutter. A graduate of the ECSF, her research interests include exploring a narrative approach to therapy particularly children's creative expression and responses to resisting existing dominant narratives of stuttering.

Narrative Practice (NP) was developed by White and Epston (1990; 1998) and is "a respectful, non-blaming approach...which centres people as the experts in their own lives" (Morgan, 2000). People seeking help and support are facilitated to re-author a problem-based story to a preferred narrative that better fits with their hopes, dreams and ambitions for living through focusing on their skills and strengths.

This workshop will introduce the principles of NP and applications of NP to working with people who stutter. Personal stories develop and change within the context of wider discourses about stuttering; some of which are based on normalising practices. The recognition and the deconstruction of dominant discourses which do not fit for an individual is a key component of narrative practice.

In this workshop, some of the "taken for granted" assumptions that underlie therapeutic practices will be identified. Key concepts within narrative practice will be explored including externalization, re-authoring, thin and thick descriptions, absent but implicit aspects of identity and the interaction between identity and action. Examples will be provided which are drawn from clinical practice and the workshop will invite participants to actively explore narrative processes.