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Relational Co-Research in Narrative Training and Supervision.

Co-Authors: Dean Lobovits, M.A. and Emily C. Seidel, M.S.W.


Therapists are traditionally trained to research and analyze persons and groups with respect to their "normal" and "pathological" characteristics. Narrative co-research on the other hand, focuses on developing an understanding of the culturally oppressive means and influence of a problem on a person and the liberating influence of a person over a problem. This paper will provide a case example of narrative training interviews about a trainee's previous research with battered women. The individual narratives of the women that the trainee conversed with in her research interviews are privileged over any expert or amalgamated conclusions about the research material. These women's unique accounts of their experiences with domestic violence then become the focus of a collaborative inquiry by trainer and trainee. Narrative questions are utilized to elicit what Geertz(1973) has discussed as a "thick description" of a cultural event (the problem/person relationship) from the multiple and local points of view available. Rich and unique accounts of the relative influences of both the problem and the person are then gathered together to develop what Epston(in press) has characterized as a "problem ethnography". This information is then made available for further circulation and co-research in narrative therapies. The first section of the paper delineates the structure of a problem ethnography training interview. The second section describes the relational co-research position and the qualities of fostering collaboration, valuing emotional experiences, engaging in empowering relationships and diminishing the effects of existing hierarchies.

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