STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS: NARRATIVE PRACTICES IN SUPPORT OF FRONTLINE COMMUNITY WORK WITH HOMELESSNESS, MENTAL HEALTH, AND SUBSTANCE USE

Brian Dean Williams, Barbara Baumgartner

Abstract


In the context of starting a Housing First Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team, the authors describe their use of Narrative Therapy and Narrative Practices while working alongside individuals facing problems with homelessness, mental health challenges, and substance use. As many front line community workers responding to such problems are not trained counsellors, the authors provide an overview to Narrative Therapy, its key concepts, and how workers might use Narrative Practices as a non-expert, anti-oppressive, and social justice response. To illustrate the concepts and how they translate into everyday conversations with workers, Roy, a participant of the ACT program, shares his story of resistance to the influences of stigma and substances. Roy also offers a reflection on this paper. Practice questions are suggested to support alternative story development, and the relevance for child, youth, and family work is suggested.

Keywords


narrative therapy, narrative practices, housing first, assertive community treatment, ACT, substance use, addictions, mental illness, mental health, homelessness

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International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies

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© University of Victoria
Victoria, BC Canada

 

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