Narrative in Social Work Practice

The Power and Possibility of Story

Edited by Ann Burack-Weiss, Lynn Sara Lawrence, and Lynne Bamat Mijangos. Foreword by Rita Charon

Columbia University Press

Narrative in Social Work Practice

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Pub Date: August 2017

ISBN: 9780231173612

296 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $35.00£27.95

Pub Date: August 2017

ISBN: 9780231173605

296 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $105.00£87.95

Pub Date: August 2017

ISBN: 9780231544726

296 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£27.95

Narrative in Social Work Practice

The Power and Possibility of Story

Edited by Ann Burack-Weiss, Lynn Sara Lawrence, and Lynne Bamat Mijangos. Foreword by Rita Charon

Columbia University Press

Narrative in Social Work Practice features first-person accounts by social workers who have successfully integrated narrative theory and approaches into their practice. Contributors describe innovative and effective interventions with a wide range of individuals, families, and groups facing a variety of life challenges. One author describes a family in crisis when a promising teenage girl suddenly takes to her bed for several years; another brings narrative practice to a Bronx trauma center; and another finds that poetry writing can enrich the lives of people living with dementia. In some chapters, the authors turn narrative techniques inward and use them as vehicles of self-discovery. Settings range from hospitals and clinics to a graduate school and a case management agency. Throughout, Narrative in Social Work Practice showcases the flexibility and appeal of narrative methods and demonstrates how they can be empowering and fulfilling for clients and social workers alike.

The differential use of narrative techniques fulfills the mission and core competencies of the social work profession in creative and surprising ways. Stories of clients and workers are, indeed, powerful.
Brava! I congratulate the editors and contributors for this spellbinding book. I became engrossed in the various narratives, each presenting its own portrait of courage, resilience, and professional and personal discovery. The authors give voice to the hidden social work heroes who make a difference in people’s everyday lives. Thank you for sharing your commitment, your creativity, and your humanity. This book is a magnificent read! Alex Gitterman, University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Within the context of the helping process, our stories, our clients’ stories, and the stories of our time and times past enlighten social work practice. The complexities of humanity cannot be adequately understood through a digitalized format—well-crafted narrative continues to be a cornerstone of the social work profession. Narrative in Social Work Practice is a thoughtfully edited collection, essential for any social worker who wants to better understand why, when, and how we address the human condition. Thomas Sedgwick, vice-president, the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care
This pathbreaking book is essential reading for social work practitioners, educators, supervisors, and researchers and their allies in related professions and disciplines who focus on human dialogue, interpretation, memory, and creativity as tools of their trade. Barbara Levy Simon, Columbia University School of Social Work
This beautifully written book illustrates a variety of narrative methods and how they can be personalized in practice to reflect the unique experiences and skills of the individual social worker. For social workers and other helping professionals, this book is just the ticket. Martha Dore, Director of Social Work Research (ret.), Cambridge Child Guidance Center, Harvard University Department of Psychiatry
Foreword, by Rita Charon
Preface: A Carnival of Possibilities, by Ann Burack-Weiss
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Many Ways of Knowing, by Ann Burack-Weiss
Part I. Writing as Discovery and Healing
1. Stuck: An Intersection of Stories, by Lynne Bamat Mijangos
2. Garden at Vaucresson: It's Not All a Bed of Roses, by Lynn Sara Lawrence
3. Another Kind of Witnessing: Narrative Medicine and the Trauma Therapist, by Kristen Slesar
Part II. Narrative Social Work with Individuals and Families
4. The Reluctant Storyteller: The Use of Self in Narrative Social Work, by Millet Israeli
5. Grace Notes: Singing in Marion's Hospital Room, by Constance H. Gemson
6. One Family's Experience of Falling Out of Health: A Mother Remembers; a Daughter Reflects, by Jessica Greenbaum and Isabel Marcus
7. Scheherazade: The Social Worker as Interpreter of Social, Cultural, and Familial Maladies, by Judith Levi
8. Sharing a Narrative Meal: The Therapeutic Use of Narrative with Older Adults, by Lauren Taylor
Part III. Narrative Social Work with Groups
9. Storytelling and Listening to Combat HIV/AIDS: Stigma and Secrecy in Kenya, by Benaifer Bhadha
10. I Like Dancing and Singing and Prancing and Flinging: Using Poetry in Dementia Care, by Mary Hume
11. Jesse's Story: A Mother's Voice—a Social Work Journey, by Heidi Mandel
12. With Every Story We Rise: Narrative Means to Social Justice Ends, by Nora McCarthy and Rachel Blustain
Part IV. Narrative Social Work in Education, Supervision, and Research
13. Transnational Parenting: The Hidden Costs of the Search for a "Better Life", by Christiana Best-Giacomini
14. The Worker–Mentor Story: Narrative Approaches in Social Work Supervision, by Alicia Fry
15. Narrative Research: Discoveries in Listening to Clinician-Scholars' Experiences of Working Across Trauma and Loss, by Madelyn Miller
16. Reading and Writing Really Are Fundamental: How Stories Shape Professional Development, by Mary Sormanti
Conclusion: On Narrative Competence and Narrative Humility, by Ann Burack-Weiss, Lynn Sara Lawrence, and Lynne Bamat Mijangos
List of Contributors
Index

About the Author

Ann Burack-Weiss taught for thirty years at the Columbia University School of Social Work and is now associate faculty in Columbia’s Program in Narrative Medicine. She is the author of The Caregiver’s Tale: Loss and Renewal in Family Life (Columbia, 2006) and The Lioness in Winter: Writing an Old Woman’s Life (Columbia, 2015).

Lynn Sara Lawrence is a practicing psychotherapist in New York City. She has taught at the New York School for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and has contributed to Smith College Studies in Social Work and Psychoanalytic Social Work.

Lynne Bamat Mijangos is practicum supervisor for the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. She is the author of Baby Girl Mijangos (2004) and is a contributor to Virginia Woolf Miscellany.