Introduction to Narrative in Organizations Workshop

It’s amazing how you guys can bring a bunch of randoms together and it feels like home. What a great feeling.
— Jody Press
Today I am taking away that life experiences don’t have to silence or limit you. Narrative gives one an opportunity to be in a space where you discover limitless possibilities.
— Seipati Titipana
Thank you so much for today’s workshop. It was vital in reminding and re-enforcing key concepts and strategies that I am working on in the institution [that I am involved with.] Such as active witnessing, language and metaphor, fluidity and complexity in structures and processes; and ongoing work on building new ways of caring for and tending student and teacher personhoods. So many great stories today and refreshing theory, content, and practice.
— Julia Rosa Clark
I feel as if I’ve got a new means of a conversation that we can draw on to be able to give us a term of reference, [and] to be able to ignite people and opportunities [to] really turn dreams into reality.
— Mary Parr
Katy Menell, director/ facilitator at Prospect Hill Recovery Practice and a consultant at the Cape Town Creative Academy shares her experience of the workshop.
Zipho Falake, the project manager at Dream Factory Foundation, speaks about what se learned and experienced at the Introduction to Narrative in Organizations workshop that she attended on December 3rd. "Our problems are not us, we are not our problems...We can change who we are, how people see us and how we see ourselves."

Photo from Nathan.jpg

Thank you!

The principal of Kronendal Primary School in Hout Bay, Nathan Levendal, wrote a beautiful letter of thanks to two of the Co-op’s most loyal supporters. These donors made it possible for the school to take part in the Narrative Practice in Schools Voice Workshop.

Narrative Practice in Schools Voice Workshops

Kronendal Primary, Hout Bay, 2018

Wow! What a truly inspiring, and uplifting six hours that I spent in the Voice workshops. Listening to the two fantastic ladies relate how I can become empowered and aware, and how to help the children in my care, has been amazing. What an extraordinary gift you have given Kronendal school (and me).
Thank you for choosing our school. This has been a moving, exciting, happy, wonderful time. It didn’t fade between sessions. I felt it snowballed between each session.

Springfield Primary, 2017

Here is a sampler of the feedback we received from the school counsellors who attended our workshop at Springfield.

What I take home is to be more creative and not fall into the trap of becoming ‘so boring at times’ and getting stuck and frustrated. Through your approach to counselling, a new meaning emerges – so simple in many ways but yet so amazing and meaningful.
— Rosemarie
How can I even begin to tell you what I have gained from this experience? It has been a great joy to me personally, professionally, and interpersonally.
— Gabby
I simply love the approach that you (as Narrative therapists) take to empower people in our country to take a stand against bullying and abuse. It is a political issue...This is a dream come true. I can see that, as a therapeutic process, it is ‘decolonizing’ those attributes that we take on in South Africa: that we are not worthy; (that we) do not matter; (that we) have no part to play. Thank you for making visible the invisible.
— Lisa E.

Pinelands North Primary, 2017

Here are things some of the teachers at Pinelands North Primary had to say about our workshop:

I feel like these past two days have changed, shifted, ignited something huge in me. I loved every single thing about the path we journeyed together. The honest, real, raw stories. The live input. The way you let the feelings in the room lead you. The way you gave us time to let things sink in. The way you gave us a platform to voice our ‘a-ha!’ moments. Narrative practice is such a wonder. I will carry it with me in my work, my personal life, and my heart. Thank you. Thank you.
— Toni
Wow. Firstly, thank you so much for engaging both my brain and emotions with such simple, yet powerful teachings. I am personally taking away the fact that I may not be able to change my past, but I can change the narrative of it. I can then define myself by my preferred story. As a teacher, I am so excited to be able to recognize that I am a witness to so many precious little lives. That I can challenge myself daily to listen, and to look for the ‘spaces,’ and help navigate children to their preferred stories. This is such a powerful, life-changing and healing therapy/practice. SO POSITIVE! Lastly: what a relief to know that I don’t have to help ‘fix’ the problem or have all the answers – as we often do. Thank you again for a life and career changing course.
— Hayley
Thank you, Thérèse and Linda, for making me see the small stitches of the tapestry, and believe that I can add stitches too.
— Leonore
It was one of those workshops that I actually did use straight away. There are a lot of workshops we have been on. With this one, the very next day I felt a difference in me in looking at children: ‘Ah! That’s the way I label the child! I wonder what another way of working with that child would be? I wonder what another story would be?’
— Sharon Martin

Keth’Impilo East London Workshop, September 2014

When listening to a story I must not expect to get information. I must be moved by experiences. Without voicing the issue it becomes hidden. I must look beyond.
— Sibongiseni Mareledwane (O.R Tambo district)
Plain empathy is not enough – make it personal. Listen to different tracks to establish stories behind (and within) stories. Understand different social ideas and beliefs.
— Axolile Mapekula (O.R. Tambo district)
I am going home uplifted (and) energised. With a completely changed mindset.
— Thundi Tito
I will be able to help those who are in need, to listen to their stories, to give them hope. I know now that it is important to tell a story; even in writing if there is nobody to talk to. That (helps) to ease the load (on) my shoulders. I know that I have to probe for extraordinary stories. I would like people to open up so that old wounds will be healed.
— Siphokazi Mhlana (Mtata)
Today I have provision; wonderful things, and I am going to share that with my patient advocates:
1. How to listen
2. How to do (practical)
3. How to feel
4. How to love.
— Queen Rose

Shine Centre workshops in Port Elizabeth, Fisantekraal and Cape Town in 2014:

This morning’s workshop will have a profound effect on my life. I never had anyone who listened to me in such a way that I felt heard when I was young. Your input has put everything into perspective for me. I now realize why I enjoy the reading program so much: it’s because I am worth something. I can use my skills and gifts, and help children to move away from their problem path and feel good about themselves.
— Nikki Smart
I will build up the young ones I come into contact with, and make them feel as special and worthy as they are. I will let them know that as much as I have helped them, they have helped me. Thank you.
— Wendy
This workshop has made me aware of how important it is to listen to other people’s stories so as to bear witness to them.
— Yvonne
Thank you for such a wonderfully inspiring session. I haven’t felt this empowered and excited for a long while. Hope is bloody fantastic.
— Alice Barnett – UK Lattitude ICS volunteer
Today, I was really blown away with new ideas of how to talk to ‘my’ kids.
— Anonymous
The importance of dialogue with the child. At times, I find that I am quite focused on getting through the programme, leaving little time for conversation. It is through conversation that we learn more about each other, thus creating the possibility of rewriting the scripts that have become so entrenched in ourselves.
— Lynne Johnson
When I listen to other peoples’ stories, I will not only dwell on the negative, heavy stories but also on what is good and positive about them; the things that get unnoticed. I am thinking of ways in which I can praise my volunteers for the lovely work that they do. So, this workshop has inspired me to finally act on it!
— Nosipho Mabaso
Think out of the box in terms of my approach by not focusing on the ‘issue’ as told by everyone about the child, but to look/listen for alternatives – the things (that) the child knows about him/herself that should be highlighted instead. Thank you for making it practical with examples.
— Chantal Momberg

Young Participants of the Year Beyond Programme

It was good to have people pay all their attention to you and get that platform to express yourself on what you know and how you feel. If someone talked I listened and thought carefully because I knew what it was like being listened to.
— Shaswa
It was really interesting. You always have small judgments, and get insights you didn’t expect.
— Luke
I liked to be heard. In this way, it was different. While I was talking, I was waiting for them to interrupt me! It didn’t happen! I am talking, and after a while I realised: this is awesome!
— Desnay
I was surprised. It made me think about how other people see me, and how you reflect on yourself. It made me reflect back. It actually helped me a lot.
— Weslin

Narrative Practice Workshops, 2017 & 2018

The presenters were authentic, vulnerable and brilliant! I loved their relaxed and engaging approach, with no formal feedback sessions. A number of light bulb moments! I felt inspired to focus on being an active witness, and to create a narrative for our boys; one of possibility, and being good enough.
The workshop was wonderful. I attend a few workshops each year, (I) always try to keep up with trends, and update my skills, but yours stood out as the best by far. I think it was the beautiful way that you modelled what you were teaching that made such an impact.
The Narrative Training was so wonderful! So often as teachers we are so busy, always rushing, often stressed. How lovely to be forced (in a good way) to sit still, and just listen to the genuine gentleness of Linda and Therese and learn to really see the goodness in every child, and to speak and act in a way that affirms them. Our country has so much anger and turmoil, and it often feels that our task is overwhelming but this course has relit the little flame in me – the one that convinces me that it will be the children that turn our country around. How I wish that every teacher in every school could adopt this approach. When our schools get it right, our jails will be empty.
I would like to thank you for the inspirational, stimulating and thought-provoking narrative workshop that I attended, and participated in. The emotions caused me to reflect on my life as an individual, as a teacher, and as a father.

The Belongingness Project at Forres School, November 2018

Dear colleagues,
Wow! We really ended our consultation group meeting on a high note. Linda and Kim’s presentation on the Belongingness Project at Forres School was a great joy and inspiration. It took me right back to the very reason why I felt so attracted to Narrative Therapy in the first place – I truly believe in the transformative power of this work in all of our communities. I was stunned at the innovative ways in which you apply ideas like wonderfulness interviews, storybook, legacy stories, the invitation to responsibility, and witnessing in the school community. Your leadership for transformation and inclusion in the school moved me deeply, Kim. It clearly comes from a place of deep personal commitment. I was impressed by your knowledge of human rights violations in the history of the world, and the processes required to address these as collectives and on a very personal and individual basis. Thank you to both of you for your inspiring example of commitment to justice and your willingness to learn, to implement, and to reflect and improve your practices. The embodiment of our beliefs is the most challenging and risky as it requires so much personal soul searching that often leads to shameful discoveries and challenges. Thank you for your honesty, and for sharing your personal pain along the road of learning and growing in awareness with us.
— Dr. Elize Morkel