Book Review by Dale Andersen-Giberson
Retelling the Stories of our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience
By: David Denborough
In this beautifully written new book, Retelling the Stories of our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience, a thorough and accessible teaching of narrative ideas is accomplished. Readers will find that David Denborough marries a harmonious mix of exploring narrative ideas with the encouragement of personal applications through exercises and illustrations. I have yet to read a text on narrative therapy that so effectively makes itself accessible to both facilitators and service users.
Consumers, new and seasoned therapists, and reading and learning groups should all find rich learnings as they venture through a comprehensive delivery of narrative ideas. David’s writing is presented not only through David’s voice, but through the sharing of a multitude of conversations from multiple regions, cultures and people. By employing multiple voices, David’s writing encapsulates the values and potency of collective practice, both in the sharing of collective ideas and in the delivery of his work. In so doing, readers become immersed in the diversity that narrative therapy makes possible and are offered an enriched experience through the collective display of many voices.
Throughout the book ideas are presented that span across the history of narrative therapy in a consumable package while still articulating the high standards of richness that narrative therapy makes possible in therapeutic facilitations. Counsellors who find themselves interested in moving into territories outside of traditional, dyadic therapy will embrace David’s collective stance. Applications that focus on deconstruction, trauma and loss are expanded on and readers leave with enriched lines of inquiry around exploring life journeys and identity migration.
On my own personal journey, I was taken to unforeseen places by the exercises offered in each chapter. I found myself reflecting on various stories in my life that had long ago been overshadowed by dominating stories. The exercises and sharing of conversations then facilitated my movement to preferred understandings of myself that were rich and vivid. This experience in its own right was an example of how the magic of narrative ideas, expressed in this way, can cultivate vast and new understandings of ourselves and it was a joy to experience both as a therapist and a consumer. As you delve into Retelling the Stories of our Lives, be prepared to be taken to new and wonderful places.