Meet Eleanor, your Peer Support Specialist.
She has lived experience with mental health and has been in symptom-free recovery since 2010. Eleanor has a lifetime of experience in the arts, particularly the narrative arts (writing, storytelling), with a background in Publishing alongside 15 years in the mental health branch of the non-profit sector.
She, along with a group of qualified, compassionate and empathetic volunteers, facilitate peer support groups at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. Eleanor also offers one-on-one services like recovery coaching and other group services in the workplace, school, and other like environments.
Narrative Therapy is like Art Therapy but with words. The focus of the approach is on the manner in which individuals construct meaning rather than the way they behave. In philosophy and in neuroscience the “I”/eye or the mind is what they call “the narrative centre of self.” Your mind is constantly generating the story of who you are to yourself and others. Narrative Therapy seeks to address minds that may be telling themselves problem-saturated narratives e.g. The Trauma Narrative — “I experienced trauma; therefore, I am damaged goods.”
It is a post-modern, talk therapy model (typically one-on-one rather than done in group), developed by social workers Michael White and David Epston in the 70s and 80s, that focuses on social construction (concept: language doesn’t describe reality, it defines it), meaning making through language and relationships, and broader social and political discourses, all whilst considering multiple vantage points and Sparkling Moments or Unique Outcomes e.g. The Survive to Thrive Narrative — “I experienced trauma, I survived, and I aim to thrive.”
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ~ Carl Jung
To put this modality to work in a group context, Eleanor has developed a meta-narrative technique – a writing course, Writing for Wellness, and an art therapy-based course, Conscious Creativity, meant to address the 5 main principles:
• shared and transformative experience
• naming and unpacking (assessment and intervention)
• meaning making
• listening and experience gathering
and 5 intended outcomes of Narrative Therapy:
• increased self-awareness (you are the expert in your own story)
• increased self-compassion
• externalizing problems
• constructing preferred identities
• developing courses of action
The goal is to deconstruct, rewrite, and reconstruct the narratives we tell ourselves in a way that helps us actualize positive change.
*Standard format support also available.
For more: My Story, Mission, Vision & Values, Coaching vs. Psychotherapy, Mechanics, Mood Disorders, Recovery