by Adriana Müller

The name given to collective interventions based on theoretical assumptions of Narrative Therapy by Michael White and David Epston.

In general, follow four basic principles:

1. Highlight the double narrative of the stories: the story of the problem co-exists with the story of how the person responded to it. The emphasis given to one or the other version determines which one will be the dominant story - the one full of problems or the one that narrates the story of how the person managed to overcome the problem, based on what strengths, skills, abilities and values​​, which were the people that helped, among other aspects;

2. Expand the preferred story: help a person expand and describe in a richer manner the narrative of his/her story (and not the story of the problem);

3. Connect the individual experiences to collective situations;

4. Help the person to contribute to the lives of other people who undergo similar situations.

This way the interventions of Collective Narrative Practices manage to build what Paulo Freire called 'unity in diversity': from the individual experiments, participants connect their stories to the group, find common ground, rescue individual and collective forces, and thus manage to contribute to the lives of others living similar situations.

To do so, the methodologies usually utilize metaphors that facilitate the process of conversation: narrative timeline, tree of life, team of life, kite of life, among others.

These metaphors are intended to enable people involved in the dynamic to build a territory of identity safe enough for them to talk about their traumatic experiences without it re-traumatizing them.

In general, these interventions begin in an individual fashion in which each person builds his/her narrative. Afterwards, people share their stories with the group and understand that they have many things in common (the pursuit of 'unity in diversity').

Finally, the group produces a collective document in which the learnings, knowledge, skills, values ​​of individuals and the group are recorded - it is the time to share with other people the preferred story of that group. This document is then sent to other groups of people who also face similar difficulties.

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