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The power of story in group work: A critical conversation with Gadamer, White, and Gerkin for a theory of narrative practice in groups

Smith, Alexis Johnson 2020. The power of story in group work: A critical conversation with Gadamer, White, and Gerkin for a theory of narrative practice in groups. MPhil Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Using the theory of Michael White, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Charles Gerkin, this thesis discusses how and why narrative therapy techniques work and how they could be applied in group or parish settings. It further explores using theory developed by Charles Gerkin regarding how spiritual reflective practice could be utilised in the narrative process to help people process their life experiences for hope and resilience. In examining similar and difference theoretic framings in Gadamer and White, the thesis discusses and develops a process for purposeful listening. This method of listening, unlike listening-to someone or listening-for information, involves an immediate “presentness” with others. It creates a context of openness for new insights to come and be explored openly. A special kind of questioning enables horizons to expand and new learning to be experienced either within a group or in pastoral care settings. This listening recognises biases and people’s historic realities and interpretations while fostering new interpretations that expand people’s horizons and bring new understandings. In Gadamer’s writing we find the theoretical understanding of human communication – what works and why it works. While in White we have practical applications of theory based on narratives and ways to use communication to bring healing and new interpretations of life experiences. Finally, Gerkin provides a spiritual component that assists people in connecting the bigger narrative of God to their individual faith to foster healing and hope. The thesis concludes with suggestions for training for pastoral care providers as facilitators of this process and ways in which this communication methodology could be utilised in a parish setting.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 July 2020
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2021 01:30

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