What emerged from the clinical work with couples and people who had suffered from sexual violence was the importance of finding descriptions to produce a perspective where the self was liberated from a judgmental, policing process. I discovered that new narrative threads would become visible once we engaged in the spiral like process of noticing responses and experiences, relationally describing what we noticed and then contextually exploring this experience. We did this whilst at the same time noticing and exploring the effect of participating in this discovery process.
I subsequently began to explore the relational space that was constructed as all conversational participants shifted away from a focus on the binary, either/or stance, to a focus on the movement between the binary positions. Describing what I was noticing preoccupied me from 1997 to 2006 and this became the basis for the three books, The Heart's Narrative, Talk That Sings, and Constructing the Narrative in
I bring a relational consciousness to both my work and my life. Relational consciousness has enabled me to access an imaginatively capacity that assists me to shine a light on obscured narrative paths. It is difficult to glimpse the relational. We notice the relational environment through its effect on us and other’s. This effect is similar to identifying the wind through it’s impact on the environment. We see the branches moving and think, ’ah that’s the wind moving those branches ‘. However, without the knowledge that wind exists, our explanation for the moving branches could be that tree’s have the capacity to independently move (refer to, Lord of The Rings). Psychology and Psychotherapies have universally failed to create practices where all participants in therapeutic or super-vision conversations glimpse the relational environment. The consequence of this failure is a focus on the individual and/or the family as ill or damaged and needing treatment for this illness or disorder.
I believe a relational consciousness can shift the suffering that comes as people believe they are essentially good or bad , guilty or at fault, wrong, dirty, never good enough. Once we glimpse the relational (of which we are a part ) we are positioned to appreciate the environment that produced this suffering. This shift allows people to either access previously hidden or dismissed resources or to construct new resources. This is a radical departure from a world where direct experience is either dismissed or regarded as authentic. Both stances advantage those who hold institutional power.