Systemic_Practice_in_a_Complex_System._Child_Sexual_Abuse_and_the_Catholic_Church.doc

Within the parameters of this humble working class

Info icon This preview shows pages 3–5. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
difficult. Within the parameters of this humble working-class enclave, I learned “to avoid isolation” and “refuse indifference” (Weingarten, 2007: 15) and that by doing so, lives and worlds can change. In these early years, I also learned the importance of having allies in life, and people who were interested in standing with me in solidarity in my professional endeavours. My primary training as a social scientist, later as a social worker, and later still as a systemic and forensic psychotherapist, equipped me with the intellectual skills to undertake my professional life and to evolve and expand my intellectual horizons over what is now a period of more than 40 years. The myriad of clients whose lives intertwined with mine gave shape to that learning, teaching me the small but important lessons in what it means to be a compassionate and courageous worker. In translating compassion and courage into activities that fight against isolation and indifference and 3
Image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
work on behalf of inclusion and relevance, I learned to welcome folks, to be hospitable, to avoid labels, to be humble but not self- effacing, to lead and be led, to listen carefully to what people said, to honour silence, to be sceptical of certainty, to be curious and to take risks 3 (Foucault, 2001: 11–24). The more I learned about clients’ lives (both victims and offenders) the more the distinctions between “us” and “them” became increasingly unsustainable. “They” were “us” and “we” were “them”— connected by more than divided us. This became increasingly clear when both worker and client managed to “show up” 4 (Fisher 2008) and particularly when the dialogue moved to the sphere of hopes, dreams, values, and intentions for life. As I reflect back on my introduction to social constructionism proper, four important forces came together to sway my life and work in that direction: my work as a probation and welfare officer in a Dublin prison, my training as a systemic therapist in the first family therapy program in Ireland my introduction to the narrative work of Michael White and meeting Art Fisher, a narrative therapist who runs a programme in Nova Scotia for responding to love, hurt, and violence in families 5 . While the work in the prison offered humbling evidence of embodied resilience and marginalized despair in the men whose lives had taken them into confinement, my systemic training offered a questioning site of much new learning. Run by Imelda McCarthy, Nollaig Byrne, and Philip Kearney of the Fifth Province Associates, the systemic family therapy training programme also provided support and challenge as my exposure to the philosophy of social constructionism took hold. Imelda and Nollaig, who were to become lifelong friends and mentors, were also unknowingly to become the guardians of my new social constructionist and systemic home, as I learned to witness and meet with imprisoned men and those who loved them. The work of Michael White (2000, 2004) led me to consider the multiple meanings of “imprisonment” and the “life
Image of page 4
Image of page 5
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern