Systemic_Practice_in_a_Complex_System._Child_Sexual_Abuse_and_the_Catholic_Church.doc

3 4 showing up means that the person with their

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3 4 Showing up means that the person, with their skills, knowledge, intentions, pain, and vulnerabilities, show up and allow themselves to be seen and heard in dialogue with others (Fisher, 2008). 5 Art Fisher is director of Alternatives, a program in Nova Scotia working with trauma and violence. For further information the reader is directed to http://www.alternativesinstitute.com 4
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sentences” imposed by Western psychiatric practices. Having worked in adolescent and adult psychiatry, I developed scepticism towards the promises offered by psychiatric practices, for example as pathways to liberation from emotional pain, which contrasted with the stigmatized identities and side-effects of medication that often came instead. I learned that diagnostic classification systems are instruments of power that mask the power relations involved in their very construction (Foucault, 1991, 2004). I concluded that diagnostic classification systems served interests other than of those of the so diagnosed. The work of Fisher (2008, 2009) showed me the lengths to which we must go to create new narratives and to thicken the plot of alternative identity descriptions with clients and the role of love and emotion in the therapeutic process, especially with victims and offenders for whom violence has been part of their lives. All of these experiences compelled a professional coming-of-age and a wake-up call from which there was no return. Going forward, all taken-for-granted ideas and truths, particularly in the human sciences, became “truth in parenthesis” and just one version. No longer could truth claims in the social sciences be accepted as outside of the context of their creation (Foucault, 1991, 2004), which included the sphere of influence of vested interests, ideology, and power relations. Going forth, all taken-for-granted truths in the “soft” sciences would have to be deconstructed and challenged, in the name of ethical practice, and any suggestion that certainty or truth could be arrived at through “scientific” methods, “objective” instruments and “objective” researchers was no longer acceptable. Grand theory would have to be “held lightly” (McCarthy, 2002). In its place came my interest in the omnipresence of power, ideology, and emotion and the influence of this trio on the creation of knowledge and on how human beings live. I also became interested in the power of language and in the stories that get told and that people tell about themselves and their lives. It was also during this time that I committed myself anew to working with the people who sought my help rather than on them. I decided that the only way forward was to offer with-ness work (Shotter, 2005), with people whose life met with mine, rather than aboutness-work or on-ness work that engaged 5
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clients, whether victims or offenders as object-subjects. I also committed myself to joining with the individuals who consulted me in the search for meaning. My belief and subsequent experience was that in the creation of such conversational and human meetings that lives and worlds can change.
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