Wisps of smoke that linger: poetry as reflexive writing and living theory

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Karen Partridge


This paper is a personal account of the use of poetry as a means to elaborate and explore the inner talk of the practitioner in order to open space for the generation of new meanings, challenging single stories to create the possibility of multiple other tellings and creating reflexive space. Poetry is described as a way to challenge traditional knowledge and honour alternative knowledges, harnessing creativity to enrichen thin tellings, deconstruct strong emotion and critically explore the positioning of the practitioner. A means to open space for creating new ways to move forward in therapy, in systemic training and in the development of decolonial practice. In this process a number of challenges are raised as questions for further exploration; how to create ethical positionings from which to write first person accounts about clients, therapeutic relationships and striking emotional encounters and how to address issues of consent and the potential appropriation of others’ stories. As systemic therapy moves into a new era these questions come to the fore in terms of creating new knowledges, moving towards epistemic witnessing, decolonising practice and training and creating lenticular futures.

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How to Cite
Partridge, K. (2022). Wisps of smoke that linger: poetry as reflexive writing and living theory . Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice, 5(1), 28–46. https://doi.org/10.28963/5.1.4