Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice <p>A journal for relationally attuned and systemic social constructionist practitioners and practitioner-researchers with a commitment to social responsibility in community, leadership, therapy, education, organisations, health and social care.</p> en-US <p>All works on this site are subject to a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/ojs/public/site/images/gail.simon/creativecommons1.png" alt=""></a></p> (Dr Gail Simon) (Editorial Team) Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000 OJS 60 Becoming a Posthuman Systemic Nomad. Part 2. <p>In the second part of the text ‘Becoming a posthuman systemic nomad’ I suggest ways in which systemic practitioners may become systemic nomads, reintegrating cybernetics and social constructionism and taking a new-materialist perspective on life. Systemic therapists may become ‘post human systemic nomads’, navigating and systemically learning in complex adaptive systems, in which we are relational responsible to all human and non-human actors in the networks that we produce and that we are produced by. Inspired by the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari I made three cartographies for us, systemic nomads, navigating complexity in multi-actor systems. Systemic practitioners (from a new-materialist perspective) can co-create better ecological worlds if we are conscious of the effects of our actions in interdependent relationships with all actors in life, when – as nomads – we display systemic sensibility or intelligence (Senge, 2006) within systems of multi-actors.</p> Robert van Hennik Copyright (c) Towards Safe(r) Uncertainty <p>As a way of guiding managers and empowering them to navigate their way through unchartered territory, we have adapted the&nbsp;<strong><em>safe uncertainty framework</em></strong>&nbsp;to be used as a sort of compass. This framework originates from the work of Barry Mason, a systemic and family psychotherapist.&nbsp; As Mason describes it&nbsp;<em>“The framework of safe uncertainty is particularly associated with addressing risk factors and how it can contribute to the development and maintenance of safer relationships”</em>&nbsp;(2019, p.343). We need to make way for&nbsp;<em>the unsaid</em>&nbsp;or&nbsp;<em>the not yet said</em>&nbsp;and open up space for conversations that may feel very difficult.&nbsp; People will be experiencing different things.&nbsp; Fear and anxiety may preoccupy some people while others may be experiencing such a sense of loss- loss of relationships through social distancing and perhaps loss of people from their lives (family/friends/neighbours and indeed service users).&nbsp; In talking about relationships we do not refer only to the relationships between people but our relationship to the pandemic itself, to our sense of being, our sense of belonging and our relationship to our work.</p> Jenn Copyright (c) Dr Doing remote systemic psychotherapy during a pandemic –responses from a speedy Quality Improvement Project <p>The past 20 years have seen a gradual rise in research about and practice of video or telepsychotherapy. With the worldwide lockdown imposed in response to the Covid-19, coronavirus, the practice of face to face systemic psychotherapy using the approaches, methods and techniques that have been carefully developed over the past five decades has become impossible. With an unbelievable rapidity, new methods of providing therapeutic services have been devised and implemented to ensure service continuity. &nbsp;</p> <p>This short practice paper describes the findings of a rapid quality improvement project to explore the effects of remote delivery on systemic psychotherapy since the UK lockdown imposed due to Covid-19. Reflections of early-adopter clinicians based on 20 remote systemic psychotherapy sessions, completed between March and April 2020 show that that the rapid move to the delivery of remote systemic psychotherapy is acceptable and indeed welcomed by clinicians and families and that robust therapeutic work can be done. Findings indicate that the conversational flow of remote systemic psychotherapy sessions is different to face-to-face to face sessions but can work; that it is necessary to do things differently with our words and bodies; and that the practice of doing meaningful dialogue when separated by screens requires further exploration.</p> Sarah L Helps Copyright (c) Dialogues and Questions <p>I explore the methods and processes of 1st Preson inquiry using an Action Research methodology. The focus of this inquiry is on how my practice of ethical being with students in a clinical training team is experienced . In particular,&nbsp; I explore&nbsp; how writing can create invitations into the lived experience that is creative, evocative and challenging. Central to my working is an exploration of ways that 1st Person inquiry can maintain a systemic eye.&nbsp;</p> Ruth Elizabeth Eustace Copyright (c) Editorial Gail Simon Copyright (c) 2020 Gail Simon Fri, 03 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Toward the Fluid Self <p><strong>Abstract</strong></p> <p><em>This article offers ideas to support a definition of self that could step outside of conceptualized boundaries of self as a bounded being. A fluid definition of self is when self is open to becoming and is able to embrace its multiple narratives. Informed by Deleuze’s ideas, a self- narrative has reduced a person to a single story. Operating from a single story is problematic, as it leads to developing a single truth and a fixed position on issues that matter to all. In this article, separating voice from subject is suggested to give meaning to a person’s multiple narratives. Separating voice from subject allows multiple voices dismissed within current artificial social divisions to get a chance to shine and become. &nbsp;Like the therapy room that is a place of becoming, our interactions with one another can be a place of our becoming. </em></p> Tahereh Barati Copyright (c) Knowing Systemic Rules Revisited <p>What follows is a copy of Desa Markovic’s provocative paper which was originally published in 1993 in Human Systems: The Journal of Systemic Consultation and Management, Vol. 4, pp 235-258. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the editor Peter Stratton of our first cousin journal.</p> <p>At the end of this paper are three reflections. One is by Gianfranco Cecchin, another is by Desa Markovic both of which were published with the original paper in 1993. These are now followed by a contemporary reflection by Desa Markovic written in 2019 on the context of her writing this paper. She addresses her initial encounters with systemic social construction during a revolutionary period in systemic thinking when Desa was first a student and then a tutor at the Kensington Consultation Centre (KCC) in London.</p> <p>When you have read this paper and its reflections, please explore other historic papers published by Human Systems journal which are now freely available to download.</p> <p><br><strong>Abstract</strong></p> <p>This paper proposes a Model of Stages to describe the processes of learning and understanding the systemic approach. Six hypothetical stages are constructed as different positions to be taken in relation to 'knowing systemic rules'.</p> <p>Stages are suggested as a heuristic device, as one possible way of telling the story of what happens on the journey of becoming systemic. (Do not believe that it is more or less true than any other true story!)</p> <p>The relationships between stages are not based on a paradigm of linear development. The Stages Model is proposed as ever evolving through the circular, spiralling patterns and processes which last beyond any training course.</p> Desa Markovic Copyright (c) 2019 Desa Markovic Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Transmaterial Worlding. Beyond Human Systems <p>In this paper we reframe systemic social construction as transmaterial worlding to include human and non-human participants. We discuss what it means to be human in the Anthropocene era with reference to posthuman new materialist theory. We introduce systemic living as onto-epistemological becoming, movement and meaning-making practices in and between human and non-human parts of our worlds. The paper discusses power relations and ways of bringing forth lost-destroyed indigenous ways of knowing which make time and space for new understandings and experimental responses to what we are making together at a local and global level. We discuss how transmaterial worlding requires a new understanding by humans to see their place in this planet as co-inhabitation. We offer examples of transmaterial worlding from across different contexts and suggest some systemic questions for how we can live ethically in a transmaterial world that honours societal, cultural, professional and other kinds of situated knowledge and know-how.</p> Gail Simon, Leah K Salter Copyright (c) 2019 Gail Simon, Leah K Salter Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Critique of Pure Treatment <p>As scientist-practitioners, psychotherapists are to engage in high level analytical methods of reason. Yet, there are nearly unbridgeable chasms between the bases of our deductive diagnostic categorizing, our inductive treatment planning, and our deductive clinical interventioning. Somewhere in the midst of those chasms are the realities and relationships that define the contours of space and meaning in the client's universe. It is there–in the abyss of those elusive gulfs–where understanding often hides.</p> Copyright (c) The Fifth Province Approach as a Systemic Meditative Practice <p>In this paper we want to share our experience of using systemic practices from a systemic Fifth Province Approach in the facilitation of meditation groups and retreats.&nbsp; We refer to our way of being and doing as a ‘Fifth Province Systemic Meditative Practice’.&nbsp; The practices and approach we will present can be likened to a kind of human murmuration, where &nbsp;surprising, generative, inter/intra-active and relational processes emerge.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; These emergent processes or transformations occur spontaneously and are from within the subtle, communicative, behaviour and relational aspects of the whole group.&nbsp; It is in this context that we use the word ‘intra-relational’ after the work of Karen Barad (2007 p33).&nbsp; The term ‘subtle’ refers to all the non-verbal emergences occurring from the spiritual, mental, emotional, behavioural and social processes at play.</p> <p>&nbsp;The first author (Imelda) set the meditation group up twenty years ago and has facilitated it more or less since then. The second author (Jean), facilitates the group from time to time and has, along with the first author, enjoyed tracing and noting both the practices and the emergent processes over time. &nbsp;Indeed, her Master’s in Spirituality examined those processes and explored how they could be learned and applied in a group or individual setting. (Minogue 2018)</p> Imelda McCarthy, Jean Minogue Copyright (c) 2019 Imelda McCarthy, Jean Minogue Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000 A relationally constructed research on Relational Being <p>I would like to present my PhD research conducted from a postmodern and constructionist perspective which is very much influenced by collaborative and dialogical practices. I will therefore briefly present how I understood postmodernity and social construction while conducting this research. Then I will focus on collaborative and dialogical practises as Harlene Anderson (1997) presents them, followed by the application of those ideas to research, that Janice DeFehr (2008) developed. The use of DeFehr`s method, Dialogic Social Inquiry, helped to realize that new locally developed collaborative and relational methodologies were needed. These methodologies are presented in the third section of this article.</p> <p>Finally, a reflection on the double hearing or listening Anderson (1997) proposes for therapy is made. This idea is also useful for research, since, as it is shown in this text, not only the data or content but also the research process was relationally created.</p> Garbiñe Delgado Raack Copyright (c) Dare To Play <p>Inspired by watching a group of children playing freely during their summer holidays, in this essay I am drawing parallels between the activities of playing and improvisation with learning and participatory action in our relational contexts. I am looking at improvisational participatory activity as key to learning, development and growth. Through the mentioning of the four stages of competence model, I am discussing how “mathematising” expert knowledge and competence in terms of stages of advancement, evaluation measures and de-contextualised accounting systems, may weaken our abilities for intuitive, spontaneous improvisations in our relational activities and restrict learning from within the doing and development of practice knowledge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Copyright (c) 2019 Joanna Michopoulou Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Becoming a Posthuman Systemic Nomad <p><strong>Abstract</strong></p> <p>We live in a complex, globalised world. Everything is connected and still many of us feel detached, disconnected from other entities on earth. We might sleepwalk into a global ecological crisis and therefore we need to develop new ways of living together differently. Can we imagine an ecological response on globalisation and complexity? What difference can systemic practitioners make, a difference that makes a difference, that matters (Bateson, 1979)? &nbsp;Transformation in a complex system is the emergent result of interactions between its components and its environment. We can’t predict and control inter-action between al multi-actors in a complex system. We can anticipate, improvise and learn how to learn. In this article I present a theoretical framework, inspired by Neo-Materialism, that integrates cybernetics and social-constructionism in contemporary systemic thinking. The question I ask is how to navigate complexity and offer accountability about the process of systemic learning, without getting drawn into the paradoxical spiral of control. I suggest ways in which therapists may become systemic nomads and describe how to produce ‘validity from within’, remaining open to the unpredictable process of becoming in multi-actor networks of human and non-human generators.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Robert Van Hennik Copyright (c) 2019 Robert Van Hennik Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Learning and Reflection from Piloting a Systemic Family Therapy Clinic within an Adult Eating Disorder Service in London <p>A six-month pilot systemic&nbsp; family therapy clinic&nbsp; service&nbsp;for&nbsp; the inpatient, outpatient and day unit of the &nbsp;Adult&nbsp;Eating Disorder Services at Springfield University Hospital, London, was conducted between January to June 2018. Building on from the functions of family therapy, the family therapy clinic offered families multiple perspectives by including a co-therapist and a reflecting team. This article was adapted from the original pilot report by the team a year after the pilot depicting six learnings, multiple reflections from the clinicians and a family, as well as two limitations of the pilot.</p> Yang Yang Teh, Nadia Daer, Stephanie Archer, Sylvia Metzer Copyright (c) Editorial Gail Simon Copyright (c) 2019 Gail Simon Tue, 23 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Reflections on “Qualitative Research as Activism” Marilena Karamatsouki, Mark Huhnen, Leah K Salter, Sarah Helps Copyright (c) 2019 Marilena Karamatsouki, Mark Huhnen, Leah K Salter, Sarah Helps Sat, 20 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Being Systemic as a Way of Life Copyright (c) 2019 Chiara Santin Sat, 20 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Social Accountability and the Social Construction of 'You'. Thirty Years On <p>Central to all that follows below is a certain vision of the world and of our knowledge of it: that both consist in activities of various kinds (Shotter, 1984; Wertsch, 1981). And also, a certain stance towards the conduct of research into such activity: that of investigating its nature from a position of active involvement in it, rather than contemplative withdrawal from it. Such a stance immediately raises questions about how the nature of the involvements in which one finds oneself placed should be best characterized. I shall claim that they are best characterized, not by reference to one's own characteristics, those of first-person actors, of 'I's', but by reference to the nature of 'you's', the second-person recipients or addressees of actor's or speaker's activities. And that a central feature of any such characterization must articulate the nature of the moral proprieties, the 'ethical logistics' of the exchanges between 'I's' and 'you's' - to do with who has responsibility for what activity in the social construction of the meanings of any communications between them.</p> <p>With reflections from Justine van Lawick, Jim Wilson, Sheila McNamee, Mary Gergen, John Burnham, Kenneth Gergen, Andy Lock and Ann Cunliffe.</p> John Shotter Copyright (c) 2019 Cherrie Ravello Sat, 20 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Lines of flight <p>I am worried about the long-lasting effects of the dominant, neo-liberal and capitalist systems that are having a devastating influence on planet Earth and on the life and relations of all the beings, human and non-human, living in this world. When Gregory Bateson wrote “Steps to an Ecology of Mind” (1974) and “Mind and Nature” (1979), he already made clear that human beings do not see the interconnectedness of everything, and because we do not see it, we break it. The breaking of connections has created fractures, wounds and fragmentations in nature, between people, between humans and non-humans: animals, plants and other matter. This has created a gigantic ecological crisis and a profoundly unethical and unjust world with an ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor, the people with resources and those without. We perform our systemic practice in this context.&nbsp; What is our responsibility? In what way can we resist the destructive powers and support actions of hope: <em>lines of flight </em>(Guattari 2015)? We can find inspiration in other areas where activists formulate manifestos as a start of other hopeful practices. In this paper, I give the example of a group of journalists that started <em>The Correspondent</em> and I invite all readers to think about actions that we could start, maybe with a manifesto for systemic practices?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Abstract (Dutch)</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Ik maak me zorgen over de langdurige effecten van het dominante, neo-liberale en kapitalistische systeem die een vernietigende invloed hebben op de planeet aarde en op het leven en de relaties van alle wezens, menselijk en niet menselijk, die in deze wereld leven. Toen Gregory Bateson “Steps to an Ecology of Mind” (1974) en “Mind and Nature” (1979) schreef, maakte hij al duidelijk dat wij mensen niet zien hoe alles met alles verbonden is en omdat we het niet zien verbreken we de verbindingen. Dat verbreken heeft fracturen, wonden en fragmentatie veroorzaakt&nbsp; in de natuur, tussen personen, tussen mensen en niet mensen: dieren, planten en andere&nbsp; materie. Dit heeft een enorme ecologische crisis veroorzaakt en een wezenlijk onethische en onrechtvaardige wereld met een groeiende kloof tussen de rijken en de armen en mensen met of juist zonder toegang tot middelen.&nbsp; Wij voeren onze systemische praktijken uit in deze context. Wat is onze verantwoordelijkheid? Op welke manier kunnen we ons verzetten tegen de destructieve krachten en acties van hoop: lines of flight (Guattari 2015) ondersteunen? We kunnen inspiratie vinden in andere gebieden waar activisten manifesten formuleren als een begin van andere, hoopvolle praktijken. In dit artikel geef ik het voorbeeld van een groep journalisten die de Correspondent startten en ik nodig alle lezers uit om na te denken over acties die wij kunnen starten, misschien met een manifest voor systemische praktijken?</p> Copyright (c) 2019 Justine van Lawick Sat, 20 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0000 Some thoughts on communication, empathy, and sensory differences in autism <p>What does it mean to be severely autistic, to be unable to communicate and to be dependent on others to meet your basic needs? People with high functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome have often provided an insight into the lived experience of others who have severe autism and have minimal communication ability. But what can we learn from people who are on the opposite end of the autistic spectrum? Can we glean insights of a different kind? Unlikely as it may sound, I would argue that yes, we can.</p> Copyright (c) 2019 Ann Jinks Sat, 20 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0000