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 Reflecting on the results of a roundtable on creative methods in inclusive research <p>The authors present the results of a roundtable, and a subsequent process of reflection, on creative methods in inclusive research held in Athens in 2018. The authors aim to give insight in the thought processes involved in reflecting on the data derived from the roundtable and from a reflective session held by the authors. From this process four themes in the use of creative methods in inclusive research are identified and discussed: embodiment, uneasiness, connection and plurality of voices.</p> <div id="ConnectiveDocSignExtentionInstalled" data-extension-version="1.0.4">&nbsp;</div> <div id="ConnectiveDocSignExtentionInstalled" data-extension-version="1.0.4">&nbsp;</div> Sofie Sergeant, Hanna Peels, Esther Joosa, Roy Brown, Geert Van Hove, Alice Schippers Copyright (c) MAINTAINING THE CONNECTION <p>I have already written when firstly submitted the article.</p> <p>If a revised abstract is needed please do let me know.</p> Cinzia Taffagli Copyright (c) MANTAINING THE CONNECTION <p>The article follows the journey of a family therapy clinic members set within a local authority's Children's Services, at the time of the UK lockdown due to the covid-19 pandemic. </p> <p>It focuses on each team member’s reflections and dilemmas in working online, but also on the impact that this new way of working was going to have on the team and the families we worked with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Cinzia Taffagli Copyright (c) Searching for what counts as ethical in collaborative research. <p>In collaborative research, people with experiential knowledge are actively involved in all aspects of research projects on a power balanced basis. This article focuses on responsibilities and risks in the partnerships between researchers in collaborative research projects. To answer the questions ‘How do researchers with different knowledge backgrounds work together?’ and ‘What counts as ‘good practice’ of partnerships in collaborative research?’, we designed an explorative qualitative study. We interviewed five experienced researchers and discussed the findings in several critical dialogue sessions. Findings indicate that the involvement of researchers can depend on the motivations for and the perceived value of collaboration. The main value and the main challenge seems to be power-sharing. The ‘ethical’ practice that counts is about finding ways to foster power balance by safe, personal partnerships, dealing with new responsibilities, and risks. Further development of collaborative research practice needs space to think openly, trust, and an academic environment where vulnerability is accepted.</p> Anja Zimmermann, Sofie Sergeant, Maaike Hermsen, Leisa Richards Copyright (c) Social research as a process of interaction Laura Fruggeri Copyright (c) How can we further embed systemic social work while working in this way? <p>This paper will explore my experiences of an organisational response to the pandemic of COVID-19, whilst simultaneously on a systemic journey to transform practice. &nbsp;I will use a number of systemic ideas as a means of helping me to make sense of my experiences. These ideas will draw upon the domains model (Lang et al, 1990) safe uncertainty (Mason, 2019) and social constructionism (McNamee and Gergen, 1992). I will interweave with personal reflections and demonstrate a synergy between my personal and professional self.</p> <p>Writing this paper has helped me to reflect on the importance of ensuring that as an organisation we pay due diligence to holding onto our systemic identity. The shifts that have occurred as a result of this pandemic and the likely consequences of austerity measures, could invite a narrowing in how we position ourselves with each other and our systemic selves. It is for these reasons that we have to hold onto expansion so we do not become reductionist, risk averse and hopeless.</p> Nana Bonsu Copyright (c) Images of (Im)permanence <p>This photo essay is theoretically framed by the work of cultural anthropologist, Tim Ingold, and media theorist, Marshall McLuhan. &nbsp;In the photo essay, the author takes the position of wayfarer, visiting and revisiting an urban park in Western Canada in which city workers first used chalk and then paint to provide messages regarding physical distancing. The essay then goes on to showcase the ways others who use the park adopted the chalk and paint messaging for their own particular purposes. The essay considers what is communicated through the two media and the timing of the inscriptions over the early months of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.&nbsp;</p> Kim Lenters Copyright (c) Embracing or Enduring on-line therapy : what are we creating? <p>This article is a personal consideration of the sudden and immediate development of on-line therapy, with some personal thoughts around the expereince for therapists, clients and service providers, within which a tension of 'getting on in a crisis' sits with a growing consideration of ways to save costs.&nbsp;</p> <p>The article explores difent contexts of working, comparing working in clincs and in families homes and where on-line working sits within this.</p> <p>This sudden shift in practice brings many questions to the fore. What is it that we create? Who’s space is it? Are there places that we can go in work ‘on-line’ and other places that we cannot?&nbsp; What are the dilemmas and risks we need to consider in working this way, given that it may be here to stay now?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Nigel Smith Copyright (c) Stories as ‘vibrant matter’ <p>We humans, perhaps especially those of us who identify as narrative therapists and systemic practitioners, tell stories all the time, in our everyday talk with family and friends, in dialogue with colleagues, in creative endeavour, in our practices, in talking about our practices, in research contexts and beyond. It is an important part of how we make sense of ourselves and our cultural contexts. Storytelling can also be conceptualised as a resource for transformation and as a mechanism for systems thinking to create <em>“social change” </em>(David Stroh, 2015).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This paper, offers an overview of a project that highlights the transformative quality of storytelling in systemic, community practices. Stories <em>and</em> storytellers are framed as active agents.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In particular this paper reviews a newly developed model of community learning through storytelling in Bridgend, South Wales, where the author is based. In creating a <em>“learning community”</em> around people and places in this community- particularly those adversely impacted by the recent pandemic- the paper draws on storytelling practices; community learning (Senge, 1994; Wenger, 1998) and narrative practices (White and Epston, 1990, White, 1995, 2005, 2006; Denborough, 2006; 2008; 2014 for example) as a holistic model for social action. This is set within the context of beginning to remodel social life during and after the COVID 19 pandemic.</p> Leah Karen Salter Copyright (c) More than ever a relational approach is needed: Social Construction and the global pandemic <p>We are living in challenging times, surfacing many reactions, thoughts, visions and beliefs in an attempt to understand and offer ways to cope with the COVID crisis and the recovery of the world. We believe a constructionist stance can help us respond to this moment.&nbsp; Everyday life is uncertain, although we most often act as if it is predictable and dependably redundant.&nbsp; We organize our lives around certainties that lead us to feel that we are in control. The pandemic has pulled the rug from under our feet and uncertainty is now the slogan of our time. However, one “silver lining” of the pandemic might be the way it exposes the unfolding nature of our worlds. To that end, the pandemic helps us embody and thus “know from within” (Shotter, 2010) a constructionist sensibility.&nbsp; This embodiment of social construction takes us far beyond a simple academic understanding. The confluence of the pandemic and learning about social construction can create the opportunity to put ideas into practice and, in so doing, our understanding of constructionist ideas is deepened.</p> <p>From a constructionist perspective, COVID-19 is not separate from us.&nbsp; It is happening through us, in us, between us and because of us. Social construction helps us see the world as an interconnected and complex system in which macro and micro levels, as well as human and non-human entities are constantly creating and re-creating possible realities (Simon &amp; Salter, 2020). Indeed, this highly contagious virus, initially framed as a public health issue,&nbsp; soon revealed its complexity, having also political, social, economic, environmental and relational entanglements. Our attempt to balance the shutdowns (staying at home), for health protection, with the economic need for business to operate is an illustration of how interconnected these systems are. The virus also makes it necessary to balance physical distance with social connection and collective support.</p> <p>&nbsp;Despite the fear and discomfort, the potential for change ignited by this global crisis is substantial. By coming together with a diversity of voices, experiences, and perspectives, new performances can be enacted, new ways to respond and cope can be imagined, and new forms of living can be created – and these are all changes that could possibly be sustained once the pandemic has past. The pandemic therefore is a perfect time for dialogue and innovation. Dialogue and relationality are fundamental pillars in the construction, de-construction and re-construction of knowledge and society (Gergen, 2009a). Change starts with us in our interactions, one interaction at a time. SC invites us to come together and share the challenges we face, co-creating new possibilities for health and connection. Through collective interactions, new meanings and possibilities emerge; we re-invent realities.</p> <p>How can we address this interconnected and complex reality? And how do we ignite change that supports a reconstruction of our world in ways that address the inequities we currently face? What are the social conditions that can ignite new forms of understanding that generate new and resourceful ways of living?&nbsp;</p> Celiane Camargo-Borges, Sheila McNamee Copyright (c) The Liberty of Voices Within Ethical Writing <p>A lot of the texts being written today is written within frames and discourses that strangles the freedom of the writer and in the next round the freedom of the reader, and texts that could have been easier to read and understand remains inaccessible and hard. They are texts without a soul and are sometimes written on the side of the ethical values of the writer to maintain the frames they are enslaved by. I find that the academic genre is a genre that is characterized by a kind of thinking that maintains the power position of white male in what they themselves think is the best years of their lives. The genre is unnecessarily complicating the writing process on the expense of a more poetic language. Most of the academic and professional texts that I have written that has had a touch of poetic feeling has easily been dismissed as unacademic or unprofessional. In my opinion this leads to a hegemony of power and an understanding of what is a good and right text. This understanding applies to several professional fields such as therapy, research, social work and child protection services. The consequence of this has been that some versions of texts has remained unwritten or written within the strict borders of the certain profession. This has prevented the writer to witness other voices than those of the main discourse to be heard which adds a colonial attitude to the writing process. In the other end it also lays restrictions on the reader and which of their voices of their inner dialogue can be heard. This article is an attempt to expand the way we understand texts, both professional and more creative ones. This understanding will hopefully make it easier for the reader of the article to experiment with other ways of writing. Another main concern of the article is to give focus to the obligation the writer has to witness different voices in the text and hence clearing a way for the use of other or multiple lenses available for the reader. We live in a world constructed of language and histories, and if we can train ourselves to listen to the multiple voices and dialogues by writing and reading texts that are a bit on the side of what is accepted and appreciated by the systems I believe we also can start writing texts that not only are easier, funnier and more enjoyable to read, but we can also witness voices that so far haven’t been heard. This is typically the marginalized voices that have been suppressed by the power hegemony of the male and white supremacy. By attending to the different shades, layers and contrasts in the stories we are witnessing we are pointing our texts towards our understanding of what is a good ethical way of writing and witnessing.</p> Andreas Breden Copyright (c) Security as a verb. Szymon Chrzastowski Copyright (c) Pandemic Disease and Systems Theory <p>The fundamental problem that we raise and address in this paper is the problem of understanding our relationship with our afflictions in ways that are uniquely shaped by such afflictions. We capture our need to shifting our attention from our dominant Western epistemology to systems thinking. In this article, we argue that systems theory and thinking</p> <ul> <li>reminds us of the pathologies of epistemology that may preclude learning from our relationship with Covid-19.</li> <li>offers us a way to examine the relationship between an uninvited guest like Covid-19 guests and hosts (human beings) particularly in the light of Rumi’s formulation of being human, namely, as being a “guest house”. While we may never get to a place where we invite Covid-19 into our lives, we can at least respect the fact that it will exist in our lives, as afflictions do, and with this awareness we can begin to find ways to co-exist with it, in the same way that we must do with all other creatures and nature on our only home – Mother Earth.</li> <li>opens us to telling a story about our afflictions in ways that are uniquely shaped by such afflictions. In this regard the authors examine several human responses (stories) to Covid-19 within the context of our system that continues to change and evolve. </li> <li>uncovers the need to recover from our state of addiction to a state of sobriety. The state of sobriety returns us to an awareness that we cannot just do one thing because each movement or perturbation necessarily resonates throughout the system.</li> <li>allows us to shift to an ecological rather than a solely political or economic view of <em>Homo Sapiens. </em>This ecological shift moves us into a moral/ethical realm (we use them interchangeably here) whereby humankind learns to abide by another law. It is a law that is itself punctuated by the distinction between control and restraint. The punctuation of this distinction enables us to become more aware of our attempts to establish a unilateral control over that which is multilateral. These attempts will not only fail, but they would also create different, and perhaps more serious problems. This development of another law to abide by, suggests that we surrender ourselves to being governed by the law of restraint.</li> </ul> Stan Amaladas, Ray Becvar Copyright (c) Stan Amaladas and Ray Becvar Covid-19 Pandemic and Migration <p>Migration is arguably becoming inevitable aspect of human being more than any time; people migrate every day to elsewhere to for economic or none-economic purposes. International migration is affected by various situation of host and origin countries of migrants.</p> <p>COVID-19 pandemic outbreak is causing extraordinary impacts on overall human activities and livelihoods, it left at least millions of migrants to unemployment, thousands to deportation and detentions as well as several to destitution.</p> <p>World is at the midst of fighting the pandemic, international organizations and states are committed to protect most disadvantaged sections of communities including international migrants.&nbsp; Despite warning of international communities including IOM and UNHCR outbreak of virus in refugee camps and migrant detention centers, the report of first positive case in Bangladeshi refugee camp on 15<sup>th</sup> of May 2020 put international community at the alert. The fear is high as millions of migrants are living in devastating, overcrowded and impoverished camps in Africa, Asia and Lantin America whose health systems are poor and living conditions are hard for anti-pandemic measures.</p> <p>Migrants are more vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic infections due to their lifestyles, higher propensity of irregularity and immigration status, lower security, devastating work conditions and lower wage, etc. Reports show that migrants are highly infected by virus in proportion to nationals.</p> <p>Post COVID-19 could bring some changes in recent migration history and could be characterized by Decreased emigration and increased returns, Tightened immigration policies and boarder checks, Higher costs of irregular migration, higher racism and xenophobic attacks on migrants, Remittance transaction channels would change, and decline remittances flow.</p> Abel Copyright (c) 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) Doing remote systemic psychotherapy during a pandemic <p>This paper describes some findings from a rapid quality improvement project exploring clinician views about the delivery of remote systemic psychotherapy since the Covid-19 induced UK lockdown. Remote systemic psychotherapy is a practice response based on the need to remain physically distant from people and involves "meeting" via video link rather than in person. Written responses were gathered from early-adopter clinicians in one UK NHS trust, reflecting on their experiences of convening remote systemic psychotherapy sessions during March and April 2020. Overall, findings suggest that that remote systemic psychotherapy has been acceptable, effective and indeed welcomed by clinicians, within the pandemic context. Using a diffractive thematic analysis, four themes were constructed from clinician responses: practical and boundary issues need careful attention; the conversational flow of remote systemic psychotherapy sessions is different to that during in-person sessions; it is necessary to do things differently with words and bodies; the practice of creating meaningful dialogical communication when separated by screens is hard. Tentative practice recommendations are provided.</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)