I am a psychiatrist and Narrative Therapist with an interest in philosophy and history, especially poststructuralism, social constructionism and hermeneutics. My daily work is in a Family Medicine residency program, where I try to help the residents develop some knowledge and skill at understanding people's problems in the context of the many discourses that pull them toward pills, procedures, and "productivity" and away from listening so as to develop narrative empathy for peoples' predicaments. I hope to use this blog to share interesting info about these things, and to refine my ability to describe what's precious but not widely appreciated in this work.
Following Foucault, I believe that even in the most disempowered of lives, there is always lived experience that is obscured when we measure those lives against abstract, universalized norms. Narrative therapists seek to develop ways of thinking and working that bring forth stories of specific persons in specific contexts so that they can lay claim to their otherwise marginalized stories and live out the possibilities those stories reveal for their lives.
Most of the world’s media, which has rightly commemorated the children of Newtown, either ignores Obama’s murders or accepts the official version that all those killed are ‘militants’. The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears. They belong to the other: to the non-human world of bugs and grass and tissue.
“‘Are we,’ Obama asked on Sunday, ‘prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?’ It’s a valid question. He should apply it to the violence he is visiting on the children of Pakistan.