Excerpt from a talk given at the National Association of Social Workers Conference
April 18, 2017
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What follows in this article is an attempt to explore the importance of bringing creativity into clinical practice. To that end, it is my great hope to marry style and content, since it will require some creativity to parse (and then re-braid) the inherent creativity needed for a clinician to inspire productive healing, a client to engage in productive healing, and for either or both to be trained and encouraged to do so.
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From the magazine's editor, Matthew Dahlitz:
As therapists, we are particularly interested in the coherence and integration of our clients' minds and nervous systems. In this issue, master narratologist, Gail Noppe-Brandon reveals in "Creating Coherent Narratives" how the articulation of our story prompts a tacking back and forth between the language-oriented left brain and the felt feelings of the right brain, eliciting deep memory retrieval and, ultimately, integration. Gail’s experience and understanding of the psychotherapeutic use of writing and narrative has given me a renewed enthusiasim for the power of clients' telling, or writing, their story, and for discovering ways of reconstructing such narratives toward coherence.
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Why do so many people suffer shame? And how can the voicing of their narratives, within a compassionate relationship. unlock frozen stories and allow flow and healing? Gail discusses this phenomenon in her third conversation with Talk Show Host Doug Foresta.
How do forgotten, interrupted, or false stories affect your life? What do you do when you feel "stuck in the past" but don't know how to move forward? How can you confidently voice your truth? Narrative Reconstruction is a mindful voicing and listening that can then be brought into all other relationships. It allows participants to discover the answers they already hold, in a creative approach and within a nurturing relationship. Narratology is the study of story, and how we give and take meaning from our lives and come to understand our worlds.
This episode features an interview with narratologist Gail Noppe-Brandon, as she discusses her work and the importance of creating a coherent narrative. Learn how to harness the power of story, why narrative is important, and how narrative coaching can you get unstuck.
Using footage from the documentary, Find Your Voice was featured as an episode of In the Mix, the national award-winning TV series on PBS for teens. This special feature on Find Your Voice tells the story of a unique workshop that helped a group of teens tackle common communication fears such as: speaking before a group, sharing their writing, and really listening to one another. Their guide, Gail Noppe-Brandon, was an experienced Coach who for 25 years has helped people of all ages learn to take the risk of being seen and heard. Excellent for classroom use and professional development.
The amazing transformations of a group of diverse teenagers who spend ten weeks with acclaimed Narrative Coach and author, Gail Noppe-Brandon (featured on PBS). As they write, these struggling students begin to find their voices - by learning to listen to one another, and to themselves.
2008 Winner of the Chris Award at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival
"There are moments in Listening With Their Eyes that quietly break your heart, revealing a potential in young people both enourmous and untapped..." - Marisa Suescun, Education Update
Every school in our country has identified literacy as its number one challenge; now Gail Noppe-Brandon offers a different way of looking at the subject. For the past twenty years she has successfully trained a broad range of teenagers, college students, and teachers of all subjects in her literacy-through-theatre methodology. In Find Your Voice, she clearly describes how everyone can be helped to communicate more effectively and better receive the communication of others.
"Everyone I know who took the training emerged stronger." - Robert Lopez, Composer/Lyricist, Book of Mormon
In One Vision, Many Voices, Gail Noppe-Brandon shares the results of a twenty-year experiment in generating dialogue-both on paper and between people. She outlines her life-changing "Find Your Voice" coaching method and provides an eclectic compilation of plays, scenes, and monologues from fifty powerful and moving works of dramatic literature written in response to evocative photographs.
"As an appreciative witness in the kindred domain of narrative therapy, I had long encouraged Gail to establish an institute for creative clinicians." - Robert Neimeyer, PhD, University of Memphis
TILLY TAKES A TRY written by Gail Noppe-Brandon, and illustrated by Michelle Farkouh, is a children’s books about young people learning to be seen and heard. This beautifully illustrated book explores the universal fear of the unfamiliar; it includes a guide for parents.
Chapters and Articles
Coming in 2017: A chapter co-authored with Robin Ticic, (Co-author of 'Unlocking the Emotional Brain, with Bruce Ecker) in a German text on trauma therapy. The chapter explains Coherence Therapy, with a case example from Gail's practice involving a teen who is freed from his life long use of Ritalin, and his label as 'disruptive', to become the excellent listener and learner he was always capable of being, through the use of Coherence Therapy to re-consoildate memories and Narrative Reconstruction to re-frame the story.
In this chapter, published in Techniques of Grief Therapy, Assessment and Intervention, Gail shares a clinical case in which she helps a seventy year old child of survivors of the Holocaust find the courage to voice her story for the first time, by unearthing and extinguishing the many coherent reasons for having kept silent. In so doing, Gail illustrates the fine clinical art of radical listening.
Published as a chapter in, Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning, a book that details creative approaches and techniques for working through loss in therapy. Gail's chapter outlines a technique called Interplaying, which she developed after decades of work across fields including social work, creative writing, theater production, and dramaturgy, that engages clients in healing dialogues with key figures in their lives.
Published as a chapter in: Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved, which is an indispensable guidebook to the most inventive and inspirational interventions in grief and bereavement counseling and therapy. This chapter highlights Gail's narratological work done with teens.
Published as a chapter in: Dying, Death, and Grief in an Online Universe, a book that offers a broad overview of how the communication technology revolution affects individuals coping with loss and grief, and implications of the "digital divide" between those who are knowledgeable about and have access to modern technology, and those who are not. It also highlights blogging as a mechanism for storytelling and SKYPE as a communication tool. In this chapter, Narratologists Robert Neimeyer and Gail Noppe-Brandon divulge a collaboration on the healing power (and limitations) of sharing grief stories at distance. (See review of this book in the APA.)
Published as an article on End of Life Issues for the Elderly. Published in: The Association for Death Education and Counseling®, The Thanatology Association®, Volume 36, No. 2 • April 2010
This article elaborates the moving and transformative results of Gail's narratological work with a group of seniors.