Exploring Children's Stories of Becoming 'Mighty': A Narrative Analysis
Growing research highlights the need to target the prevention and early intervention of mental health problems. This is reflected in a number of recently published policies emphasising the pressing importance of addressing inequalities in mental health promotion and prevention, through an integrated approach which enhances the role of schools as pivotal settings in promoting positive mental health. A key focus in recent public health implementation programmes emphasises the ethical need of inviting the child’s perspective about decisions which affect their lives.\ud Although there is growing support for the use of Narrative Therapy and Narrative Therapy Group interventions with children and young people, the perspective of parents and healthcare professionals is a predominant theme in the literature. This research is a response to this call, through attempts to ‘co-compose’ with therapy participants in their school setting.\ud A school-based Narrative Therapy Group programme, ‘Mighty Me’, offered by a small London charity, is the focus of this research. Following Narrative Interviewing with children who have participated in this group, ‘Narrative Oriented Inquiry’ was adopted to examine how children describe the narrative process of becoming ‘mighty’, and the ways in which they represent themselves, a minimum of four months after their completion of ‘Mighty Me’.\ud Within each child’s story, ‘historical unique outcomes’ are brought forth during their involvement in ‘Mighty Me’; this has created a ‘unique account’ where their ‘mighty’ qualities are evident, marked by a ‘turning point’ in the child’s narrative.\ud Upon examining a series of identity positions unique to each child, an arrangement indicative of ‘narrative reframing’ coincides with the emergence of the child’s ‘unique account’.\ud A Critical Review presents an evaluative framework enabling a number of key considerations with this research to be addressed. Attention is given to the implications of this research for Clinical Psychologists, and recommendations made for future research.
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