Project

Questions that unfold stories

Goal: This project is interested in exploring questions that unfold life stories, heal broken life stories and promote the development of character through life stories. The questions this project is concerned with may be categorized as existential or spiritual in nature and it is initially envisaged that they will comprise of the questions a person ask of themselves during the therapeutic journey or may be the questions a person perceives the world to be asking of them that is either from a situational (i.e. fate or destiny) or greater power (i.e. spiritual, mystical, universe or synchronous). In the first instance, it is necessary to understand how life stories create meaning for a person (and vice versa) to further understand what role questions these sorts of questions may play in this process in order to empirically define their role and then explore and develop practices to enhance resources to create healthy life stories.

Date: 1 January 2019

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Project log

Lee Newitt
added a research item
This dissertation will share the findings from an integrative literature review of narrative identity using a meta-ethnographic approach. First, we will interpret each of the three established narrative identity theories; McAdams’ ‘Life Story Model’, Hermans’ ‘Dialogical self’ and White and Epston’s ‘Narrative Therapy’ in order to contrast how self as meaning may be created. Second, the dissertation will share an experiential model of narrative identity derived from the synthesis of these theories and wider research. In this Narrative Modes of Meaning Model, we shall propose a person’s relationship between their self and their world may create four distinct yet overlapping narrative modes of meaning. We will further suggest that polarity might play an important role in forming these complex and coherent meanings of self. The dissertation takes the standpoint that making meaning of self from the story of life may be construed as a dynamic position of equilibrium between polarities in a person’s experiences of life. We will attempt to demonstrate that a person’s sense of who they are, their ‘meaning of self’ may be created from the interplay between these narrative modes of meaning. Furthermore, we will suggest this ‘meaning of self’ may be thought of as a simultaneous and paradoxical composite self that is created by and creates a person’s dynamic, relational experience of the world and suggest recent research to support this overall view. Finally, the dissertation will explain how the Narrative Modes of Meaning model integrates the established narrative identity theories and demonstrate how moving sequentially through these narrative modes of meaning ‘in time’ may create a person life story ’over time’. Concluding that a person’s life story life may be the organisational structure that simultaneously balances their evolving self-complexity with self-coherence. Keywords: Narrative Identity; Life Story; Meaning; Complexity; Coherence.
Lee Newitt
added a research item
This article will share the preliminary findings from a wider and ongoing interpretive synthesis of narrative identity literature. First, we provide the analogy of Dante’s journey through the ‘inferno’ to contextualize the review. Second, we share interpretations of literature pertaining to how life stories create meaning and suggest polarity might play an important role in forming complex and coherent meanings of life and selfhood. Meaning making in life stories is seen as a dynamic position of equilibrium between polarities in experiences that lead to themes and patterns. We suggest as an example the interplay between self and the world creates a person’s sense of agency, the extent a person believes they create their world or are created by it. Third, we interpret literature pertaining to how meaning creates life stories and suggest some examples of practise that may increase complexity and coherence through the expression and embodiment of meaning. Concluding by asking, if it is the balance between these different experiences of meanings that provide a person with the greatest sense of who they are?
Lee Newitt
added a project goal
This project is interested in exploring questions that unfold life stories, heal broken life stories and promote the development of character through life stories. The questions this project is concerned with may be categorized as existential or spiritual in nature and it is initially envisaged that they will comprise of the questions a person ask of themselves during the therapeutic journey or may be the questions a person perceives the world to be asking of them that is either from a situational (i.e. fate or destiny) or greater power (i.e. spiritual, mystical, universe or synchronous). In the first instance, it is necessary to understand how life stories create meaning for a person (and vice versa) to further understand what role questions these sorts of questions may play in this process in order to empirically define their role and then explore and develop practices to enhance resources to create healthy life stories.
 
Lee Newitt
added 2 research items
Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be?” may be the most famous question in the history of humanity. It may also be the most profound question a person might ask himself or herself. So what is it about questions that can so fully encompass the wholeness of human experience? Is it because questions start journeys, open up thinking, or because questions remain the same when answers change? This paper reviews narrative psychology literature to explore the role questions might play in driving the development of a person’s life story. The relationship between narrative and meaning suggests that because of a question’s role in reasoning, it may act as both a meaning bridge and a driver of the authoring process. How a person relates to or holds their questions might also influence how conflicts, contradictions, and paradoxes are integrated into their life stories. Finally, evidence from critical thinking research suggests character strengths that might help a person relate to their questions so that a journey of discovery is begun. Ultimately, may the answer be found not in finding an answer, but in the exploration of a question? Keywords: Meaning, Narrative, Questions, Dialectics.
Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be?” may be the most famous question in the history of humanity. It may also be the most profound question a person might ask himself or herself. So what is it about questions that can so fully encompass the wholeness of human experience? Is it because questions start journeys, open up thinking, or because questions remain the same when answers change? This paper reviews narrative psychology literature to explore the role questions might play in driving the development of a person’s life story. The relationship between narrative and meaning suggests that because of a question’s role in reasoning, it may act as both a meaning bridge and a driver of the authoring process. How a person relates to or holds their questions might also influence how conflicts, contradictions, and paradoxes are integrated into their life stories. Finally, evidence from critical thinking research suggests character strengths that might help a person relate to their questions so that a journey of discovery is begun. Ultimately, may the answer be found not in finding an answer, but in the exploration of a question? Keywords: Meaning, Narrative, Questions, Dialectics.