Definitional ceremonies are about allowing a person (or persons) to discuss their narratives – especially preferred narratives – with an audience present. The purpose of the audience is to ultimately witness, strengthen and support the evolving preferred narratives of the person(s) in therapy.
These ceremonies generally follow a format of:
- Person in therapy discusses their preferred narrative and supporting details in front of audience, with no overt participation of the audience
- Audience reflects on what was said by the person in therapy, including which comments affected them most profoundly (there is a general format for these questions – perhaps the topic of another post)
- Person in therapy reflects on audience comments
- Person and audience reflect together (note this step is not mentioned in original citation below, but has since been added to ceremony – it can be considered optional)
[White, M. (2007). Maps of narrative practice. W W Norton & Co. (p 185)]
These definitional ceremonies can focus on the audience helping to support the evolving preferred narratives of the client, on Re-membering Conversations, or on other significant sessions in which the client needs to share with an audience. There is an understanding behind such ceremonies that reality is a collectively created construct.