Definitional Ceremonies

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:

  1. Person in therapy discusses their preferred narrative and supporting details in front of audience, with no overt participation of the audience
  2. 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)
  3. Person in therapy reflects on audience comments
  4. 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.