Using Biographical and Life History Approaches in the Study of Adult and Lifelong Learning: European Perspectives
Edited By Linden West, Peter Alheit, Anders Siig Anderson and Barbara Merrill
10 Therapy and Narratives of Self
1 0 Therapy and Narratives of Self Marianne Horsdal The concept of l ifelong learning implies the notion of continuous movement and development in interaction with a changing world. A decade' s autobiographical narrative research on lifelong Iearning has underscored the significance of the abilities of the individual to cope with change and imagine and plan for a future. You do not know where to go - or how to get on with your I ife - if you do not know where you are, or how you got here. To make sense of temporality and re negotiate the biography becomes increasingly important in order to overcome a temporary standsti ll and to deal with present and future challenges. The temporal dimension is a fundamental feature of human existence. The narrative mode of cognition is the exquisite device for capturing this temporal dimension of life. And, narrative integration of change is a crucial element of learning. Our encounters with the world may be wonderful, neutral or terrifying. In the flow of life and time, our experiences are temporary, but our encounters with the world can have a long lasting impact. There are situations in which our possibil ity to act, move, or control the focus of our attention is impeded. We cannot escape the encounter, be it real or imagined. What happens to our self narratives in case of severe crisis or trauma? And how may therapy assist narrative integration of past, present and future, so crucial to identity work...
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