Article: Response-Based Therapy with Victims of Violence – Despair, Resistance & Hope. Allan Wade (Canada)

About this Session

Trauma Violence And Abuse With Johnella Bird And Alan Wade

Canadian therapist Allan Wade presented his original Response Based Practice work for many years at VSNT’s Therapeutic Conversations Conferences. His incredible practice in the field of gender-based violence has been a great influence on the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy teaching faculty.

Despair both embodies and engenders resistance while it affirms the insatiable desire for freedom and dignity. What a person despairs against points to what she hopes for. Sociopolitical violence committed in the context of totalitarianism cannot be equated with personalized violence such as sexualized assault and abuse, wife-assault, physical assault, verbal abuse or workplace harassment: The structural differences between the two cases are simply too pronounced  – one essential similarity, however, is that both types of violence rely on misrepresentation. In personalized violence misrepresentation has less to do with newspeak, an orchestrated campaign of propaganda complete with its own neologisms, prohibited terminology and odd grammar, than it does with oldspeak, the habitual use of obsolete terms, vague grammar and stale metaphors that (a) conceal violence, (b) mitigate perpetrators’ responsibility, (c) conceal victims’ responses and resistance and (d) blame or pathologize victims (Coates & Wade, 2004; Todd & Wade, 2003).


Allan Wade

Allan Wade, Ph.D. is a family therapist and researcher based in Duncan, on Vancouver Island. Allan has presented at the VSNT Therapeutic Conversations conferences for many years.  Allan works extensively with victims and perpetrators of violent crime, including wife-assault, sexual assault and abuse, workplace abuse, humiliation, racism, physical abuse and armed robbery. As researcher, Allan is…


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Comments (1)

  1. jacqui.mclennaghan says:

    This really moved me. I am fairly new to NT work and have been searching for articles on working with sexual violence. I am employed by a large NGO here in NZ and we are contracted to do Sensitive Claims work. The above writing got me excited! In my shift from gestalt concepts to narrative, I have been struggling to formulate questions, and to learn a whole new language (well it seems that way!). Interview transcripts really help.
    Can anyone relate to the struggle of shifting from one way of working to another? Ngaa mihi, Jacqui 🙂


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