The ‘Tender Narrator’ Who Sees Beyond Time:
A Framework for Trauma Integration and Healing
Keywords:trauma, collective trauma, trauma integration, collective healing, presence
While trauma occurs in separation, healing happens in relation, where the inner dynamics of voice and expression play an important role in narrating a traumatic experience. In her acceptance speech for the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, novelist Olga Tokarczuk envisioned a new form of a literary narrator, one who sees beyond a singular point of view to include the interrelatedness of the world and the interdependence of all beings. In this article, we present a framework for the integration of individual and collective trauma that is focused on creating safe, interactive group spaces for dialogue, group coherence building, reflection, and transformative practices. We illustrate the foundational role of narrative as part of this integration process in groups and programs led by the article’s co-author, teacher and international facilitator Thomas Hübl. We examine the stages of the narrative process in trauma integration, observing the potential shifts in points of view to listen for the voice of what Tokarczuk refers to as the “tender narrator”.We review the literature on trauma and collective trauma, and identify its impacts, especially its ubiquitous nature as part of every society’s social milieu. We also read part of a transcript of a dialogue focused on intergenerational and historical trauma, inviting us, as authors and readers, to participate in a practice of embodied witnessing. In presenting this framework, our intention as collaborators is to underline the urgency for healing individual and collective trauma through engaging in novel pathways of group experiential learning and integration.
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