“But I'm Not a Therapist”

Furthering Discussion about
Literacy Work with Survivors of
by Jenny Horsman

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This is intended as a discussion paper. I invite you to engage with it, in particular, with the “Possible Actions” noted, which are ideas for literacy programming. Would they work in your context? Are you already trying any of them? Would you like to try any? Does this report suggest other ideas for action to you? Tell me about your reactions.

For this research I interviewed many literacy workers, but of course there are many more workers that I was not able to speak to1. I encourage you to add your voice and your reactions to the study. Contact me. I will incorporate your ideas into further writing on this theme.

Email: jenny@jennyhorsman.com     Fax: (416) 533-3937
Spiral Community Resource Group,
35 Parkway Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6R 1T6.

This material may be copied and distributed for discussion purposes. Please circulate widely.

1This paper is informed by the wisdom of more than one hundred and fifty literacy learners and workers, therapists, counselors and others who participated in this study. Because I talked to so many people, there is not space here to credit each person when I drew from their ideas, although I learned from every person. I initially thought I could give names when the idea came from one person, but I realized where several people offered a similar description, the list of names would be too unwieldy. Whether ideas were described by one or many they were equally crucial to this analysis, so I did not want to include some names and leave others out. I did include footnotes to acknowledge those whose input made a whole section possible or shaped the overall direction of the paper. I hope that this paper honors and reflects the accumulated experience and collective wisdom of all who spoke (or wrote) to me. The names of all who participated will be listed in an in-depth account of the research which I hope to publish in 1998.

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