Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals understand and change the stories that they tell themselves and others about their lives. The goal of narrative therapy is to help individuals identify and challenge the limiting or oppressive stories in order to create newer, more empowering narratives that promote personal growth and healing. The therapy emphasizes the idea that individuals have the capacity to create new narratives and to change their understanding of their experiences in order to improve their mental health and well-being.
Narrative therapy is based on the idea that individuals have the ability to create meaning and make sense of their experiences through the stories they tell. These stories are not just a reflection of reality, but rather are actively constructed and reconstructed through interactions with others and the wider cultural context. By examining these stories, individuals can gain insight into how they have been shaped by societal norms, family dynamics, and personal experiences, and can work to change negative or limiting narratives in order to create a more fulfilling and authentic life.
Some key principles of narrative therapy include:
- The separation of the person from the problem: Narrative therapy emphasizes that individuals are not defined by their problems, but rather that their problems are separate from them. This may allow a possibility for individuals to disentangle themselves from the problems and to see themselves as the experts of their own lives.
- Externalizing the problem: Narrative therapy encourages individuals to speak about their problems in terms of “the problem,” rather than “my problem,” in order to create distance and reduce feelings of shame or self-blame.
- Collaborative and respectful approach: Narrative therapy is based on a collaborative partnership between therapist and client, where the therapist works to empower the client to take an active role in their own healing and growth.
Overall, narrative therapy is a collaborative and empowering approach that helps individuals to understand and change the stories they tell about their lives, with the goal of improving their mental health and well-being.
Narrative therapy can be used to address a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and relationship problems. It can also be used in community settings, such as schools and workplaces, to address social issues such as racism, sexism, and homophobia when practiced in an anti-oppressive framework.
If you are interested in learning more about narrative therapy, please contact us today. One of our experienced therapists will work with you to determine the best approach to therapy for your mental health needs.
- White, M. & Epston, D. (1990). Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. W.W. Norton & Company.
- McLeod, J. (2021). Narrative Therapy. Simply Psychology.
- The Dulwich Centre (n.d.). An Introduction to Narrative Therapy.
- University of New England (2017). Narrative Therapy.
- The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (n.d.). Narrative Therapy.
- American Psychological Association (2017). What is Narrative Therapy?
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (n.d.). Narrative Therapy.