Narrative therapy is a non-judgmental and collaborative therapeutic approach that aims to help individuals connect with valued aspects of their lives while separating from the problem stories that affect their journey in life. A Narrative approach to therapy is respectful of all human experience. Narrative therapists view people as the experts of their own lives and experiences.
What is Narrative Therapy?
Narrative Conversations Denver
People come to see me wanting to resolve a problem in their lives and more often than not, this isn’t the first time they’re seeing a therapist. As a Narrative therapist, I start by allowing my clients to share the issues that are troubling them, but different from other therapists, I will not just focus on those problem stories; instead, I will collaborate with my clients to identify gaps from where alternative and preferred stories can be developed. This newly identified stories are typically more consistent with the person’s values and hopes.
The Therapist and Client Relationship
The therapist’s position is de-centered but influential. This means that the therapist respects the client as the expert on the stories of their lives. Meanwhile, the therapist guides the process through leading questions and deconstruction of stories in order to make visible preferred ways of living. This is typically done by helping the person identify and reconnect with their values, commitments, purposes, and hopes that may have become obscured by a problem-dominated story.
Why Narrative Therapy
Narrative Therapy is a therapeutic approach that sees people as being multi-storied in contrast with single-storied. For a variety of reasons, people tend to identify with problem stories about their identity, and this often shapes their behavior, as well as their hopes and purposes. Narrative Therapy places emphasis on who a person truly is regardless of their circumstances. It views the person separate from the problems they face. In therapeutic conversations, Narrative therapists are drawn to people’s values, intentions, hopes, commitments, even as they explore the problems. The therapeutic journey helps bring back alternative stories that have been overlooked and neglected. Oftentimes, these stories not only highlight people’s skills and resources, but they also present us with stories that shed light on people’s resistance against the negative effects of problems and problem narratives.
Single stories tend to shape people’s perspectives of their lives. These single stories become dominant and influence people in different ways; typically ways that obscure their values, hopes, purposes, and commitments. In Narrative Therapy, the therapist is an active participant in helping people reshape stories, identify alternative stories, and find hidden meanings.
Narrative therapists view people as meaning-makers. People seek to interpret and make sense of experiences, events, and stories. Narrative Therapy proposes that people live stories throughout their lives, link them in sequence, across time, and according to a plot.
If this brief description resonates with you, or if you feel like you want to give this a try, give me a call soon to schedule an appointment or phone consultation.