What is Narrative Therapy?
Narrative Therapy helps people to construct a view of themselves that is empowering so that they can overcome problems or difficulties they are facing. Narrative Therapy views “the problem” (as opposed to “your problem”) as something outside of the person – people are not problems.
How does Narrative Therapy work?
Humans are natural storytellers. We link events together in a way that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. We think of ourselves in ways that can be helpful or less so. Narrative therapists can help you using various interventions such as…
Re-authoring your story:
Your therapist can help you to understand the events in your life in a way that includes aspects of strength and resilience, which is something that we tend to leave out when we are feeling down. It can help to situate the origin of problems within a broader social or political context, as behaviours may have developed for a good reason, even if they are no longer helpful.
Viewing yourself as an “angry person” seems like a problem that is almost impossible to change (how can you change who you are?). However, if you think of yourself as a person who engages in angry behaviours – the problem seems more manageable. In this example, Narrative Therapy would help you manage “the anger”, rather than manage “your anger”. This step of externalizing the problem can help you to look at the problem in a different way while you work on it.
This involves getting into the specific details to see what exactly is upsetting or troubling, as opposed to generalized statements that can be vague. For example “I’m unhappy with my life” can feel huge. By breaking it down into components, you can understand exactly what is not going well, so that the components can be addressed.
In narrative therapy, you are the author on the stories of your life. You can envision the ways that you want to live, and to take steps towards creating that life for yourself.
You can create meaning in your life. You can decide what is important, and cultivate that.
How can Narrative Therapy help?
Narrative Therapy can help you to discover your strengths, to develop a positive view of yourself, to increase your confidence, and to find solutions to problems where you feel stuck.