Narrative Therapy is an approach to counseling that centers people as the experts in their own lives. This therapy intends to view problems as separate entities to people, assuming that the individual
quote s set of skills, experience and mindset will assist him/her reduce the influence of problems throughout life.
This therapeutic approach intends to place the individual in both the leading role and author roles: switching the view from a narrow perspective to a systemic and more flexible stance. The aim is to help clients realize what forces are influencing their lives and to focus on the positive aspects of the lquote play
quote . In many events of our lives, we tend to focus on particular things and ignore others. Analyzing our lives as a play, or a system, helps us understand the different forces and roles that are influencing our behavior.
This in turn gives us flexibility to invoke the necessary changes for improvement. It is a highly respectful, effective, non-blaming approach. It theorizes that people organize their lives into stories, and that individual are not the ldblquote problem
dblquote the problem is the problem. It views people as having many skills, beliefs, and abilities that will help them reduce the influence of problems in their lives. The focus is not on the lquote experts
quote solving problems, it is the individual discovering through conversations of their hidden possibilities within themselves. par Narrative therapy was originally developed during the 1970
quote s and 1980
quote s, but became prevalent in North America during the 1990
quote s. The founders are Michael White a Psychotherapist and David Epston a S. S. W professor. Michael was a social worker, family therapist, author and co-director of the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, South Australia. He
quote s known for his work with children, schizophrenia, anorexia/bulimia, men
quote s violence, trauma, as well as the Indigenous Aboriginal communities.
Techniques Used In Narrative Therapy
David Epston is an author, co-author and editor of many articles and books on lquote Narrative Therapy
quote . He is a professor in the Social Work field, and the co-director of the Family Therapy article page Centre in Auckland New Zealand. He worked closely with Michael White on developing Narrative Therapy approach by integrating different forms of therapy together. par The Basic concepts of narrative therapy is to enable people to tell their stories in ways that make them stronger and Enables people who are experiencing hardship to make a contribution to others who are also experiencing hard times.
It Encourages individuals, couples, and families to more fully explore other possible ways of making sense of their situations as well as supports to break free of restricting narratives. It also maximizes the existing capabilities and resources the individual may have. The core concept in Narrative Therapy is that our lives, identities and sense of self are shaped and made up by the meaning we attribute to our experiences which, roughly speaking, are simply stated the stories we tell ourselves to ourselves and eventually to others.
When a person seeks therapy it is because their story is problem-saturated and has also became the person
quote s dominant story in their life. When this story is told to a narrative therapist they don
quote t contend the fact that it is true or false whatsoever, but simply, that it is subject to the distortion and removal which all our memories and experiences are subject to, that it is a slim description. par The techniques that narrative therapists use have to do with the telling of the story. They may examine the story and look for other ways to tell it differently or to understand it in other ways.
In doing so, they find it helpful to put the problem outside of the individual, thus externalizing it. They look for unique outcomes: positive events that are in contrast to a problem-saturated story.
dblquote (Sharf, 2004). The 3 main technique used are Firstly Externalizing the Problem. In Narrative Therapy the problem becomes the enemy of the story. Certain behaviors are based on particular lquote unhealthy
quote or lquote undesired
quote characteristics, such as lack of patience, aggressiveness, etc. Thus, they are approached as not a part of the client but as an opposing force which needs to be lquote defeated
An example would be a child that has a very bad temperament and tends to be aggressive to other kids at school and his parents. The child might feel guilty for his temperament and blame it on himself (ldblquote I don
quote t know’85 it is the way I am’85
dblquote ). The counselor will work with him towards isolating that undesired trait (aggressiveness) and placing it as an external trait endash not a characteristic of the individual. This strategy helps clients re-construct their own stories in a way which will reduce the incidence of the problem in order to eliminate negative outcomes and reinforce personal development and achievement.
The protagonist becomes the author and re-writes the story constructively. Secondly Unique Outcomes if a story is full of problems and negative events, the counselor will attempt to identify the exceptional positive outcomes. When exploring unique positive outcomes in the story, the counselor will assist the client in redeveloping the narrative with a focus on those unique outcomes. This assists the client in empowering him/herself by creating a notion that those unique outcomes can prevail over the problems. Think about this analogy: you are a novel writer.
You were given a novel to review and publish the way you prefer. You have read it and found it generally poor, but there were some interesting ideas which you liked. You selected these ideas, and re-write the novel around them. You can make a flawed story become a bestseller. Finally Alternative Narratives The focus of Narrative Therapy is to explore the strengths and positive aspects of an individual through his or her narrative. Therefore, the main objective of this therapeutic approach is to improve the person
quote s perspective internally (reflective) and externally (towards the world and others).
Alternative narratives are a simple way to relate to this concept. This technique works in combination with unique outcomes. How? The individual will reconstruct a personal story using unique outcomes, therefore, focusing on the positive aspects of a previous story in order to achieve a desired outcome. This process is based on the premise that any person can continually and actively re-author their own life. By creating alternative perspectives on a narrative (or event within the narrative) the counselor is able to assist the client in bringing about a new narrative which will help combat the lquote problems
This is similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as it aims to create a positive perspective of an event. The main goal is to get the individual to alter the way they think, feel, and behave towards their own experiences, situations, and problems affecting them in their life. It engages clients in making sense of their narrative stories by externalizing the client
quote s problem, Re-authoring the Story, and by providing a context for the new story. par The 6 Principles used in a Powerful transformative session are Dialectic and Paradoxical, Synergic, Symbolic, Holistic, Heroic and Pragmatic.
Narrative therapy has a different kind of theory as it seeks to be a respectful, non-blaming approach to counseling and community work, which mainly focuses on the person being the expert in their own lives. Narrative therapy views the problem separately from the person and assures people have the skills, beliefs, values and abilities to reduce problems that occur in their lives. In essence, within a narrative therapy approach, the focus is not on experts solving problems, it is on people discovering through conversation, within themselves and hidden unseen story lines.
Narrative therapy as been proven to be successful when used within individuals experiencing deep grief, with children experiencing problems , In group Mediation sessions, In Family therapy, with individuals who were sexually abused, with individuals who have Anxiety disorders or eating disorders- anorexia/bulimia, as well as Coaching teams and athlete. par Unfortunately this theoretical approach has some weakness when used with certain family situations. This approach is not Applicable to all problems .
It Does not consider the root ldblquote cause
dblquote of the problems and it can be vague when understanding of how problems developed. It also Holds a constructionist belief that there are no absolute truths but only socially sanctioned points of view. Therefore; therapist are Concerned that Narrative therapy are made to be lquote gurus
quote , especially since its leading proponents tend to be overly harsh. Despite being a widely used approach, particularly when combined with other therapeutic approaches . Narrative Therapy has certain boundaries and limitations.
In many occasions, diverse clients may expect the therapist to act as the expert, instead of having to lquote conduct
quote the conversation themselves. For this reason, Narrative Therapy can be challenging when the individual is not articulate. Lack of confidence, intellectual capacity and other issues could also undermine the expression of the individual through a narrative. Another common boundary of Narrative Therapy is the lack of recipe, agenda or formula. This approach is grounded in a philosophical framework, and sometimes can become a particularly subjective or widely interpretative process.