We have all heard of the rather controversial hypnotherapy, and perhaps even the very successful cognitive behavior therapy. Even arts and movement therapy.
But narrative therapy?
What could that be?
Therapy revolving around stories?
If that was your thought process, you are absolutely right on the mark! 🙂 Narrative Therapy was developed during the 1970s and 1980s, by Australian social worker Michael White and David Epston of New Zealand.
According to Alice Morgan’s influential and highly popular text, What is narrative therapy? An easy-to-read introduction, Narrative Therapy can be about one of the following:
- Particular ways of understanding people’s identities.
- Certain ways of understanding problems and their effects on people’s lives.
- Particular ways of talking with people about their lives and problems they may be experiencing, or
- Particular ways of understanding therapeutic relationships and the ethics or politics of therapy.
The goal of narrative therapy Narrative Therapy is to be a
respectful, non-blaming approach
to counselling and community work, which centres
people as the experts in their own lives.
PRINCIPLES AND ASSUMPTIONS
“In narrative treatment, problems are considered to be outside forces
that enter people’s lives and rewrite the basic text of who they are. ”
– Paquin, 2009:92
The beauty of externalization is that
- it creates space for people to be able to explore new and different perspective on the issue.
- Without the ‘blame’ conversation, it helps to ease the conflict in interpersonal relationships, in families and in the communities.
- it avoids the problem of clients personalizing the problem, creating serious disempowering self identities and self esteem.
- it enables a real conversation ABOUT the problem, rather than from a crippling ‘I’ perspective.
2. MULTI-STORIED LIVES
Stories are how we relate to one another, and how we create meaning for our lives. It is rich with information of the wide and varied lived experiences of our lives.
Just like we can define our main life story revolving around the fact that we were given up by our parents and adopted and therefore, a worthless individual. We can also frame our dominant story as one who rose from rags to riches, and hence a determined and successful individual .
Micheal White and David Epston (1990) explored the idea of a multi-storied version of life. That enables flexibility in the interpretations of what a person might be and defied a singular definition of a person.
3. YOU ARE THE EXPERT OF YOUR LIFE
Your narrative therapist/coach will approach your sessions with the belief that
you are the expert of your life.
You are already skillful and competent in resolving your issues.
You inherently possess the necessary values, beliefs, skills, knowledge and abilities to manage your challenges. Your narrative therapist/coach is a non-judgmental collaborator who helps you address the problem, and to co-author a more nurturing story.
Narrative Therapy guides a person to
- Identify their values,
- Identify the skills, knowledge and abilities (unique qualities) that they have displayed in the past or current when undergoing hardship
- Investigate the history of the unique qualities
- Challenge the current dominant discourse (problem story) that is destructive
- Co-author a more nurturing discourse to replace the problem story.
There is so much power and liberation from re-writing a disempowering stories. You will see how I rewrote my story and my sense of identity in my autobiography book, From Zero to Shakti. The title of the book says it all. 🙂
I have also experienced the power of re-authoring using Narrative Therapy and many other modalities. But
the commitment to stay
the course is vital.
Re-authoring your story also means that first and foremost, we need to discover what is the dominant story that you have been living with. While it is very apparent for some people, it is not so for others.
It is so deeply ingrained in the unconscious mind, some people have absolutely no clue.
It doesn’t matter which category you belong to,
what matters is that you begin.
That is why I created the Story SMASH!er Coaching Program that using Narrative Therapy, Aroma Freedom Technique, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, mindfulness and a whole lot of other good stuff to give you an all-rounded support in this exciting re-authoring journey. It will radically transform your life.
grab the free
Life Story Plot exercise.
It will give you a first hand taste of how NT can powerfully help you to wear a more empowering lens in life, and to reset how you feel about yourself.
you are the light.
Seek it from within.
And of course, I’m here for you for coaching/therapy as always.
Be kind to yourself.
Grab your free Life Story Plot exercise here.
~ Nurturing Resilience, Vitality and Self-love in Women ~