Narrative therapy is a respectful and collaborative process. The narrative therapist moves away from the expert status toward one of curiosity, centering people as the experts on their lives and problems.
One of Narrative Therapy’s premises is that all people are multistoryied with a primary or dominant story that is privileged or “true”. That story becomes the leader in the person’s everyday life and decision making. Cultures, race, religion, gender, family are a few of the determinants that dictate Stories that may free people or keep them captive.
When the dominate story is problem saturated the person’s life becomes dissatisfying and in some cases unmanageable. Depression, anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, sadness, anger, rage, can take over the person’s life. At this juncture narrative therapy begins the search for alternative stories, which is the discovery of unrealized stories of strengths and newly discovered beliefs of self. This alters the power of the problem saturated and re-authoring begins. The re-authoring of life stories creates the change that people seek upon entering therapy.
Questions that may evolve from narrative conversations:
- Is the Story that is leading my life now helping or hurting me in the ways that matter to me?
- What are the Stories about me and my life experience that aren’t being heard?
- How can I live my life according to the Story of my choosing?
Another premise of Narrative Therapy is the belief that the Problem is the Problem and the person is not the problem. From this comes the use of externalizing ideas, beliefs, stories of pain that have been internalized.
Madigan (1991, 1995) has described the therapeutic practice of externalising internalised problem discourse as an elaboration of ideas advanced by White and Epston (1990.) This aspect of our work aims to discursively separate the person from the problem as a way to deconstruct taken-for-granted notions…….
(Madigan; Epston, 1995).
A ‘less than’ “attitude about self creates a rich milieu within which Problems will flourish. As a result of externalizing, the ideas of depression, anxiety, anorexia,etc., that have been taken for granted are ‘unpacked’ and understood as separate from the person. Creating an understanding of the person who has struggled, managed, moved away from the Problem as separate from the Problem allows the two (the Problem and the person) to establish a relationship. Within this relationship of separateness the person becomes empowered to produce change.
Perhaps this paradigm seems startling new? Schedule an free introductory session to have a Narrative Conversation.