Narrative Therapy is used to examine a client’s issues and past-experiences by the analysis of information conveyed to the therapist in narrative form. By dissecting these personal stories the therapist can gain insight into the person’s life, identify conflicts and negative patterns of behaviour.
Narrative therapy derives from therapists Michael White and David Epston. Their book, Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends (1990) was highly influential, especially in the US and inspired psychotherapists such as Hans Strupp and Jeffrey Binder to develop its theories. The modality has become increasingly prevalent over the last decade with modern therapists utilising many of the movement’s techniques.
This approach is practiced using both Cognitive and Constructivist theories. In practice the therapist encourages the client to articulate their narrative and takes an impartial, but inquisitive approach.
One of a practitioner’s chief tasks is to get the client to detach themselves from a problem and see it as a story that exists outside of themselves. This is intended to help the client work towards retelling their narrative in a more positive manner.
How can Narrative Therapy Help?
Narrative Psychotherapy has been used successfully to treat a large range of issues. These include people experiencing feelings of grief, self-hate and guilt. It is also suitable for abuse sufferers and is used widely to address family problems. The movement originates from work with children and is a trusted approach with regards to the young.