What Is Narrative Therapy

Narrative Therapy is a form of Counselling that views people as separate from their problems. This allows clients to get some distance from the issues: to see how the issue might actually be helping them or protecting them, more than it is hurting them.  With this new perspective, individuals feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behaviour. Consequently, they can “rewrite” their life story with a future that reflects who they are, what they are capable of, and what their purpose is. In other words, they separate themselves from their problems.

When It’s Used

Individuals, couples, and families can all benefit from Narrative Therapy. Those who define themselves by their problems, whose lives are dominated by such feelings as, “I am depressed” or “I am anxious” can learn to see their problems as something they have, but not something that identifies who they are.

What To Expect

Your therapist will encourage you to direct the conversation by asking what you would prefer to talk about and to see the presenting problem as outside of yourself rather than a flaw in your character. After some time, your therapist will lead you to tell other, more positive stories from your life to help you discover inherent traits and skills that can be used as resources to address your problems. The purpose is for you to see how there are other positive and productive ways to approach your life and your future. Your problem is not your identity.

How It Works

In Narrative Therapy, the events that occur over time in a person’s life are viewed as stories, some of which stand out as more significant or more fateful than others. These significant stories, usually stemming from negative events, can ultimately shape one’s identity. Beyond this identity, the Narrative Therapist views a client’s life as a life script, and full of possibilities that are waiting to be discovered and rewritten. The therapist does not act as the expert, but rather helps the client see how they are the experts regarding their own life and, as such, can uncover the dreams, values, goals, and skills that define who they really are, separate from their problems. These are the buried stories that can be rewritten and woven into the ongoing and future stories of their lives.

What To Look For In A Narrative Therapist

A Narrative Therapist is a licensed mental health professional who has training in Narrative Therapy through academic programs, intensive workshops or online continuing education. You should feel safe and comfortable working with any Narrative Therapist you choose.