Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Theories and Methods - Narrative Therapy

In narrative therapy the therapist assumes the role of explorer by gathering and examining the myths and patterns that shape the lives of an individual or family system. The therapist focuses on understanding the client’s experiences and how those experiences create expectations through stories. Our stories influence our views of the present and future and contain the things that we choose to remember and notice in our lives. Life Stories are filter narratives that serve as gatekeepers for our experiences. These stories function to weed out experiences that do not fit the plot of our lives, or alter the experiences until they fit the plot.
Narrative therapy is influenced by social constructionism which states that: realities are socially constructed, constituted through language, organized into narratives, and that there are no meta-truths. Furthermore, therapists in this mould are encouraged to collaborate with clients, search for counter-narratives (those narratives that function in opposition to dysfunctional narratives), use questions for clarification and insight into new stories, and help people author new stories apart from those that derive from culturally dominant sources. The postmodern approach that underlies much of narrative therapy forces the therapist to eschew labels and diagnosis in order to re-humanize the client.

The goal of narrative therapy is the awakening of the client to the experiences before them and the co-authoring of new stories that speak of the way a person wishes to relate to the world. Therapists seek to remove (externalize) the problem from the person so that a separate entity is created and attacked apart from the person. Moreover, through careful use of questions the narrative therapist can get to know the client apart from the problem, further externalize the problem and examine its effects on the person, and help the person re-author dominant stories and deconstruct cultural stories that may hold a person back.

For further review: Maps of Narrative Practice, Narrative Therapy, Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends

No comments: