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Narrative Family Therapy

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Jai Medina

on 24 June 2013

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Transcript of Narrative Family Therapy

Brief History
Metaphor and symbolism
Writing: letters, biographies, etc.
Creative solutions
Asking for advice
Predicting Setbacks
Humor and playfulness
Using an audience
Roleplaying, conversing with the problem
Ritual, Celebrations and Certificates
Groups of 4: 2 parents, 1 child, 1 therapist
Time investment
Length of treatment can vary depending on the family - average 90 mins, 6-12 sessions over 18 months.
Objective reality
Multicultural considerations: Disclosure of family-related emotional stories may be considered taboo
Individuals who have been verbally oppressed
Cautions: Retraumatisation, reexperiencing.
Angie, Becca, Jai, Sara
Narrative Therapy
Basic Premises
Role of Therapist
Major theorists: Michael White & David Epston
White influenced by: Bateson, Bruner, Foucault, anthropology, & literary, critical, and feminist theory
Stories shape our existence
One reality is not better than another
White and Epston authored "Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends" in 1990
White est. the Dulwich Centre (AUS) and Adelaide Narrative Therapy Center (CAN)

Reality is relative: Postmodern and Social Constructivism
We all have a story: subjective, narrative reasoning
Language is key in interpretation and meaning-making
Problems are more easily dealt with if externalized
Collaborative, non-expert
"Opening Space" for new possibilities
Uses humor and enthusiasm
Focuses on strengths
Helps explore the relationship with the problem and meaning of situations
Helps identify unique outcomes
Co-constructs alternative narratives to meet family's goals
Andrews, W. (2013). A literature review on the effectiveness of narrative therapy in the family dynamic. Retrieved from http://narrativeproject.org/?page_id=45

Gibbs, S.M. (2013). The story hour: The use of narrative therapy with families. Retrieved from http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/577

Rockmore, K.A. & Laszloffy, T.A. (2003). Multiple realities: A relational narrative approach in therapy with black-white mixed-race clients. Family Relations, 52, 119-128.

Shapiro, J. & Ross, V. (2002). Applications of narrative theory and therapy to the practice of family medicine. Family Medicine, 34, 96-100.

White, M. (2005). Workshop notes. Retrieved from www.dulwichcentre.com.au

"What else does Worry do to you?"
"How does Perfectionism do this?"
"What does Anger do that is positive?"
"How does it affect your relationship/family?"
To mom, "Are you aquainted with Fear?"
"Have you noticed any ways Anxiety has tried to stage a comeback?"
"Was there a time when you felt like you were ever able to push out Anxiety?
"What are some tactics Anger uses to harm you?"
"People's lives are shaped by the meaning that they ascribe to their experience, by their situation in social structures, and by the language practices and cultural practices of self and of relationship, that these lives are recruited in to."
-Michael White
You made it, Pirate Family!
Objectifies the problem
The person is not the problem- the problem is the problem
Cast Depression as a character in the story
Results: decreases conflict, increases cooperation among family members to solve problem
Questions explore the unique qualities of problem
Writing, drawing, sculpting
Finding out
what Fear wants...
The Mean Voice
New Story
The Process
Families work as teams to attack problems
"Problems" are deconstructed with questions
Families then "re-author" their new story
New story is "re-circulated" to other family members and community
"Therapy can be seen as one person telling another her or his story. The story can be comprised of many memories such as accomplishments, fears, dilemmas, traumas, and love. Clients who come for therapy may be immersed in the problematic part of their story and may have a difficult time seeing beyond that negativity. Many times this negativity may be reinforced by what is happening or perceived as happening in the world around the client."
"If the person is the problem, there is very little that can be done outside of taking action that is self-destructive. But if a person’s relationship with the problem becomes more clearly defined, as it does in externalizing conversations, a range of possibilities
become available to revise this relationship."
- Michael White (2007, p. 26)
THE PROBLEM: The child has had the problem of Fear come into their life. S/he is afraid of the dark, has nightmares and has trouble sleeping. The child goes into their parent's bed at night, keeping everyone awake. Everyone is grumpy in morning, and parents want their own bed back and private time.
Therapist questions:
What's your role on (or near) the pirate ship?
(Each person answers, then draws themself near the ship.)
What would it look like if Fear wasn't part of your family?
(Each person answers, draws this near the treasure spot.)
What does Fear look/sound/act like?
(Each person answers, and the child draws this somewhere on the map.)
What are your pirate powers to conquer Fear?
(Each person answers, and draws this around Fear.)

Feel free to use words, images, etc.
Empowers client by emphasizing the story
Removes blame & shame
Incorporates social support structures, community inclusion
Can be useful in multi-cultural contexts due to emphasis on subjective experience
Full transcript