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Narrative Therapy

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Traci Goertzen

on 21 March 2016

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Transcript of Narrative Therapy

by Brooke and Traci Narrative Therapy What is Narrative Therapy? History What is a story? 5 stages of the Therapeutic Process How can I change my story? Narrative Therapy in Action How does it compare?
Problems are seen as separate entities from the person

We make meaning of our lives through the stories we live

A person’s identity is formed by our experiences or narratives.

Problems are manufactured in social, cultural and political contexts

People have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to change their relationship with problems in their lives.

Therapists facilitate experience of new stories-
narratives that are more empowering, more satisfying,
and give hope for better futures. Michael White Settings- supply the background for the characters to act out the plot, and indicates where, when and for how long the story takes place.
Characterization- the people in the client's story, such as the protagonist/main character (often the client), or the antagonist (those in conflict with the main character/client).
Plot/themes- one or more episodes or actions that happen in the story. -dominant stories and subordinate stories
-look for points of entry
-Thickening different streams
-"absent but implicit"
-construction and deconstruction 1st Stage: Define the problem

2nd Stage: Map the influence

3rd Stage: Evaluating and justifying the effects of the problem

4th Stage: Identify unique outcomes

5th Stage: Re-storying Similarity
Solution-focused counseling as it is based upon principals of social constructivism

Psychoanalytic Theories where problems are considered internal. "we become the stories that we tell about ourselves." Stage 1:
Defining the problem During the client's narrative, they provide a description of the problem

Name the problem

Therapist note-taking Stage 2: Mapping the Influence Stage 3: Evaluating and justifying the effects of the problem Clients are invited to evaluate their own position regarding the problem.

It’s okay for the therapist to ask “why” questions

Congruency with goals and intentions Stage 4: Identifying unique outcomes Stage 5: Re-storying Restructuring or re authoring a story What are the strengths and challenges? -Thoughts, behaviours, feelings, or events that contradict or provide an exception to the dominant story

Therapist will ask near and particular questions

Maps the influence in different realms

Objectifying the clients problems as oppressive

Deconstructing negative self identities

Contextualize the problem

Empowerment process Outsider Witnessing Outsider witnessing brings in other people to witness the client's story.

This witnessing can happen face to face with client and witnesses within the therapy session, or the therapist can retell the client’s story (with their permission of course) to others, and involve those ‘witnessing’ the story by getting specific feedback for the client.

The witness listens to the story/interview without comment

The therapist asks the outsider witness(es):

to state what image or phrase stood out for them
to report any comparisons between their own life struggles and the clients
in what way they experienced a shift in how they experienced themselves as they listened to the conversation

The therapist asks the client what stood out in the outsider witness conversation Thick and Thin Problem-saturated stories are those that we have strongly developed:
The themes are "thicker", more established
These are often our "dominant stories"- stories that gain their dominance at the expense of preferred, alternative stories

Alternate stories branch off from the dominant story:
The themes are less developed and so stories are considered thin
They offer "points of entry" for developing the thinner narratives into a preferred story References http://ezinearticles.com/?Narrative-Therapy-in-Coaching&id=591373
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:r__LmokfpfcJ:www.thenarrativecentre.com.au/page5.htm&hl=en&gl=ca&prmd=imvns&strip=0 The plot connects the person's life into a meaningful whole. “The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.” "A narrative or story is anything told or recounted; more narrowly, something told or recounted in the form of a causally-linked set of events" "Stories determine how people act, think, feel, and make sense of new experiences." The therapist's goal is to help the person contextualize and enrich the story with as much detail as possible. A story is comprised of setting, characterizations & plots. During this stage, therapeutic documents are made to memorialize the counterplot, such as:

session notes
lists of achievements
uniquie outcomes
achievment certificates
bravery awards
These documetns help reinforce what has taken place during therapy

‘Outsider witnesses’ may be brought in to listen, validate and affirm the clients preferred story.

Stages can start over again with another preferred story...the process loops back, and is not neccessarily linear. Emphasized in the prefered story:
Client desires, wishes and preferences
Personal values
Relationship vlaues
Intention and plans Thickening: the preferred story must be rich with setting, actions, and consequences Resistance to the alternative story are explored Investigate how clients influence the problem instead of how they have been affected by it Promoting a history of struggle and protest against oppression from the problem Alternative stories are attached to every 'unique outcome' The choice to establish an alternative narrative Narrative therapy is a respectful, collaborative, non-blaming,
non-pathologizing, competency-based approach, which considers people as the experts in their lives. Outsider Witnesses:
help clients see they are not the only one with the problem
help provide more material for an alternative story provide support as they relay their own story
deconstruction and re-authoring process can provide additional suggestions for re-authoring can be used to document that the client is moving toward their
preferred story Steps to follow: -Question process
-Externalizing the problem
-Deconstructing Concepts and Influences STRENGTHS

Narrative therapy is multi-culturally compatible
Transparent and genuine- because it does not see the client as ‘sick’
Collaborative- gives clients a sense that they are part of the process and have some control
Client as expert- The idea is to emphasize the therapeutic relationship, in particular the therapist’s attitudes.
Political way of working with client
Very flexible- for many settings, people and problems
Can work for people who are shy CHALLENGES

Difficult for some people who are not articulate.
Some critics complain about its complexity
Some therapists might not get the paradigm shift
No step-by-step path marked out
It takes time and effort to integrate into one's therapeutic style
Conversational tone can be perceived as ‘not therapy’ What's Unique about it? -Literary Therapy
-Social Constructivism
-Social justice is a huge component
-Philosophy (Michel Foucault’s power structure)
-Collaborative relationship with family, friends and community
-Emphasis is on victory
-Emphasis is on uniqueness of persons, not their “deviance” Problems! Internalized Externalized Person is the problem
Problem is what is wrong with the client
Experts are needed to explain client's behaviours
Therapist is an expert on the client
Social context of client is minimized- racism or sexism not dealt with

During therapy sessions, a great deal of time spent on client's problems -Focuses on externalizing

-Involves family, friends and groups Problem is the problem
Problem is external to the client's self identity
People are invited to give their interpretations of self
Clients are experts over themselves
Therapist examines cultural, social-political contexts that affect client's story. Racism and sexism are dealt with Focus on enabling clients to separate themselves from their problem stories Clients reauthor their own lives based on alternative and preferred stories of identity. Therapist reorders client's personality according to theory of personality David Epston Collaborated and began hosting workshops together around the world since 1981 Epston’s most outstanding trait was storytelling, which was the start of narrative therapy
White added the dimensions of deconstructing the complexities of language in the narrative preparation. Narrative therapy was developed as a reaction to labelling and pathologizing.
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