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Narrative Therapy

Our stories about ourselves and the world around us are at the heart and soul of who we are. Exploring, revising and writing new stories is the work of psychotherapy, "the talking cure".
by

Matthew Sharp

on 4 March 2016

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Transcript of Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy seeks to be a respectful, non-blaming approach to counseling and community work, which centers people as the experts in their own lives. It views problems as separate from people and assumes people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives.
Chapter 1:
Understanding and living our lives through stories.

We all have daily experiences of events that we seek to make meaningful. The stories we have about our lives are created through linking certain events together and finding a way of explaining or making sense of them. We give meanings to our experiences constantly as we live our lives. A narrative is like a thread that weaves the events together, forming a story.

What is Narrative Therapy?
The Danger of a Single Story
The author talks about "thin descriptions", aka. "the danger of a single story". She speaks in the context of race and nationality.

Can you relate to the video? What stories do you have about yourself? About other people in your life? What stories do others tell about you? Where do these stories come from? How do they make you feel? Can you recognize "thin descriptions"? Is there space for revision? For added stories?
Your Story Isn't Over Yet...
Narrative therapists, when initially faced with thin conclusions and problem stories, are interested in conversations that explore alternative stories – stories that are identified by the person seeking counseling as stories by which they would like to live their lives. The therapist is interested to seek out, and create in conversations, stories of identity that will assist people to break from the influence of the problems they are facing.
What is Narrative Therapy?
Chapter 2:
Stories in a Therapeutic Context

"Thin descriptions" of people’s actions/identities are often created by others – those with the power of definition in particular circumstances (for example, children may inherit their caregivers' stories about them, "I'm lazy" or "I'm unlovable", psychiatric patients may internalize stories like "I'm bipolar").

Other times, people come to understand their own actions through thin descriptions, ex. "I'm a junkie". Thin descriptions, drawn from problem-saturated stories, dis-empower people as they are rooted in weakness, disability or inadequacies.

It becomes very easy for people to engage in gathering evidence to support these dominant problem-saturated stories. The influence of these problematic stories can then become bigger and bigger. As the problem story gets bigger and bigger it becomes more powerful and will affect future events, leaving little hope of escaping the story and its meanings.
Exploring stories
Narrative Therapy

Where will you go??
Full transcript