What is Narrative Therapy?
Narrative therapy can be used to treat a variety of different conditions. Learn more about narrative therapy and the resources that are available.
What is Narrative Therapy?
Narrative therapy focuses on the stories you develop and carry throughout your life. Narrative therapy techniques help you embrace your story and become an expert in your own life.
You can carry multiple stories related to your self-esteem, abilities, relationships, and work. Narrative therapists can help you heal, move past problematic stories, and help you focus on positive outcomes. Narrative therapy can be effective for those who struggle with past trauma impacting their lives and well-being.1
How Does Narrative Therapy Work?
Narrative therapists help individuals put together their narratives. Your therapist will likely ask you questions and assist you in activities that help you tell your story and express your feelings about events that have taken place in your life.
Over the course of several therapy sessions, you’ll go through your story with your therapist and work on changing thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions that are associated with negative memories.
Techniques of Narrative Therapy
During narrative counseling, you’ll use various narrative therapy techniques to tell your story and work through issues you’re struggling with.
Understanding Your Current Story
When you begin narrative counseling, your therapist will work with you to understand your current story. They will ask you about your current life situation, what you’re struggling with, and will help you develop goals for your treatment. Your current story is an essential aspect of setting up the rest of the treatment program.2
Externalizing Your Story from Your Identity
Once an individual has put together their story, the narrative approach helps them observe their problems from an outside perspective. This allows individuals to view their problems as external, rather than an unchangeable part of themselves.
Re-Authoring Your Story
As you work through narrative counseling, you will begin re-authoring your story through different narrative therapy techniques. One of the strengths of narrative therapy is that it can help you work through negative past events to improve your perspective and overall well-being. You can then begin rewriting your story to create a better state of mind in the present and move forward into the future.
What Can Narrative Therapy Help With
- Anxiety: The combination of narrative therapy and anxiety treatment can be very effective for many people. Narrative therapy interventions can help you learn about how your story has affected your anxiety and begin to learn coping mechanisms that can help.
- Attachment issues: Attachment issues can often stem from negative past experiences. Narrative therapy interventions can help you learn about how past experiences have led to attachment issues and begin working on healthier ways to cope with the daily stresses of life.
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): The narrative approach can also be effective for those who struggle with ADHD. The unique outcomes of narrative therapy can help people with ADHD see their condition from a new perspective and learn coping mechanisms for daily life.
- Depression: Those who struggle with depression can also see many benefits from narrative therapy assessment. The narrative approach can help find where depression stems from in someone’s life and work through those difficult circumstances.
- Eating disorders: Narrative therapy skills can also help those with eating disorders build more positive associations with food that lead to better eating habits.
- Grief: The unique outcomes of narrative therapy can also help deal with grief and see it from a different perspective.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Trauma narrative therapy can help those who struggle with PTSD work through negative thoughts and emotions associated with traumatic incidents.
What to Expect at Your First Sessions?
During your first sessions, your therapist will get to know you and your current situation. They will likely ask you questions that help you tell your story of where you are now in life. Your therapist will then help you set goals for what you want to get out of your sessions.3
Is Narrative Therapy Effective?
Narrative therapy can be very effective in treating various conditions, and many people have found this approach successful. Narrative therapy’s effectiveness depends on the individual, their condition, and how committed the individual is to the treatment method.
To find out if this approach to therapy may be the best option for you, consult your doctor or contact a treatment provider for more information.
Benefits of Narrative Therapy
- Respect: Narrative therapy is focused on respect for the individual and their story. A narrative therapist will use techniques that respect your experiences which will help you feel more comfortable during treatment.
- Non-Blaming: Narrative therapy will not place blame on anyone for problems that have occurred. Narrative therapy goals are focused on solutions to your current issues rather than placing blame.
- Client as the Expert: Narrative therapy is a form of self-help because the individual is the expert. Only you know how to tell your story best, and your therapist will allow you to portray it in the best way possible. Narrative therapy self-help can help boost self-esteem and leads to a better overall feeling of well-being.
Things to Consider Before Starting Narrative Therapy
Before you begin a narrative therapy program, you should consider the following things:
- This type of therapy can be very in-depth. It explores different factors that can influence your story.
- It involves talking about your problems as well as your strengths. You’ll discover ways that your story might contribute to your pain and uncover strengths that can help change your perspective on your problems.
- You’ll reevaluate your judgments about yourself. You’ll reassess negative thoughts that have been placed on you by others and replace them with more positive ones.
- It challenges you to separate yourself from your problems. You’ll learn to give yourself credit for behaving well or making good decisions.
Narrative therapy will challenge you to look at difficult parts of your life. However, the benefits of this approach make it well worth it in the end.