Narrative Therapy is a collaborative effort of David Epston and Michael White. They formulated this approach to help people externalize their issues and deal with them effectively.
Using this approach, you can separate yourself from any problem or sensitive issue and view it objectively. This approach believes that people are capable of solving their problems once they can externalize them. It views people as competent individuals with resources to solve their problems effectively; objectifying an issue helps lower one’s defences and deal with their problems effectively.
How Does Narrative Therapy Work?
Mainly, this approach is non-pathologizing, collaborative, empowering, and non-judgemental. When using this approach, therapists view clients as experts in their lives and know that they are capable of solving problems.
With Narrative Therapy, therapists encourage their clients to tell stories about their lives and narrate how their clients would like the story to play out. The focus is to help the client externalize these issues and view it as something separate from the self. Hence, the focus is to help them see these sensitive topics as something other than an unchangeable part of themselves. It helps give individuals the power to shape their identity.
As with any approach, Narrative Therapists view their clients as strong and able to deal with their problems. The therapy does not blame the individual for their problems and helps empower them by recognizing the work that they are doing in addressing their issues by themselves. Hence, the therapist always remains respectful of their clients and never makes them feel inferior because of their problems.
Who Can Benefit from Narrative Therapy?
Once people’s question of what is narrative therapy is answered, they want to know who can benefit from this approach. Generally, a therapist may use this approach with individuals, couples, or even with families.
Using narrative therapy and telling stories makes it easier for people to communicate their problems, fear, and issues. When used in a group setting, such as with couples or with families, they can look at issues objectively and view them as a problem they have to tackle together. Hence instead of opposing one another, they can view the problem as something they must work together to solve.
What Is the Aim of Narrative Therapy?
With this approach, the goal is not to transform the person. Instead, this approach is designed to help people find their purpose in life and find out how they can effectively deal with their problems.
Using this approach, an individual can see how certain issues may also be beneficial for them rather than just detrimental to their lives. Looking at their problems from a new perspective helps individuals find out how they can solve them and learn from them.
Should Narrative Therapy Be Used Widely?
The approach has gained popularity as it is able to help people look at their problems objectively. By separating themselves from the issue, individuals can often solve their problems independently, rather than view it as something insurmountable. Exploring this approach can be effective in individual or group settings, as it improves communication flow.
Although this approach is relatively new and still being studied, it has been demonstrated that it may be effective. But, even if you understand what narrative therapy is, it isn’t sufficient. Understanding different approaches can help you determine which one may be more suited to your issues.
With growing popularity, people may use this approach widely in the future. However, work with therapists having in-depth knowledge and experience in this therapy to get the expected outcomes.