How Does Narrative Therapy Work

narrative therapy

Narrative Therapy is a relatively new approach that therapists use to help their clients. The benefits of this type of therapy are still being explored, and there is still a lot to be learned about this approach.

As it is still new, therapists often differ in what they mean by Narrative Therapy and how they use it. Some could use it to refer to the nature of people’s identity, and others could refer to viewing one’s problem in a particular manner.

With so many viewpoints regarding this therapy approach, it is not hard to see why it would get confusing.

What is Narrative Therapy?

Since many people view this therapy differently, it is essential to understand what it entails. Overall, this approach to treatment seeks to be non-blaming and collaborative. It considers people separately from their problems and does not blame individuals for any issues in their lives. It is used to objectify one’s situation and then develop solutions as to how to resolve them. 

With this approach to therapy, therapists view individuals as capable people who have the resources to solve their problems; the individuals are seen as centers of their lives but are not blamed for any problems in their lives.

By objectifying or externalizing one’s problems, individuals are able to see that the problem is not a part of their ‘self’; it is not unchangeable and permanent, but rather something that needs to be resolved. Hence, by separating it from the self, they can lower their defenses and be less resistant to solving the problem.

What Makes This Approach Stand Out?

While this approach to therapy is fairly new, it is already used widely. However, some may still not understand how this approach works to help clients resolve their problems. 

As mentioned earlier, narrative therapy is a collaborative approach and views individuals as experts of their lives. It is a non-blaming approach which understands that people are capable of solving their problem, and it is aided by helping to externalize their problems.

When employing this approach, a person’s life is viewed as a collection of stories. Events that happened in a person’s life can become tidbits of stories, and of course, some stories are more memorable than others. These extraordinary stories are quite significant in helping shape one’s self and identity as one grows up.

Since a client’s life is viewed as a storybook, it is important to remind them that their story is still being written. Through this collaborative approach, the therapist does not act as an expert but rather as a guide to help the clients. In narrative therapy, the client is viewed as capable of solving their problems, discovering who they are, their potentials, and their limitations. 

How Does This Therapy Help People

With this approach, individuals are encouraged to help find their life purpose, despite their problems; they are encouraged to view themselves as more than just a sum of their problems. Thus, it helps to mitigate the feeling of self-blame, encourages open conversation regarding the issue, and helps clients take back control of their path towards change.

How to Find the Best Narrative Therapists?

Does the idea of narrative therapy sound intriguing to you? Well, it may benefit you, too. Understanding how narrative therapy works helps individuals feel assured that this approach will benefit them in the future. Hence, they feel like they are working towards a goal rather than wasting their time.

To find a narrative therapist, you need to feel comfortable around them. A narrative therapist may be a social worker, a therapist, or other mental health professionals. Generally, the mental health professional should have some additional knowledge about this approach to therapy through workshops, and training, as it is a fairly new approach. During the session, you should feel comfortable around the therapists and not experience a judgemental atmosphere. 

The therapist works as a guide and a subject matter expert. They should encourage you to take the lead and simply help in guiding you in a path, rather than pushing you towards it. Keep in mind that if you feel uncomfortable or unhappy with your current therapist, you can always look around for someone else to ensure that you are getting the most out of your experience. 

The world of therapy has several approaches. If one type does not work for you, you can always opt for a different approach to help you lead a more positive, enlightened, and productive life. Before choosing any approach, you should carefully analyze your specific conditions, needs, and expectations to make the right choices. 

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