Narrative therapy focuses on the different ways the same life can be told as a story. And it helps us stand back and consider what stories we prefer and why.
Some of the links below describe the approach, including the details of the background theory. In contrast to its theory, in the consulting room, narrative therapy is very down to earth.
As we talk together I seek to support and encourage your own curiosity about the stories you tell about your life, where they come from, whether they “fit” for you, and whether there are “exceptions” to them that might form the basis of different and preferred stories. While this might sound simple, it is surprising how powerful this approach can be.
Sometimes, my role will be to ask a series of structured questions that have helped other people in the past. These questions seek to draw out your own knowledge and expertise about what is important to you, about the problems you have faced, about how other people see you, about what the future might look like for you. and so on.
Part of the approach involves finding your own names for things. So rather than try to shoehorn your difficulties into the categories in a psychological text book – “depression” or “anxiety disorder” etc. – we find names or slogans that mean something to you and that fit your particular experience.
I enjoy the process of trying to find a good name for something and many of the people I have worked with have enjoyed it too. On the other hand, some of the problems that have been named, have been less happy about it. Once named, and named well, a problem often finds it has less power to intrude in your life in unwanted ways.
- Alice Morgan’s friendly introduction to Narrative Therapy
- Workshop notes on Narrative Therapy – from a workshop I gave in 2007
- Dulwich Centre website – lots of resources from home of Narrative Therapy
- The Institute of Narrative Therapy – the UK’s centre for Narrative Therapy