Narrative therapy often involves guests, witnesses brought from the outside, which are there to listen to the consultation. They’re usually one of two things, either former clients which had the same kind of problem and knowledge on how it can be solved, or they are a friend of the person that is consulted. This guest that is present during the first interview will usually listen without commenting.
Once the consultation is over, the therapist will talk with the guest, asking him to try to state what image or phrase stood out the most to him, plus a mention on how their own experiences resonated with what he just heard. The witness is required to do this without evaluating the things they heard or critiquing. Finally, the guest is asked to mention how he experiences himself, compared to the moment he entered, before his narrative therapy intervention began.
The witnesses often benefit from the conversations that take place. As for the person that is consulted, they find out that they’re not alone and that others have had the same problem before them. They manage to learn more about themselves and their problems, plus they have a better image on what they’re dealing with and on the possible ways they can solve it. The purpose of narrative therapy is the engagement in the problems of people, while giving them alternative solutions that are best.
According to the narrative approaches, the identity takes shape thanks to stories and narratives and sometimes they are general or personal and unique.
The stories that are saturated with problems often are the dominant ones, while the alternative stories which are placed in discourses that are marginalized are the secondary ones.
There are a number of common elements which can be recognized in narrative therapy and you can read about them below.
First of all, it’s the assumption which says that the stories or the narratives are the ones which end up shaping the identity of a person. This happens whenever someone believes that a certain dominant story is responsible for most of the problems in their life.
There is also a certain appreciation for the use of documents and for their creation.
Another common element is the externalization and the emphasis that is placed on it. One example is giving a problem a name, so that the patient can look at it and assess how it affected their life. It can also help them find out how it works and operates in their life. It also allows them to relate the their earlier history and they can evaluate it.
One other thing is the focus that is placed on the unique outcome, which is basically an exception to the problem and it’s not something that is usually predicted by the story or the narrative.
Category: Narrative Therapy