Narrative therapy is a therapeutic approach that helps a client to reframe his or her story by shifting the paradigm. Narrative therapy also seeks to externalize a person’s concern, issue or problem by identifying external influences that exacerbate the issue or concern.
In working with a client using Narrative Therapy, we might start by having the client tell his or her story to me, the therapist. Based on this story, together, we may identify the goals that the client wants to work on. These goals may reveal a world-view, or paradigm, that influences the individual at many levels and perhaps even subconsciously. A person’s values may influence his or her world view greatly. Using narrative therapy, we will identify other strengths-based values, qualities or influences that are overshadowed by the overarching problem. By identifying these qualities, we will discover, together, how the individual has survived and thrived under difficult circumstances or life events. Therefore, the purpose of Narrative Therapy is not to focus solely on issues, problems or concerns, reinforcing the source of frustration or pain. Shifting one’s focus enables one to identify inner resources and resiliency that help one overcome. An individual is not defined by his or her problem but by the wealth of resources he or she brings to life itself.