“What is your story?” Founded by Michael White and David Epston, narrative therapy is based on the idea that humans create meaning in their lives through their stories about others and themselves.
Humans use stories to interpret events and experiences. This form of therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people view themselves as separate from their problems. In this way, people can put some distance between issues and concerns and view them from an external lens. One way to look at therapy is through the concept of “changing your story.”
Another way to look at this is “a person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.” An example is a person who states, “I am a depressed person.” Narrative therapy would help change this to “I have depression,” which changes the story from I am a problem to I have a problem. While we certainly cannot change the past, we can change the internal story or “narrative” that resulted from events in history. Once you understand the story in place, you can take steps to recognize the story as being separate from your identity. This can help people see patterns, inner dialogue, and the identity they created for themselves.
The Narrative Therapy Process
Your therapist will help you put together your own story during the narrative therapy process. Using Externalization, you view your problems from an outside perspective. Deconstruction may be used where you break down a problem into more specific core issues. A fun way to work with therapy is to incorporate actual stories, fables, metaphors, parables, and myths. By finding similarities and comparing oneself to these types of stories, one can see patterns and parallels from an external lens and apply them to their own life through the character in the story.