Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy is a therapeutic approach that seeks to help people identify their values and the skills and knowledge they have to live these values, so they can effectively confront whatever problems they face. The narrative therapy approach views problems as separate from people and assumes people have many skills, abilities, values, commitments, beliefs and competencies that will assist them in changing their relationship with the problems influencing their lives. A therapist who specializes in narrative therapy will help their client co-author a new narrative about themselves by investigating the history of those qualities. Narrative therapy is a respectful, non-judgmental, social justice approach that ultimately helps individuals to externalize their issues rather than internalize them. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s narrative therapy experts today.

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Narrative therapy helps people look at their concerns and realize that they can overcome them or not be affected by them as much as they used to be. It's a matter of shifting perspectives and thoughts into a healthier frame that we can then use to guide our mental health journey onto a more positive path.

— Courtney Cohen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Society, our families of origin, and negative relationships can create narratives that people can inadvertently retain as self-talk and otherwise truth. Narrative therapy helps to look at other ways people can write the stories of their lives -- those they tell themselves and share with others. There are fun insightful and empowering activities (not all written) to encourage people to see their strengths and positive experiences in life, so they can make decisions to lead the lives they desire.

— Kate Mageau, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Seattle, WA

Rather than playing the expert and objectively prescribing client’s motives, needs, drives, ego strengths, or personality characteristics; I value and respect differences between myself and my clients/families; I aim to collaborate with patients giving what they have to say equal privilege, and helping them to consider alternative stories. I help my clients identify their own strengths and wisdom to make positive change, and treatment is always customized to meet their unique needs.

— Tatum Santacasa, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Aurora, CO

Narrative therapy allows you to tell the stories of the experiences that make you who you are. These stories may be hard to tell, but in processing how you have internalized your experiences, we can determine the pieces to keep and the pieces that no longer serve you. It is all about re-claiming your story and building an identity that promotes self-acceptance and hope for the future.

— Hailey Hughes, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Austin, TX

In Narrative Therapy, I help clients reshape the stories they tell about their lives to better align with their values and goals. I focus on separating personal identity from problems, empowering clients to rewrite their narratives. This method is particularly effective for those looking to reclaim agency over their life stories, fostering growth and positive change.

— Indya Clark, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Denver, CO

Narrative therapy is effective at helping clients who have experienced trauma. Mild traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition that affects people who have been exposed to a severe or life-threatening event. Narrative therapy helps clients to process their experiences and work through the trauma they've faced. It uses storytelling as a way to heal, which allows the client to use their own voice and create meaning from their experience.

— Katie Robey, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Los Gatos, CA

Narrative therapy seeks to be a respectful, non-blaming approach to counselling and community work, which centers people as the experts in their own lives. In narrative therapy, there is an emphasis on the stories that you develop and carry with you through your life. As you experience events and interactions, you give meaning to those experiences and they, in turn, influence how you see yourself and the world.

— Stephanie Torres Molinar, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Fort Collins, CO

Narrative therapy will help you see that you are not The Problem. We work together to name The Problem and develop a relationship with The Problem to resolve it. For example, if you have anxiety, you are not an anxious person. The Problem is Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder. We talk to and about Anxiety The Problem, not to get rid of it, but to learn to live with it. Narrative Therapy involves addressing your issues, exploring them, and organizing them to benefit you.

— Shemya Vaughn, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

The idea that we develop stories about our own lives has always resonated with me. I enjoy identifying our own internal narratives and challenge those which may not be congruent with our current self or journey. The idea that people are separate from their problems resonates with me as in our most trying times we can feel entangled with those which most challenge us. Narrative Therapy allows for the externalization of problems through creative mediums.

— Leslie Weaver, Clinical Social Worker in Indianapolis, IN

The stories we tell about ourselves, and the world that we live in, influence how we perceive these things. If we have problem saturated narratives, this can cause us to have mental health struggles or relational struggles. Together we look at reforming these narratives to create a more empowering, hopeful, healthy present and future.

— Wendy Youngsmith, Counselor in Centennial, CO

Narrative therapy helps people understand the stories that they believe about themselves and their lives. These narratives often have negative overtones and expectations. The narrative therapist helps the individual see their strengths and resilience and create a new, more positive narrative. A key task of narrative therapy is connecting the old story to the experiences that started it, so that a person can challenge old beliefs, "rewrite" their story, and gain control of their life.

— Thomas Wood, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Bayside, WI

Our life is a story constantly written, with characters coming and going. In therapy, we will map your story, whether it is your individual story, relationship, or family story. We will work together to make “the problems” characters instead of part of your or a loved one's character so we can kick the “problem” out of your story.

— Brianna Hollestelle, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in Parker, CO

The story of who we are and what our life is and means has a significant impact on how we feel and experience the world. Unfortunately, so many of the stories told by the larger culture have negative impact on our mental health and well-being. I seek to unpack the stories to push back against oppressive dominant narratives that are unhealthy and unhelpful to create new stories that bring joy, freedom, and comfort and allow one to live fuller and truer life.

— eric bjorlin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Evanston, IL

We all have stories about ourselves, our relationships, and our sexuality. Sometimes these stories keep you stuck in anxiety, shame, guilt and disconnection. Using Narrative Therapy, I help you get to know these stories you have and begin to identify what you really believe and value. Narrative Therapy also involves looking at how your family, past partners, and societal messaging may impact these stories that hold you back.

— Taylor Kravitz, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

"The problem is the problem, the person is not the problem:" Michael White and David Epston, psychotherapists, founders of Narrative Therapy Narrative Therapy is a postmodern approach to therapy. It helps the client reframe their difficulties as primarily social and outside of themselves, which gives them more options for personal agency and effective change.

— Edwin Ancarana, Psychotherapist

I believe that people are the experts of their own lives, and they have the power to rewrite their story. I utilize Narrative Therapy to externalize problems (i.e. problems are outside of a person's identity) in order to reduce stigma and shame about emotional expression. Similarly to a systems approach, Narrative therapy considers how the dominant culture and family/local influences impact well-being.

— Coriann Papazian, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Narrative ideas include the externalization of problems such that one can see oneself and one's values as separate from the problem, letting go of ideas like "I am an anxious person," and shifting to "I am actually from anxiety's influences at specific times and it impacts my life in these specific ways... Therefore, I am able to get the upper hand on it when it is harassing me." Dominant ideas that are oppressive can be deconstructed and we can come out from under Normal's damaging gaze.

— Thomas J. Pier, Therapist in Los Angeles, CA