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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The field-defining work of Michael White and David Epston broadened my therapeutic toolkit and has greatly influenced my approach with clients. In addition to appreciating the democratic, participatory approach between client and therapist within narrative therapy, I also align with narrative therapy's emphasis on how realities are shaped by the stories we tell, by the explanations we give, and by the themes and plots we choose. My practice reflects this emphasis upon language as a "way in."

— Jesse McIntosh, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

How we see ourselves and the world around us is contingent upon our experiences and narratives. Narrative Therapy is a good way to acknowledge why we are operating in the world as we do and it offers opportunities to make shifts, if so desired, by altering our narratives.

— Shavonne James, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Long Beach, CA

This therapy approach helps clients identify their values and use them to confront present and future problems. I believe that clients are the experts in their own lives and the problem is the problem (not the person). For example, instead of someone being “a depressed person” I see it as someone who “lives with depression”. Narrative therapy is especially empowering for BIPOC communities and LGBTQIA+ because it navigates systems steeped in racism, homophobia, white supremacy, and patriarchy.

— Samantha Schumann, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

The crux of narrative therapy is that we as humans are not our problems. Our problems are our problems. By externalizing the issues we face, we can address them more compassionately and directly.

— Hannah Croft, Clinical Social Worker in Denver, CO

What's your story? How does your internal narrative about yourself help or hold you back? How do we cling to certain versions of ourselves and what do we need to change? These are some of the questions we explore in Narrative Therapy. This technique is especially helpful for clients who feel stuck in their lives but aren't sure why. I help clients begin an inner dialog with themselves which can lead to insight, growth and change.

— Tara Moyle, Licensed Professional Counselor in Glen Ridge, NJ

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

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 experiences.

— Leslie Weaver, Clinical Social Worker in Indianapolis, IN

Narrative therapy helps you see yourself as the author of your life in so many ways. It increases your ability to act and bring about the changes you want to see by helping you get clear on your individual skill sets and sense of purpose. It helps you identify your values and to see yourself and the actions available to you more clearly.

— Nicole Iwule, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Orlando, FL

Every client has their own story! Every story has it’s own meaning and power. Stories can give more purpose to one’s life. Together we will piece your story together, and help find your voice to be able to tell your true authentic story in your own words.

— Mary Ann Dawkins-Padigela, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Pinole, CA

With Narrative Therapy. I assist you creating a new narrative and story for your life. With Narrative Therapy, my space will allow you an ability to tell your story, Furthermore, we work on self talk and empowerment based language. The things we tell ourselves and others DO guide the way we view OUR story (aka our lives). This modality also allows for exploring existentialism based thinking. This means you are free and responsible to determine your own development.

— Rachael Jordan, Counselor in Puyallup, WA

I believe that we are made of stories. By examining the stories we have told ourselves and those we have told about ourselves, we can make lasting change as we rewrite our own narratives. I also believe that we connect to the stories that resonate with us in the world. I look at the stories we love to bring light to parts of our lives we may not have examined.

— Cillian Green, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Evanston, IL

As a post-modern approach, Narrative Therapy centers you as the expert of your life. My role is to ask questions to bring you through processing your life in a way that allows for you to re-examine and re-narrate in a way that is empowering and clarifying. By doing so, we'll discuss carrying that empowerment into how you "write" your life going forward.

— Elizabeth Bolton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Cypress, TX

I am a big believer in the power of stories, especially those we tell ourselves. In my work with individuals who have a significant trauma history, this modality is especially powerful. Exploring the way that you view yourself in the world reveals a lot and changing this can have major impacts on a person's life.

— Lacie Tomson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Lafayette, IN

I use narrative therapy help people to identify their values and the skills associated with them. It provides the knowledge of their ability to live these values so they can effectively confront current and future problems. Is a style of therapy that helps people become—and embrace being—an expert in their own lives. In narrative therapy, there is an emphasis on the stories we develop and carry with us through our lives.

— Julie Williams, Counselor in Royersford, PA

Sometimes a little perspective helps. It is easy to get wrapped up in your experiences & feelings. Narrative therapy encourages folx to examine their stories & effect change when the story does not match goals or desires. Part of this is externalizing things like Anxiety, so it feels less like a character flaw & more like what it is - an emotion that can be a jerk sometimes. It isn't you as a person that is causing all these problems, it is the Anxiety, so what can we do to kick its butt?

— Kasey Benthin-Staley, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Columbus, OH