Narrative therapy involves exploring the shaping moments of a person’s life, the turning points, the key relationships, and those particular memories not dimmed by time. Focus is drawn to the intentions, dreams, and values that have guided a person’s life despite the set backs. Often times, the process brings back stories that have been overlooked–surprising stories that speak of forgotten competence and heroism.
Narrative therapy consists of understanding the stories or themes that have shaped a person’s life. Out of all the experiences a person has lived, what has held the most meaning? What choices, intentions, relationships have been most important? Narrative therapy proposes that only those experiences which are part of a larger story will have significant impact on a person’s lived experience. Therefore, narrative therapy focuses on building the plot which connects a person’s life together.
Here are some basic principles of Narrative Therapy:
• The primary focus is on people’s expressions/stories of their experiences of life. People have the ability of telling and re-telling their personal preferred stories.
• Expressions are in a constant state of production, and these productions are transformative of life.
• Stories guide how people act, think, feel, and make sense of new experience. Stories organize the information from a person’s life. Narrative therapy focuses on how these important stories can get written and rewritten.
• If narrative therapy had one slogan it would be: “The person is never the problem, the problem is the problem.”
• Finally, the most important principle is that a person’s life story is a “work in progress” full of the multiplicity of possible answers.
“We are all in the process of becoming.” -Audre Lorde (1934-1992); Writer, Poet, Activist
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
-Kahlil Gibran, (1883-1931); Artist, Poet, And Writer
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates