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.

Meet the specialists

I believe the foundation of healing is liberation from oppressive forces & cycles of trauma. By developing empathy, compassion, love, and worth for our own body and experience, we begin to liberate ourselves from the narratives that keep us stuck in dis-ease. Each individual is the expert of their own experience, with the power to author your own story. Each one of us lives multi-storied lives, where it is sometimes necessary to reauthor past stories in order to liberate our present and future.

— Jonathan Julian, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

I believe that you are the expert when it comes to your lived experience. I see my role as a co-author, helping you develop an alternate—yet perhaps truer—personal history so that you may move forward with courage and confidence.

— Brian Hayes, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Sacramento, CA

For many of us, the stories about ourselves and our lives that live in our hearts and minds can dictate a lot of what we experience. I work with clients to identify the personal narratives that hold us back, externalize them, and work to change them.

— Maya Grodman, Counselor in Portland, OR

Narrative Therapy has been a part of my approach to counseling since I started. I help clients to re-frame their life story and learn to walk in this new narrative. Trauma-focused Narrative Therapy can help clients move past the distorted self-beliefs that are the byproduct of trauma. Often, other therapies such as Art Therapy are integrated with Narrative Therapy.

— Jaclin Belabri, Counselor in Vancouver, WA

Narrative Therapy has long shaped the way I see our identity and the ways we make sense of our world. I see that we become the stories we tell ourselves but that building new stories out of old that better reflect who we want to be can be incredibly empowering. I feel this engagement in values and meaning making can move you into a life that feels more worth living.

— Craig Beeson, Psychologist in Santa Cruz, CA

I studied Narrative Therapy in my graduate program, and currently practice with this approach. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and they can get to choose how to write it. I also use metaphors in my language with clients, as they can bring about another perspective or a way of looking at a problem in a different way.

— Rebecca Garetz, Counselor in Portland, OR

We all make up stories to help us define and explain our life experiences. Often we connect data points that aren't correct (my father left when I was 5, and he always was critical of me). The story becomes if I can just get my sh*t together, then I'll have peace, happiness, etc. Overlay anxiety and sensitivity, and chances are the story you've created is full of things that prevent you from seeing the gifts you have to offer. We can examine that story and rewrite it!

— Patricia Young, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Diego, CA

Having read original sources from developers of this model, I find Narrative Therapy is the best compliment to my feminist identity. This model prompts us to challenge our concrete understandings of the world, and invites nuance into our interpretation of stories. I practice NT as a way to access traumas and triumphs in life, a way to identify problems in your life that are not inherent to who you are. NT gives us the opportunity to look at the origins of beliefs that cause upset emotions.

— Ginelle Krummey, Counselor in Asheville, NC

I have a background/MA in journalism/writing & have found the practice of truly looking at the stories we tell about our lives can be deeply insightful & helpful when working towards a greater quality of life. Putting the stories our minds tell us down on paper, journaling, even writing in a stream of consciousness can be enlightening & empowering by allowing us to clearly see these stories we tell, so we can edit them, rewrite them or even throw them out as we grow.

— Lara Plutte, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

Narrative therapy looks at our life through the lens of stories- stories that we tell ourselves, that our family tells us or that our society tells us about who we are. We can deconstruct those stories to help us understand our lives and also to re-write our stories- which is super exciting to me! Using narrative therapy means that I also tend to use metaphors and stories to help clients understand big concepts, sometimes carrying a metaphor for several weeks to help people understand things like how the brain works or how trauma impacts our bodies.

— Erin Copley, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

Narrative Therapy is the lens that I see everything else through. Narrative Therapy is all about telling your story. I believe there is deep power is sharing the story of who you are, and deciding how you want to write the rest of your chapters for the future. I've found that when people tell their story, they're able to take control and not feel like this is something that happened to them, but rather just another part of their story. It's does not define you if you don't want it to.

— Molly Lizzio, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Syracuse, NY

I have a Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work from The University of Melbourne and use my trainings to ask therapeutic questions with the people who see me.

— Karen Mittet, Counselor in Bellingham, WA

I trained in Narrative Therapy at the Evanston Family Therapy Center, and Narrative concepts underpin all my work with clients. The single most powerful idea in Narrative work is that the problem is the problem, and the person is the person. In other words, YOU are not the problem. I use Narrative Therapy to collaborate with people in examining the effects problems have on their lives. We look at the dominant cultural stories that support those problems and work together to shine a light on the dreams, values, skills, and hard won knowledge that allow you to stand up to problems.

— Kathryn Stinson, Counselor in St. Louis, MO

We all use stories to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others. Through borrowing tenets from narrative therapy and storytelling frameworks, I provide clients with a unique way to understand where they are in their own journey, how they got there, where they'd like to go next, and how to get moving in the right direction. Narrative therapy provides a great framework for guiding clients to unstick their stuck.

— Lacy Alana, Counselor in , TX

My approach to narrative practice is rooted in embodiment. Narrative practice allows us the opportunity to observe our storied lives and bodies without judgement.

— Jessica Morgan, Social Worker in Port Jefferson Station, NY