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 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

Life is a story, and few in our lives get beyond the surface of it. Yet, it's in the particularity of our stories that we most hunger for others to meet us. The places where our pain, fear, and shame is greatest. We need others to walk in the depth of our stories and witness our suffering. Wild Foxgloves' work, influenced by Allender Theory, is compassionate and trauma-informed, and we invite you to step into the depth of your story in the presence of kindness.

— Wild Foxgloves Counseling, PLLC, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Vancouver, WA

I truly believe that we all have a story to tell, and sometimes a chapter is difficult to get through alone. Together we can help create your next chapter!

— Samantha Hanson, Art Therapist in Menasha, WI

Narrative Therapy allows you to see yourself as separate from the challenges that creates chaos in your life. It allows you to regain control of your life and create a new narrative that helps you move towards living a healthier and fulfilled life.

— Shante Kollock, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate

The stories we are told about our lives, whether by society, others, or ourselves, dramatically impact the trajectories of our lives.

— Grant Gordin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

Explore the stories we create around different areas in our lives.

— Casey Cullen, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Dallas, TX

Narrative- Focus on effects of the problem, not the cause (how problem impacts family; how family affects problem) ○ Changes the way the clients view themselves and assist them in re-authoring their story in a positive light; find the alternative but preferred story that is not problem-saturated

— Dr. Melissa Arias Shah, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Coral Springs, FL

Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to help patients identify their values and the skills associated with them. It provides the patient with knowledge of their ability to live these values so they can effectively confront current and future problems.

— Malika O'Neill, Licensed Professional Counselor in Media, PA

I joke that I've felt led to Narrative work because my mother was an English major. The main focus of this work is to help an individual or family re-tell the story of the problems they are having in a way that helps them take more control and agency over them. My role in the process is to ask questions and support the client(s) in identifying places where they are successful already in their struggle against the problem, and to expand those successes.

— Mary Stanton-Nurse, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Shoreline, WA

Life is a story, and few in our lives get beyond the surface of it. Yet, it's in the particularity of our stories that we most hunger for others to meet us. The places where our pain, fear, and shame is greatest. We need others to walk with us in the depth of our stories and witness the heartache and harm we hold. Our work at Wild Foxgloves', influenced by Allender Theory, is compassionate and trauma-informed, and we invite you to step into the depth of your story in the presence of kindness.

— Wild Foxgloves Counseling, PLLC, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Vancouver, WA

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

The basic tenants of narrative therapy are social justice, social constructivism, and postmodernism. All of that to say, by telling our stories, we can write our own endings. We can get to know our problems, greet them and acknowledge them, and through working with them, decrease or even cease their power over us. Someone who self-harms might be trying to harm the problem, but instead harms themselves. Let's find that problem, pull it out and examine it. To know it, is to have power over it.

— Emily Graham, Therapist in Denver, CO

Theoretically I find narrative therapy close to my heart. We use language to help make sense of the world around us and the words we use have power.

— Becca Dorn-Medeiros, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

One of my specialties is called Career Construction Interviewing (CCI), which is a narrative therapy designed to: 1) clarify your identity 2) direct your career direction 3) design a next-steps strategy 4) and build confidence CCI also helps you identify additional obstacles and neglected areas that need your attention in order to get the results you want. Wanting clarity, direction, and motivation for a major life change? Try out CCI.

— Rick Villarreal, Licensed Professional Counselor in Arvada, CO

Narrative therapy emphasizes the power of personal narrative. We all have a story to tell, and how we tell it can affect how we think, feel, relate, and act. I use narrative therapy often in my practice. It can be especially helpful for individuals who do not fit into the dominant cultural narrative (e.g., white, heterosexual, cisgender, neurotypical).

— Samantha Auclair, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

What do you want your story to be? You are not your past nor the labels you've had attached to you. I will help you rewrite your preferred story as we co-discover the possibilities that lay ahead of you. You have the power to change your narrative!

— Kristina Robinson, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Wake Forest, NC

Everyone is living a story. Sometimes several stories (imagine trying to juggle that)! Narrative therapy is like a collaboration between writer and editor. You, the writer, know the story inside and out. You've lived it, rehashed it, mulled over it until you can recite it backwards and forwards. I, the editor, have the expertise to help you iron out the details, catch the inconsistencies, and polish your story until it shines. If you are willing to share, I love listening to a good story.

— Meg Hrivnak, Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

I'm trained in narrative therapy, which is an approach that recognized that just telling your story can be a healing act-but that it's even more powerful when you get to re-author your life. You don't have to keep living the same story.

— Jessica Foley, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Waltham, MA

Narrative therapy offers a collaborative approach that views people and problems as separate. A client reporting a relationship with depression would not be labeled as depressed, but rather, would be viewed as persons who are sometimes paid a visit by depression. We all have a one of a kind way to heal. I work with you to explore and discover that unique formula. I am open to all mediums, poetry, music and other holistic healing forms to find a way to heal your soul.

— Maile Grace, Therapist in Denver, CO

I avoid thinking or speaking of those I consult with or their loved ones as the problem. Rather, the Problem is the Problem. I want to know you apart from your problems, so that I can stand with you against the problems that attempt to influence you. To highlight this separation I use a technique called "externalizing." For example, if you say, “I am depressed”, I might ask, “How did you notice Depression first influencing your life?”

— Anna Stern, Clinical Social Worker in Somerville, MA

Narrative approaches include an understanding that the Problem and the Person are separable, that the Problem is one created by the stories told about Problems and people who know them well, and that through exploring the other parts of one's experiences, the Person and small groups, with their strengths and beauty, can rise above. Problems are integrated with all the people who interact with a Problem, so this approach can include additional members of the community, advocacy and activism.

— Rae Blaisdell, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Colorado Springs, CO

To change one's narrative is to change one's point of view. Stepping outside of the negative stories we tell ourselves offers space to reframe experiences in a healthy way.

— Nicole Prophet, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in , OR

Re-authoring our stories to tell stories of strength rather than weakness. We need to spend our time beating the bushes of our lives to round up all the stories of strength, heroism, recovery, passion, creativity, jubilation, etc. We get to choose which we want to live out of. With a little effort we can find evidence to support a story that leads us on a heroic journey

— Mark Holcomb, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Fair Oaks, CA

Narrative Therapy teaches us that language has power. In this kind of counseling, the therapist witnesses your story, and--if you wish--works with you to write a new next chapter. Each time we tell our story, we are empowered to create unique outcomes. We can externalize our problems and create space in our lives for new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. We can get honest about the role of culture, family, and society in our problems. We can be the narrator, the hero, and the author.

— Annalisa Smithson, Therapist in Pottstown, PA

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

Narrative Therapy is a huge part of my therapeutic style and is a form of therapy that is typically overlooked. This form of therapy separates people from issues of the past that might be at the root of symptoms, including depression and low self esteem. This is a way to find your voice again and re-write those narratives that are formed over time.

— Taylor Neil, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Westford, MA