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 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 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

Narrative therapy is all about taking control of your own story. We often let other people write our stories for us - how frustrating! It’s time to the the power back, lift your pen, and get to writing the story you’ve always dreamed of living.

— Mackenzi Kingdon, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

I have completed graduate-level coursework and post-graduate continuing education seminars in Narrative Therapy. I am also an active member of the Seattle Narrative Group where I consult with clinicians who have received training from the mothers and fathers of Narrative Therapy.

— Brian Prester, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

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 involves changing the story we tell ourselves. All too often, we focus on the negative aspects of our past, telling and retelling a tragic tale... and when we tell a story of the future (to ourselves or others), it doesn't look much brighter. Let's fix that!

— Jennifer Miller, Counselor in Pensacola, FL

Narrative therapy is my favorite therapeutic orientation. It's the treatment that I study the most and find very compelling. I often observe the most improvement in clients when I use this type of counseling. Introducing new ways of thinking and believing can be a tricky thing but with the training and passion I have for it I often times see success.

— Jeff Guenther, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

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

In this method, we work together to gain a better understanding of your existing narratives of self (stories about who you are), which are often outdated and ineffective. Often our stories are heavily impacted by our history and current political climate, whether or not we are aware of it. Together, we can empower you toward the redevelopment and recreation of your storylines about yourself and your life. Your new narrative will emphasize the qualities you most value in yourself and give you the

— Sophia O'Connor, Sex 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 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 in ,

Psychodynamic Therapy is a form of psychotherapy focused on exploring the depths of your psychology to reveal unconscious material in your psyche to alleviate psychic tension. This is a highly reflective and insight oriented approach.

— Brenda Cordova, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Stockton, CA

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

Use this to help client shift the narrative they have about themselves and their lives.

— Aimee Monterrosa, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles,

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- 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 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