Narrative Therapy is a collaborative and non-pathological form of psychotherapy that views problems and people as separate entities. Proposed by Michael White, the narrative theory assumes that people have the skills, values, commitments and beliefs that can enable them to resolve their problems. Counselors and Therapists use narrative therapy as a strategy for accessing in-depth information about their client. The counselors allow the patient to express himself exhaustively. Counselors listen to their clients as they narrate their stories and in the process look for clues that could explain the problems that the patient is experiencing. Counselors argue that the person is not the problem, but the problem is the problem. Counselors use the stories to assist patients acquire a new sense of meaning and sense about life.
Narrative therapy is an effective form of therapy as it gives the counselor and in-depth analysis of how the client perceives his life. Narrative therapy allows the patient to look into his past, current and future and thus establish the cause of his problem. The counselor can use clues from the story to assist the client to resolve his problems. Secondly, narrative therapy enables the client to participate in the recovery process. Counseling becomes a two-way process that involves discussions between the client and the counselor. Thirdly, narrative therapy gives the client an opportunity to open up about his life to an extent that could not have been possible with other forms of therapy (Payne, 2006). It is by opening up that the client can let go off past disappointments, despair and pain and establish a new focus of life.
Narrative therapy is ideal because it emphasizes in determining the client’s strengths and weaknesses rather than their failure. Clients can realize that despite their problems, they have the potential to improve their lives. Narrative therapy takes a non-blaming approach thus helping clients to realize that they are not responsible for the problems they are experiencing. The non-problematic approach gives clients the hope of a positive outcome. Additionally, the approach allows patients to let go pains and disappointments and understand that they can make a difference in their lives (Bonsmann, 2010).
The main disadvantage of narrative therapy is that the method is fairly new thus its long-term effectiveness is not certain. Narrative therapy enables the patient to acquire an improved perspective on life. However, the counseling profession remains unsure of its effectiveness as a sole therapy method. Patients who undergo narrative therapy may need additional therapeutic interventions e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy so that they could make a complete behavior change. Narrative therapy is also exclusive to individual therapy rather than group or family therapy. The process involves the counselor having a candid discussion with the client prior to finding a lasting solution (Bonsmann, 2010). Narrative therapy may be ineffective for group and family therapies as the counselor treats the group or family as a single unit. However, the unit comprises of individuals with a diversity of perceptions about life thus impossible to focus on specific persons.
narrative approach is a novel therapeutic strategy that enables counselors to
assist their clients by involving them in establishing effective
problem-solving strategies. The approach impacts clients with the belief that
they can change their lives for the better. The approach allows counselors to
help patients to arise from their negativity and acquire a new and positive
approach to life.
Bonsmann, C. (2010). What do clients have to say about therapy?. Counseling Psychology Review, 25(4), 31-45
Payne, M. (2006).Narrative Therapy. SAGE Publishers
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