Narative Therapy

Narrative Therapy In Vancouver, BC

Understanding the Power of Personal Stories
Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to help individuals identify their values, skills, and abilities by helping them to re-author their life stories in a way that aligns with their desired outcomes. This therapy is rooted in the idea that our identities are shaped by the stories we tell about ourselves, and changing those narratives can lead to personal transformation.

Key Points about Narrative Therapy

Stories Shape Our Reality

One of the foundational ideas behind narrative therapy is that our lives are made up of multiple stories that influence how we see ourselves and the world around us. Some stories empower and uplift us, while others can be limiting or damaging.

Externalizing the Problem

A unique aspect of narrative therapy is the practice of “externalizing” problems. Instead of saying “I am anxious,” a person might say “I have a relationship with anxiety.” This helps in separating the person from the problem, reducing feelings of blame and shame.

Re-authoring Stories

The therapist helps clients identify and challenge the dominant narratives that are causing distress. They then co-create alternative narratives that align better with the individual’s values and preferred way of being.

Highlighting Unique Outcomes

These are moments when individuals act in ways that contradict the dominant problem-saturated story. By identifying these moments, individuals can begin to see that they are not completely controlled by the problem.

Valuing Cultural and Social Narratives

Narrative therapy recognizes that our personal stories are influenced by larger cultural and social narratives. The therapy can address issues of power, privilege, and social justice.

Collaboration between Therapist and Client

The therapist is not seen as the expert on the client’s life. Instead, they collaborate together, with the therapist acting as a facilitator to help the client uncover and rewrite their own narratives.

Documenting New Stories

Sometimes, narrative therapists will use letters, certificates, or other documents to help solidify and celebrate the new stories clients are developing about their lives.

Strengths and Resources

Rather than focusing solely on problems or pathologies, narrative therapy emphasizes individuals’ strengths, resources, and abilities. It’s about empowering individuals to rewrite their stories in ways that reflect who they truly want to be.