Narrative therapy is a theory of psychotherapy that looks at “externalization” (openly expressing feelings or ideas in words or actions) and works to help patients acquire insight into their problems by separating the person and their past experiences from the problem. The goal is to help people apply their:
- Lifetime of personal strengths
- Personal successes and victories
- Examination of their sense of purpose
By using these narrative tools, individuals can solve problems and make decisions in ways that are compatible with their values and sense of purpose.
White and Epston believed that people are not their problems. This was a key element of their development of the treatment. In sessions, they helped patients separate from their problems and understand that the problems didn’t define them.
By using narration exercises and other methods, patients use their skills to solve their problems and build a healthier and more effective story. With the assistance of narrative therapists, this type of therapy shows patients that they control many features of who they are and what they can achieve.
A goal of narrative therapy is to help people reframe and rewrite their story. When they can shift their perspectives or viewpoints, they can create different stories and compare the two for understanding. Narrative therapy is a positive practice of psychology so the goal is not only to increase the skill of creating new storylines but also to find the most helpful of the client’s outcomes.
This is also known as re-storying or re-authoring. Building narratives involves repeating life experiences into stories and telling their life stories to the therapist numerous times. This way, the patient can see each story externally, separating the storyteller from the story.
The conflicts and patterns in the stories can make a major story feel overwhelming. Therapists use deconstruction techniques to help reduce the extent and proportion of problems and identify their root causes. This allows patients to take large-scale problems and view them as manageable.
Existentialism involves letting go of the belief in built-in meanings. Discovering a sense of purpose is important for mental health, but some people adhere to purpose and meaning from a single story. Through narrative therapy, people learn they can create meaning and purpose for themselves.
In narrative therapy, people are encouraged to externalize questionable stories from their identity. This could involve practicing positive self-talk and analyzing their personal traits in the stories. By observing separate storylines that include a certain trait, patients can distinguish it from a complex and baffling part of their identity.
Narrative Therapy at Lightwork Therapy and Recovery
Lightwork Therapy and Recovery in Woburn, MA can help you begin to understand and rewrite your narrative. Narrative therapy is a powerful approach that can provide practical solutions to enhance your self-esteem and improve your overall well-being.
We are a gender-specific treatment center for women because it’s more common for women to suffer from depression, anxiety, and trauma, and we know that men may be at the root of the issues for many women.
At Lightwork, we can offer you two outpatient treatment programs so you will receive the appropriate level of care:
- Day Treatment Program–This is a comprehensive structured program that is less intensive than residential, but more than standard outpatient.
- Outpatient Program–This program provides a more flexible option for women with less severe issues or who are stepping down from a higher level.
Our caring, experienced therapists are professionally trained and equipped to help you rewrite your story. Contact us today.