Narrative therapy was created as a non-pathologizing, empowering, and collaborative form of therapy. It is an approach to counselling and community work that recognizes that people possess natural competencies, abilities, skills, and expertise that can help guide change in their lives.
Narrative therapy centres people as the experts in their own lives and positions the therapist as a curious consultant and collaborator. It is a modality that separates a person from the problem allowing the exploration of change, growth and meaning. For example, we might be told “my son is an addict” versus “a young person battling a problem with alcohol”. Such identity stories can invite a powerful negative influence in the way people view their lives and experience their abilities (e.g. “I’m hopeless”, “I’m a loser”).
Moreover, narrative therapy seeks to locate problems within the broader socio-political context of our lives. Narrative therapists will work with the problem story and simultaneously seek out alternative conversations about strength, resilience, hope, and possibilities.