Narrative Therapy

Sometimes, a whole life seems to have been lived in just a few years. One may be 20, 40 or 60 years of age and yet, only a few of those years seem to have mattered–if any at all. In counseling work, as well as psychotherapy, a thorough psychological examination of one’s life story, also known as Narrative Therapy, is often necessary to understand the lingering effects that past trauma, adversity and conflict can continue to have in one’s present life.

Life history and life crises

In examining a life history, some episodes stand out as particularly significant. Not just the bad ones are significant, the good ones can be very significant, too. I use the term “significant” to identify episodes in one’s life that were life-changing, memorable, that can be easily recalled (even re-lived) at a distance of many years. There are very good reasons to re-examine these episodes and discern how they may tie, through invisible and subconscious emotional tendrils, to present-day difficulties and challenges. The history of one’s life has been written, but one very important truth is that it can (and I say, it should) be re-written with the understanding of adulthood to put once-traumatic episodes in perspective, to exorcise their demons, and to find peace. Counseling that is centered around one’s life history, also known as Narrative Therapy, is very productive and can lead to a much happier present life.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy is a form of counseling that views people as separate from their problems. This allows clients to get some distance from the issue to see how it might actually be helping them, or protecting them, more than it is hurting them. With this new perspective, individuals feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behavior and “rewrite” their life story for a future that reflects who they are, what they are capable of, and what their purpose is, separate from their problems.
In narrative therapy, the events that occur over time in a person’s life are viewed as stories, some of which stand out as more significant or more fateful than others. These significant stories, usually stemming from negative events, can ultimately shape one’s identity. Beyond this identity, the narrative therapist views a client’s life as multitiered and full of possibilities that are just waiting to be discovered. The therapist does not act as the expert, but rather helps clients see how they are the experts regarding their own life and, as such, can uncover the dreams, values, goals, and skills that define who they really are, separate from their problems. These are the buried stories that can be rewritten and woven into the ongoing and future story of their lives.

Get help

To make an appointment with Dr. Z, call (678) 554-5632 or click the blue button to request an appointment using the online form. We can go co-construct your narrative, identify the ways in which the lingering effects of episodes in your personal history are affecting your life and that of your loved ones, or how current conflicts may be traced back to past events. We will put some dimensions to the problem, and identify your current resources that may be applied toward meaningful and lasting change. If additional resources and skills are needed, we will treat your severe symptoms and help you feel calmer and increase your ability to choose the most appropriate response to each situation. Treating family of origin or current conflicts is feasible, it’s proven to be effective, and has helped many people who had a variety of different symptoms and challenges. Call and make your appointment today and we can get started!

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