WHAT IS NARRATIVE THERAPY?
Narrative Therapy is practiced in Kitchener-Waterloo, Milton, Oakville, London and the surrounding areas. Anchoridge Counselling takes pride in the therapy practice offered to help clients with individual needs.
Stories matter to us: telling stories about ourselves, our relationships, and our hopes and dreams of the future shape our sense of who we are. These stories are shaped and constrained by the stories that are carried in our social, political, and interpersonal contexts.
The stories we tell ourselves and others help us make sense of our experience, and we are seen as experts in our own lives. When that experience is problematic, the story of the problem can become so compelling that it can overshadow other stories of ourselves. The ideas in our culture that we take for granted as "real" are carried in our stories. We learn the standards by which we measure ourselves and each other through stories we see and hear and tell one another. People often have to deal with self-blame, not realizing that distress could lie in external focus.
Narrative Therapy is a method of therapy that separates a person from their problem. It opens up conversations, which enable us to move away from problem stories and discover alternative, preferred stories of self, relationship, and future possibilities. It creates an opportunity for the stories to be rewritten in ways that are more empowering or more facilitative of well-being. Individuals can address their problems and stories based on their own values, rather than those that have been inflicted on them. Giving the individual the ownership to decide and re-live experience can be extremely powerful to their healing journey. Individuals are given the chance to rewrite their stories so that the future reflects who they are, their capabilities, and their purpose. Under the Narrative Therapy approach, individuals are viewed as multi-layered and full of new possibilities waiting to be learned and discovered. Clinicians help individuals to see that they are the experts of their own lives in a safe and judgment free environment.
Narrative Therapy is based on three fundamental ideas. The first is that Narrative Therapy respects each client and treats them as brave individuals for addressing their difficulties. Secondly, Narrative Therapy does not blame the client as they are separate from their difficulties. The last idea is that Narrative Therapy sees the client as the expert of their own life and the therapeutic relationship is built upon collaboration.
Individuals, couples and even families can find Narrative Therapy beneficial. Individuals who define themselves by their difficulties and experiences can learn to see their difficulties as not something that defines them but rather as something they have. For example, rather than saying “I am an anxious person” the reframing would become “I am a person with anxiety.” The important distinction is that the difficulties one faces, does not define their whole existence. With couples and families, Narrative Therapy helps individuals to see their difficulties in a more objective light, allowing them to reconnect while addressing the problems in a positive environment. Narrative Therapy has been found to be an effective treatment method for anxiety, depression, trauma, addictions, eating disorders, anger, and difficulties with emotional regulation.