Narrative therapy is a method of therapy that separates a person from their problem. It encourages people to rely on their own skills to minimize problems that exist in their lives. Throughout life, personal experiences become personal stories. People give these stories meaning, and the stories help shape a person’s identity. Narrative therapy uses the power of these stories to help people discover their life purpose. This is often done by assigning that person the role of “narrator” in their own story.
The team at Guided Grace Family and Youth Services offers a comprehensive range of therapy services for people from all walks of life. Our team has helped people navigate some of life’s most challenging events, and guided them towards a brighter, healthier future! If you have been looking to sit down and speak with someone, the team at Guided Grace will always be there for you! Read on to learn more about the different ways in which Narrative Therapy can help.
What Conditions Can Narrative Therapy Help With
Mental health conditions that Narrative Therapy can help with include:
Narrative therapy is an excellent choice for managing and overcoming anxious feelings. Anxiety is the fear of the unknown, or fear of not being in control, and while these are useful feelings to have in certain scenarios, they can be overwhelming to experience every day.
Narrative therapy makes you the narrator of your own story. You can gain an objective perspective on your life and make more rational, less emotional choices regarding how the story of your life plays out. It is surprising how much clarity you can achieve when you remove emotion and attachment from anxious feelings.
This condition is another that is based in fear and loss of control. Attachment can take many forms and may mean something unique to each person. We cannot control if other’s are willing to stay in our lives or not. That doesn’t mean you can’t be saddened by the loss, or disappointed by change. It means you don’t need to live with obsessive behaviors. In a paradoxical way, learning to let go can be the most liberating and empowering choice you make.
Narrative therapy has you fulfill the role of an outside observer, examining the choices you make and the experiences you have lived through. You can then begin to choose where you would like to be in life, and how best to get there.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Applying narrative therapy to children with ADHD may include techniques and training based on studies that make an intention to not blurt out answers before questions are completed, not interrupt conversations, and to coordinate physical movements with mental images. In a typical session you and your therapist will:
- Identify, name, and characterize problems and potential solutions
- Evaluate the consequences of problems or potential solutions
- Explore the thinking behind this evaluation and the effect of potential solutions on the clients’ day-to-day experiences
- Determine how to take responsibility for putting intentions and plans for managing problems into action
Depression Management With Narrative Therapy
A major premise of narrative therapy is reframing scenarios so that the person is not the problem. Rather, the problem itself is acknowledged as the problem, thereby distancing or externalizing it from the person. By separating the person from their problems, it removes ego and other emotional triggers. This allows people to be more objective and partial to their own experiences.
By turning past trauma or mistakes into learning experiences, a person can begin to rewrite their story. This can give them the perception of control and a more positive outlook on life. Narrative therapy helps resolve one of the most damaging parts of depression; rumination, or endlessly thinking and analyzing thoughts and memories.
You may be wondering, how can you externalize or separate oneself from an eating disorder? The key is personification! Giving your eating disorder a name, an identity of its own enables you to separate it from yourself and view it objectively. By naming your condition, it allows you to speak about it as though it was a person, as though it was subject to judgment and scrutiny. Separating the person from the problem, and making the problem the problem, is how narrative therapy helps people overcome eating disorders.
Grief is a feeling that often follows some of the most challenging parts of life. This can be the loss of a loved one, the end of a romantic or friendly relationship, and more. These situations often occur against your wishes and will leave you feeling completely out of control.
Narrative therapy aims to put you back in control. The idea is that you choose how to narrate your life. You decide the direction you’re headed in, where this arch of the story will lead, and what the future holds for you. You must still navigate the steps of grief, such as acceptance. However, you will get through it much healthier and happier.
Studies on the effects of narrative therapy with regards to grief disorders found a significant reduction in grief, depression, and PTSD symptoms.
You face your experience rather than avoid it. Avoidance is natural and may feel better in the short term, but will seriously hold you back in the long run. Ultimately, everyone handles grief in their own way and learns a unique lesson from narrative therapy.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Narrative therapy as it applies to PTSD often begins by establishing a chronological narrative of one’s life, making sure to include traumatic events while also recounting positive ones. By speaking openly about your trauma, it gives more context to the events that took place and allows you to better manage the response that comes with it. This personal expression is often met with key elements of the therapist’s behavior, including compassionate understanding, active listening, a positive reception.
Narrative Therapy Services Available in Saginaw, Michigan
If you would like to learn more about Narrative Therapy, or you feel that a session could benefit you, reach out to the specialists at Guided Grace Family and Youth Services for more information. Our team is happy to help and guide you on your journey, offering you therapy services that stand to benefit you the most!
Call our office to speak with a member of our team or schedule a consultation online today!