What is narrative therapy?

Sharing stories in ways that make us stronger

Narrative approaches to therapy and community work are vitally interested in the stories of people’s lives, and how stories can be told in ways that make people stronger.

It is possible for counsellors to invite people to tell and re-tell stories in ways that can offer hope and healing. With the use of narrative practices, we seek to honour and acknowledge the stories of hardship and loss that people have experienced. And at the same time, we make it possible for people to tell other stories of their lives as well, stories that bring strength and possibilities.

As Kaurna Elder and narrative therapist Aunty Barbara Wingard describes, ‘We assist people to tell our stories in ways that make us stronger’.


What is narrative therapy?

Here is a very quick response to the question: What is narrative therapy? 


Aunty Barbara Wingard

Aunty Barbara describes how stories are so important and people are the experts of their own lives.


The danger of a single story

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Novelist Chimamanda warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. 

As you listen to Chimamanda’s powerful speech about the danger of the single story, please also think about how Chimamanda’s own life experiences shape the stories she shares, including her class privilege which she has written about elsewhere.


Listening for more than one story: Strengthening resistance

As Chimimanda describes, it’s  important to move beyond the single story. This is what narrative therapists and community workers do in our work. We listen for more than one story.

This extract is from a workshop held in Rwanda with counsellors who are all themselves survivors of the 1994 genocide.

Strengthening Resistance


Telling stories in ways that make us stronger

Aunty Barbara Wingard

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