Beginning to use narrative practices

In this final chapter we take some time to reflect on your learning and the next steps you might take in your journey with narrative practices.




Here we consider the process of beginning to engage with narrative ideas and practices. In this article Alice Morgan shares some of her thoughts:

Beginning to use a narrative approach

You will have found this exercise within the article for this chapter. We invite you to:

  • Think about just one thing that has particularly resonated for you about narrative ideas and practices that you have been trying to apply more in your work.
  • What would you call the principle or idea? Give it a name. Say something about it – describe what it is about, your understandings of it, in your own words.
  • Give some more details about it, e.g.: When did you first notice this idea or principle in the work? What told you that it was important to you?
  • What are you currently doing that you would say is a reflection of this particular idea, practice or principle? Say a little bit about the times you thought you had managed to apply the idea or principle to your own practice.
  • When you did it, what did you notice? How did it affect, for example:
    1. The conversation you were engaging in at the time?
    2. Your thoughts about yourself?
    3. The other people who were with you?
    4. Your hopes or plans?
    5. Your feelings?
    6. What was this like for you? Did you like it or not?
    7. Did it suit you or not? Or something in between?
    8. Why is it that you give this evaluation? What did it seem to fit with?

Please now share your thoughts and responses with others below!



To join with others in ongoing and further conversations you can visit:

Narrative therapy Facebook communities

For other avenues to learn and exchange ideas you can visit:

Training at The Dulwich Centre

International Narrative Therapy & Community Work Conferences

The Dulwich Centre Email News

International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work

More detailed online courses in Externalising conversations and Re-membering conversations



Feedback:  Please provide us with your thoughts on how this course was for you or your hopes for future courses! We would really like to hear from you … thanks!  Email


Certification Module

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this course you can do so for a fee of $77. In order to qualify for this certificate you will need to:

  • complete a brief essay about narrative practice (1,000 words)
  • complete a short quiz with a passing grade of at least 80% (the quiz can be taken more than once).
Click here to take the certification module


Thank you for joining us on this journey.

We hope you have found this course helpful in some way!

We hope to see you again soon. 

This Post Has 85 Comments

  1. Avatar


    Marisa – Naarm/Melbourne

    Thin or problem saturated stories, re-membering and externalising the problem are ideas and strategies that have spoken to me most from completing this introduction to narrative therapy. I’m a social worker and my most recent role (that I have just finished up with) was working with survivors of childhood abuse going through a legal process to claim compensation. As part of this process they were necessarily required to retell their histories of abuse and trauma and how these experiences have impacted their lives. Survivors would – completely understandably – re-tell their histories as part of this process and inevitably describe themselves as ‘problem-saturated’ and as having been unable to overcome the problems their early experiences of severe trauma and abuse had caused them. In the work I was doing to support these clients – and I wasn’t aware I was using these narrative practice ideas and ‘techniques’ with them at the time – I attempted to support clients to externalise the problem (the abuse and its consequences) as something that happened to them that they were not responsible for and that should never have happened to them wherever possible – rather than seeing the abuse as something that defined who they were and was inseparable from their sense of identity.

    Now that I feel that I know much more about narrative theories and techniques from this course I would like to use them in a more conscious way with my clients in future. My most recent role working with survivors of abuse didn’t allow the time and the space to really provide ‘solid’ counselling or therapeutic support where more of their stories could be explored and clients’ supported to work through them, I would hope to be able to do that with my clients in my future role(s).

  2. Avatar

    Eugene Ford

    I loved the re-membering conversations theory and exercises, and I have been using it in my practise. In fact, I used the exercise soon after learning of it, and it was immediately transformational for the client I was working with. It’s a touching, beautiful exercise.

    Haha! The exercise already has a literal name…but I would put my own spin on it by labelling the exercise as cathartic and transformational. For the client I worked with, she described the process of re-membering a positive relationship from her past as feeling similar to ‘standing in sunshine’.

    I have a personal and professional interest in shame, and I am fascinated by the process of creating a narrative for ourselves and others that stems from unresolved feelings of shame…which of course lead to acting out behaviour, changes to our personal life, and further shame. I love that re-membering a conversation from adolescence, can lead to realizations that someone loved us for who we are, at the same time that someone was shaming us for who we are. I have clients who respond well to the clinical perspective that their beautiful brains are responding acutely to shame, because its more potent, whereas if they meditated on it, the warm fuzzies that come from knowing they were loved, can gradually overpower the pain that comes from shame. In my practise, I have noticed that Brené Brown’s contextualize vs. individualize exercise is powerful accompaniment to re-membering conversations.

    When I’ve used this tool, I’ve noticed an immediately positive response in my clients. In response to one of the modules, I noted that I was concerned that clients would feel manipulated through they use of such a tool…as though they could see right through it. I’m touched and surprised by the level of responsiveness I’ve noted. The client’s comment that she ‘feels bathed in sunshine’ when remembering that she was loved unconditionally by her grandmother, throughout multiple experiences of childhood trauma, was a powerful experience to witness.

  3. Avatar

    Danielle Huntington

    United States, Vermont
    Throughout this course, I have learned many new techniques. While I believe that all aspects of Narrative Therapy are important, the focus for me is externalizing the problem. Working with adults who struggle with both addiction and criminal behavior, they often identify themselves as their addiction or the charges that they have received. I plan to use Narrative Therapy as I encourage people to be able to see themselves outside of the behaviors that they have engaged in. I have started to use this practice and have realized that it is very compelling to see someone recognize that they are not what they have done or what has happened to them.
    I also truly enjoyed learning the map of Outsider Witness. I think that using this Map in group sessions will be powerful for all group members. I have not utilized this yet, however I very much look forward to being able to do so.

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