narrative therapy

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in | 0 comments

Showing 177–190 of 190 results

  • Re-storying children’s nightmares and night terrors — Kelvin F. Mutter


    Nightmares and night terrors are common childhood experiences. Through the use of first-person narrative and composite stories, this essay documents an emergent incorporation of narrative therapy practices in work with families seeking help for children experiencing nightmares and night terrors. Key transitions and innovations in clinical practice are identified. Reflections identify and discuss potential success factors and limitations regarding the outcomes of this practice. This paper concludes by identifying and reflecting on three novel outcomes that emerge from the paper.

  • Researching ‘Suicidal Thoughts’ and Archiving Young People’s Insider Knowledges— Marilyn O’Neill


    This paper explores the significance of enabling co-research conversations about the effects and tactics of suicidal thoughts, and about effective forms of resistance. It describes one such coresearch project that involved three young people in Sydney, Australia. The ideas that informed the co-research are described and extracts of the young people’s co-research conversations are included.

  • Some Reflections on the Use of the Journey Metaphor in Working with Young Women Who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse— Delphine YauCheuk-wai


    In this short piece, the author offers reflections on a group she facilitated with young women who have experienced sexual abuse. This group was shaped by the use of a metaphor of a journey, by externalising conversations, and by the use of artistic expression.

  • Uh Oh! I have received an Unexpected Visitor: The visitor’s name is Chronic Disease a Brazilian narrative family therapy approach— Lúcia Helena Abdalla and Ana Luiza Novis


    Based on our clinical experience with people with chronic diseases, we have developed a narrative methodology we have named ‘The Pantry of Life’ (also known as ‘The Unexpected Visitor’). This reflective approach invites the person and their family to imagine and describe the appearance of adversity in their lives as an ‘Unexpected Visitor’ who arrives unexpectedly and uninvited. Consisting of six reflexive exercises, this methodology enables families who have felt hostage to the problem, to reclaim the authorship of the stories of their lives. By promoting new understandings, expanding conversations, and validating the skills and resources of family members, those living with chronic diseases are offered a chance to respond to serious problems in playful and creative ways.

  • Discerning between structuralist and non-structuralist categories of identity: a training exercise— Alice Morgan


    Through the description of a training exercise, this paper illustrates the relevance of assisting trainees to discern between structuralist and non structuralist categories of identity. This piece assumes knowledge of various narrative therapy concepts. If you are not familiar with these, recommended reading is offered at the end of the paper.

  • Ethnography, co-research and insider knowledges— David Epston


    This piece revisits some of the intellectual histories of narrative practice, in particular the development of an ethnographic, co-research approach to working with families. By tracing the influence of anthropological and sociological thought on the development of what has become ‘narrative therapy’, this piece invites current practitioners to read beyond the boundaries of any professional field in order to generate new forms of practice.

  • Michael White and adventures downunder— David Denborough


    This paper explores the personal-professional historical development of the work of the late Michael White. It was written at the request of Maurizio Andolfi and first published in Italian in Terapia Familiare No.102, July 2013. It is published here for the first time in English with permission. The paper is written as a response to four questions: What were some of the key steps in Michael White’s historical development from a personal-professional perspective? From where did Michael draw his main inspirations? What have been his major contributions? And what has Michael left to the younger generations?

  • Working with People Who Are Suffering the Consequences of Multiple Trauma: A Narrative Perspective— Michael White


    In October 2003, Michael White gave a presentation at the Treatment & Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture and Trauma (TRC) in Ramallah, Palestine. In consultation with those present, it was decided that it would be helpful to have this presentation recorded, transcribed, edited and then translated into Arabic to be made available to other Arabic-speaking workers in Palestine and elsewhere. The paper published here was created for this purpose. In doing this, we realised that it was a paper that would be of value to a wider readership and so have included it here. Jane Hales transcribed an audiotape of the presentation and David Denborough assisted in bringing this piece to its current form.

    The paper places an emphasis on the priority given to the redevelopment and reinvigoration of a ‘sense of myself’ in working with people who have been subject to trauma. It describes how this can be achieved through the use of definitional ceremony structures, outsider-witness practices and re-authoring conversations. The last section of the paper discusses the work of memory theorists and its relevance to work with people who have experienced trauma. More particularly it proposes that, in order to re-associate dissociated memory, we must first enable a revitalisation of the ‘sense of myself’.

  • Externalising: Commonly asked questions— Maggie Carey & Shona Russell


    The following questions and answers about ‘externalising’ have been created in response to regular requests from practitioners. We’ve tried here to respond to some of the questions we are most commonly asked in training contexts.

    We’ve enjoyed the collaborative process of coming up with these questions and answers. A wide range of people have been involved and we’ve really appreciated this.

    We hope this document will be of assistance to those engaging with narrative ideas. We look forward to receiving your feedback!

  • Journeys of Freedoms: Responding to the Effects of Domestic Violence— Kath Muller


    This paper outlines a community training project which sought to walk alongside women on their journeys to reclaim their lives from the effects of domestic violence. The community training project enabled connections between women, provided a context for externalising and re-authoring conversations, and allowed women to bear witness to each others’ stories of resistance and survival in the face of violence and abuse. A journey metaphor was used throughout the ten weekly gatherings of women. Following the project, having named shared concerns, the women went on to explore shared social action.

  • Poststructuralism and therapy – what’s it all about?— Leonie Thomas


    Narrative therapy is very influenced by poststructuralist ideas and yet, for many of us, it can be quite a challenge to actually understand what poststructuralism is! Personally, we have been excited, challenged, stretched and sometimes exhausted by trying to understand poststructuralism and what it might mean for our practice as therapists.

    While this is a complex topic, this is only a brief piece of writing. We’ve simply focused on a few areas and tried to offer some answers to commonly asked questions. We are not meaning to imply that these are the correct or only answers, we’re just hoping that you’ll find them helpful. We’ve certainly learnt a lot in putting them together.

  • Writing at the interface of therapy, academic and community education cultures—Jane Speedy


    In describing the relationship between therapy, academic and community education cultures, particularly the different forms of writing practices that occur within them, this paper seeks to contribute to a conversation about the development of a ‘community of narrative practice’ involving teachers and learners within all three realms.

  • Language, Power and Intentions: Some Ideas of Working with People whose Lives are Affected by Substance Use— Michelle Cherubin


    In this paper the author shares stories from her work with people whose lives are affected by substance use. At the same time, this paper tries to make clear the kinds of ideas that inform the therapist’s thinking and the processes she goes through when deciding which conversational directions to explore. Key themes include: the use of language in therapy; considerations of modern power; responding to concerns about harm and considerations of protection; richly storying the web of relationships a person has to alcohol and drugs; and therapist intentions in this work.

  • Beginning to use a narrative approach in therapy— Alice Morgan


    We invited Alice Morgan to write the following article for this first edition of our new journal. Over the years we have had many requests for writings that describe the process of beginning to engage with narrative ideas and practices. Within the following paper Alice describes some of the ways in which she began to engage with narrative ideas and what she found helpful in the process. We believe that this piece will be of interest to those who are new to narrative ideas, and also to those who are teachers and trainers. Alice is the author of the very popular book ‘What is Narrative Therapy? An easy-to-read introduction’ (2000) and editor of ‘Once Upon a Time … Narrative therapy with children and their families’ (1999).


  1. in what ways have you entered into collaborations before? What made these collaborations possible?

    As a peer worker most of my work was entering into collaborations with young people. I would use curiosity to further inquire into their experience, and looking back wow these narrative practices would have been amazing to use in our youth group discussions! We would use art mostly in telling stories. Many of the young people heard voices and saw characters only they could see. They would enjoy painting these voices, externalising the character, giving it a name and talking about the story and nature of the relationship between the voice and the character. I also enjoyed illiciting these stories, as I could tell they would begin to separate themselves from the voices, allowing for guilt and shame to reduce.

    What might make it hard to enter into these practices?

    The one difficult way of entering into these practices was the note writing. The managerial culture of my last workplace meant it was not considered good practice to have clients sit with us to write notes. In fact most clients probably were unaware that workers did regularly make notes each time they had contact with the centre. We were a strengths based centre that thrived on person centred practice. I think there is a bit of a stereotype that note writing is quite clinical and removed from person centred practice, hence a certain avoidance of bringing up notes in front of clients.

    If these ways of working fit for you, what next steps could you take to build partnerships/collaborations in your work?

    I definitely believe I could continue to use art to help young people tell their alternative stories. In mental health many workers draw thin conclusions of clients – bipolar, poor attachment, violent, with even their strengths really talked about in third person. It would be great to start drawing peoples strengths out with the use of story telling, so that clients can start to own their strengths, rather than have clinicans cherry pick these out.

  2. Thank you to Tileah for a wonderful presentation. I love hearing the word “yarn” used in this powerful way (Americans also have that term). The practice of “translating”, of shifting concepts into language that can be more usefully heard, is very powerful. As coaches we can make good use of this to help clients uncover their hidden or forgotten resources.

  3. These stories are amazing examples of what we can discover when we hold onto our “beginner’s mind” and remember that the other person (client, patient) has the information and understanding, not us. We talk a lot in leadership development about “co-creating” and I think this is a beautiful example of two very complementary roles: the person who has the story and the person who helps to explore and shape it.

  4. I like the idea of narrative – there is something about giving people the power to create a narrative, rather than simply appearing in a story told by someone else. Within the narrative metaphor, I especially enjoy the fabric metaphor – the idea of strands. These may touch each other, or not, may go well together in tone or color, or not. But again, there is some power in creating and weaving the narrative.
    In my own work with coaching and leadership development, I find that the emphasis on narrative(s) helps make things more tangible, and therefore brings them to their true scale, instead of letting them take on imaginary and unclearly described proportions.

  5. I love this. Telling our stories in ways that make us stronger. Such a powerful sentiment. Sometimes through trauma, it is hard to access the words that really encapsulate that experience – though using the written word does help us access those hard to utter parts of our memories … in those cases though perhaps the story we tell ourselves is not one that makes us feel strong in the first instance – so finding a way to tell that story in a way that focuses on the strength of surviving to tell that story is just amazing!