Narrative therapy and cultural democracy: A testimony view— Makungu Akinyela


In this article I discuss my personal introduction to narrative therapy as an African American family therapist and my discovery of the similarities between narrative practices and my own approaches to therapeutic work. I also examine the cultural relationship between narrative therapy and the therapies of a growing number of communities outside of European dominant culture. The article questions the dominant approach to multiculturalism in the field today and introduces the idea of cultural democracy as an alternative approach to managing the relationship between narrative and other Euro-culture grounded therapies and the therapies of non-European peoples which may be similar to, yet culturally unique from, Euro-cultural therapies. This difference is not superficial or inconsequential. The article argues that a cultural democracy view challenges the emotional/ psychologically colonizing links based in presumption of Euro-cultural superiority of the ideas of Europe over the rest of the therapeutic world. This cultural democracy perspective creates a relationship of mutual respect and cross cultural influence between narrative therapy and other Euro-cultural therapies and the therapies developed by non-European peoples.