Narrative Family Counseling Approach
Narrative therapy is a social constructive philosophical approach to psychotherapy that has been developed to help clients deconstruct their negative and self-defeating life stories while rebuilding healthy and positive life stories through the use of various techniques. This paper will discuss the leading figures, some concepts and techniques, ethics, some similarities and dissimilarities of other theories compared to Narrative therapy. This paper will also address my personal integration of faith regarding the theory of Narrative therapy.
Narrative Family Counseling Approach
The roots of family therapy emerged out of individual therapy in 1950 when they realized that it was necessary to look at outside influences on the individual to help understand and treat their presenting problem (Clough, p, 2). Psychotherapy then expanded to include group approaches further enriching communication and relationships. In 1960, systemic changes began to include social and political ideals from where “distinct schools of family therapy” developed in 1970 (Clough, p. 2). Going forward, changes in philosophy furthered political and societal horizons toward constructivism and social constructionism (Clough, p. 2). “Constructivism suggests that there is no single reality only different perspective of the same situation, which is influenced by a person personality, situation, and experiences “(Clough, p. 2). “Social constructionism builds upon that perspective and includes social and cultural views which shapes the individuals meaning and affects their behaviors, interactions, and emotional responses” (Clough, p. 2). These changes over time have helped to evolve the therapist role from the “expert’ to the collaborator. From here, the emphasis and role of language and communication was implemented by the Milan systemic school which suggests that the two can shape our identity due to our societal interactions (Clough, p. 2). Both combined, language and social constructionism has helped bridge family therapy and narrative approaches leading to the development of Narrative Therapy (NT). Michael White and David Epston where the main creators of Narrative Therapy (NT) (Murdock, 2009, p. 493). Michael White is from Australia and David Epston is from New Zealand (Mudock, 2009, p. 493). Michael and Epston were both social workers by training and work more with family therapy than individual therapy” (Murdock, 2009, p. 493). After crossing paths, White and Epston realized a common interest that they had in anthropology and set it as their basis for family therapy (Murdock, 2009, p. 493).
NT is a postmodern social constructive philosophical approach to psychotherapy. As Goldenberg and Goldenberg (2013) suggest, NT is characterized as “poststructuralism and deconstruction” (p. 397). NT shifts from the more traditional theories and is seen as a non-blaming approach to counseling and community work where the client is the expert in their own lives. The NT process takes a look at the clients past, present, and future. NT can be used universally with various interventions, client’s types, and settings. For example; it can be used in individual, couples, group, or family therapy. According to Neimeyer (1999), NT can be used with different types of grief therapy. NT can be used with clients who have experienced traumas such as rape and abuse (Witney, 2012). NT is useful for all different age groups. Stern (2011) used NT while she was working in a nursing home to help the residents deal with issues such as death. NT is very effective with children as well. Porter (2006) and Ramey (2009) show success with NT to help with problems faced during adolescents. Various fields of practice also have been incorporating the process of NT such as the medical field according to Shapiro (2002). It helps the patient to deal with...
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