Narrative Therapy An Integrated Outcome?
Systemic therapy was based on Minuchin’s Structural Therapy model (1968) followed by Bateson's cybernetic model (1972) The first order cybernetic model considerd that problems within a family system should be focused on by strategically solving problems, meeting family goals and help change a person's dysfunctional behaviour. D Shazer (1985). These concepts in Systemic therapy were known as the major paradigms and were taught by therapists such as Minuchin in Milan until the information-processing systems were introduced. They were characterized by the therapist's observation of the system from the external social world. Minuchin S & Fisherman,HC (1981) Systemic Family therapy subsequently included the concept of Constructivism, Second-Order Cybernetics and Social Constructionism. Inherent in this body of thought is the notion that we construct our own understanding of the problem with associated meanings which is shared with other people, as opposed to looking for an objective ‘truth’ about the situation, J. Fenwick (2006) This was a change from the former ‘thinking’ that external reality was ‘knowable’. In terms of Systemic family therapy, Therapists now had a view of ‘reality’, as something that can be created through language in an ongoing relational process. Therefore inherent discourse reflecting the ideals of the social world provides an active process of shared meanings or metaphors which create the Narratives for families as well as individuals .White (2006) The Systemic Narrative therapy was developed mainly in the 1980s by Micheal White a therapist trained in the Milan school of Family Therapy. Narrative therapy is a therapeutic way of understanding problems with associated shared meanings and metaphors and their effects on people’s lives. These ideas are very different from the structural and strategic family systemic therapy taught in Milan. M White (2000)
The common assumptions about Narrative Therapy:-
* The Therapist takes a Collaborative stand. Collaborates and explores with the Client the problem and the impact it has on the Client, others and his relationships. Seeks interest in alternative stories * ‘Externalizes the problem.
* The use of questions and conversations which link to past and possible future ‘unique outcomes.’ Explores and identifies useful strategies for Resisting the problem * Use of Therapeutic Letters which reframe or re-tell the Client’s narrative and help the Client to reflect on therapeutic sessions. * The use of Certificates celebrating a Client’s or family’s achievements and stories of success.
The Therapist in a Collaborative Role.
In Narrative Therapy the role of the Therapist is to listen to the family stories which the Client leads the Therapist into and presents the problem that is situated within the narrative that he tells to the Therapist. The Therapist in turn explores the stories collaboratively with the Client as he seeks to understand their stories and to find any positive Narratives which can be used as alternatives. The narrative dialogue is significant part of the Therapists work with the Client as he builds a positive therapeutic relationship. Morgan A (2000) The Therapist who is practicing within a Narrative framework is thinking of how they can adopt a transparent, collaborative, and respectful stance which is influenced by the social constructionist way of thinking i.e. that people construct their own lives and that this is ‘fluid’ and ‘changeable’. This is a post structuralist influence where the therapist believes that the client is the ‘expert and that he is positioned to learn about the client from his narratives and stories that he brings to the therapy session. In this way the client is the expert about his own narratives not the therapist. Byng-Hall J (1995). The questions that arise from these sessions will be of interest to the Therapist and will be complex...
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