• Sandra Kiilerich
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)

Therapeutic practice is about helping people deal with their problems, and different psychological theories have had different ideas of what is the best way to do that.
One of the more recent psychological directions to gather a following is ‘Narrative Therapy’, principally formulated by and derived from the works of Michael White and David Epston, later to be taken up and expanded by a range of therapists in the therapeutic field.
The aim of this paper is to develop an understanding of the narrative therapy and its way of solving problems affecting identity or behavior, resulting in a discussion of some of the implications this way of seeing problems could have on therapeutic practice.
The study begins with an exploration of Narrative Therapy’s theoretical framework and locating it in the psychological field, before looking at the methods and approaches applied in narrative practice. This show that narrative therapy is based on the idea that people ‘story’ their experiences according to dominant plots that direct their attention and interpretation. In helping people, Narrative Therapy attempts to generate an alternative story about the client that challenges the problemsaturated story. The alternative story is based on neglected aspects of the client’s personality, history, wants and motives, and ultimately re-interprets, re-discover and re-formulate identity, behavior and life projects. The therapy aims to empower the client in facing its problems, which are often connected to an influential cultural and social realm, and so seeks to strengthen the client’s personal agency, for the client to be more directing of its life instead of being directed. Narrative Therapy holds the view that people are not their problems, but have relationships with problems, and that problems are to a large part constructed and can be re-constructed. Narrative Therapy draws inspiration from a broad field, notably social constructionism and postmodernist thinkers view of the social world’s power and restrictions, but combining this with humanist and phenomenologist views of the subject as a locus of creativity and control, which is able to surpass the strains.
The discussion attempts to address some of the criticisms directed at Narrative Therapy and to speculate over what Narrative Therapy entails for practitioners and clients. It deals with the debate of subjection and subjectivism; with the individual’s relation and dependence on the social realm; with the confines of relativism; with Narrative Therapy’s potential risk of being a postmodern dogmatism; with the relation between client and therapist; and with considerations of Narrative Therapy’s engagements to scientific substantiation and endorsement.
The conclusion is that Narrative Therapy is a validated and beneficial therapeutic approach in dealing with psychological hurts and troubles that could benefit from further scientific exploration.
Publication date31 May 2012
Number of pages79
ID: 63449902