I am Kate Marlena, a Certified Narrative Therapist and I believe that we can make fundamental and transformative changes in our lives through personal narrative work and healing. Understanding our own narratives and stories can help us cope and find solutions related to self and identity, relationships, addiction, grief, trauma, depression and other unwanted life conflicts.
My narrative work goes beyond simply working to change fundamental beliefs. It is about understanding where those beliefs came from, the feelings they produce, the way that our stories shape our decisions and behavior, and boldly shifting narratives to change our lives.
I have personally experienced profound growth and change by way of narrative healing, related to addiction recovery, motherhood identity, family conflicts, career and financial beliefs, as well as depression and anxiety. I believe that humans have an innate desire to give meaning to their experiences and lives. Without a conscious approach, we may give meaning to disempowering narratives and events. We may cling to negative identities and patterns, family beliefs, or very strong currents of political or cultural oppression. Through a narrative therapy method, we can shift our beliefs, challenge cultural and social limitations, and restore our identities in an authentic way.
What is Narrative Therapy?
Narrative therapy is a strategic and proven approach for individuals, groups, and communities, based on the principle that we are the experts of our own lives, and moreover, we can realign ourselves with preferred and empowering narratives. Humans are by our nature, driven to tell stories, to make sense of events, to come up with patterns in our minds about what happened and why. Even our biology drives us to order and name, make sense of perceptions, and to give purpose and meaning to our experience. Narrative therapy capitalizes on these tendencies with the goal of uncovering opportunities for new growth, meaning, purpose, and life-fulfillment.
As opposed to traditional psychotherapeutic methods, narrative does not focus on diagnoses or following prescriptive techniques. It emphasizes collaborating over a delivery of knowledge and expertise, born of post-structuralism and informed by feminism, social justice, orientations of power, and a general aversion to traditional mental health and medical models that can tend to pathologize people and their problems
I was trained in narrative theories and practice techniques by John Stillman, an early student of Michael White, considered the founder of modern Narrative Therapy practices and the Dulwich Center. Though I began my official narrative therapy practice training in recent years, I have been working in post-structuralism and narrative studies as an cultural anthropologist, a lawyer, community worker and social justice advocate, and as a Ph.D. candidate in narrative and literary theory. My personal healing journey has also been very formative in my practice and my passion for narrative as a therapeutic approach to social and personal conflict.