kate Marlena leone


"I believe that personal narrative has the power to shape our lives. I believe that our stories give us purpose, meaning, and value, and shifting towards preferred narratives is the gateway to personal, emotional, and psychological transformation."  


I am a Certified Narrative Therapist and have studied the impact of narrative in my work in anthropology, law, storytelling and literary theory. I've been fascinated by the ways that narratives shape culture, politics, institutions, and particularly our individual identities. 

If you are looking for an alternative to traditional psychotherapy methods, I offer narrative techniques which work to empower your sense of self, personal history, and the ways you engage the world. My goal is to help you uncover hidden narratives and realign with preferred narratives (not false narratives), that serve to give you clarity, autonomy, and restore potential for deep and transformative change.


"Narrative is the basis of religion, and law, and politics. It drives how we relate, make money, fall in love, and create families. For me there is no question, that narrative also has the power to shape who we are and how we experience the world as individuals." - Kate Marlena


In working together, it is my hope that you come to a clarity about yourself, find new narratives that are true to your personal values, interests, and goals, and use those narratives to shift your life in a positive and healing direction. As someone who has gone through a narrative healing process in addiction recovery, divorce, trauma, and new motherhood, I truly believe that narrative has the power to change our lives. 

community and Social advocacy Work

As a lawyer, working for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), my role was to intake inmate letters from Minnesota prisons to identify any potential claims. I would read their letters, which exposed childhood abuse, trauma, addiction, economic and personal hardships, and yet, most of these letters had nothing to do with legal violations. This narrative existed outside the scope of the law, and yet, it was clear to me that this mattered.


I wondered, how many other narratives and truths have been lost in these kinds of filters? I was trained to tell stories that fit certain legal modalities. It is the lawyers job is to create a narrative relevant to the scope of the law, to tell a story, but what gets lost in the process?


But, what truths are lost to obtain certain results?


My disdain for this part of the law made me keenly aware of power dynamics in all areas of political life, but also at the community, family and individual level. This led me to apply for a Ph.D. program and I was awarded the MacCracken Fellowship at New York University for my work in literary studies and narrative theory. My passion for work in personal growth and transformation extended beyond academics and the university and since 2010, I have continued my work as a published writer, storyteller, podcaster, and in developing my interest in narrative as a path towards personal growth and healing. 

I also worked on behalf of domestic violence victims, in family law as a divorce attorney, and working as a writer for the American Public Media podcast, Life of the Law. I have always been interested in the stories behind the law, the way that stories drive the law, and also the truth that much gets lost in the rules of evidence. You can read more about narrative and the limits of the law here


Narrative Healing in My Own Life

One of my core strengths is understanding how narrative has helped shape my own life, particularly in the areas of addiction recovery, new motherhood and identity, depression and anxiety, trauma, as well as divorce and separation. Understanding the way that narrative impacted my sense of self, choices, and ability to make changes has given me insight into how narrative methods can help others. Even more importantly I was able to deconstruct and understand how systemic and institutional narratives were holding me back from discovering my own authentic life and choices. Discovering the practice of narrative therapy was exciting for me as it applied what I already knew to be true in my academic as well as my personal life: stories have the power to drive change. They are innate, ever-present, and with patience we can use them to our advantage, particularly when we understand the power dynamics that can influence our sense of self.  

Certifications and Qualifications 
  • Advanced Practice Narrative Therapy Certificate -Vancouver School of Narrative Therapy (September 2020)

  • Embodied Activism Certification Program (July 2020)

  • Certified Narrative Therapist, Casperson Training Center, Minnesota, USA (2020)

  • MacCracken Fellow, Literature, New York University

  • Ph.D. Studies in Literature and Narrative, NYU (2010)

  • Juris Doctor, University of Minnesota (2006)

  • Licensed Minnesota State Bar Association (2006)

  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Arizona (2003)

  • B.A., English Literature, University of Arizona (2003)

  • Member of the American Bar Association and the Minnesota Bar Association (2003)

  • Member of the Society for Psychological Anthropology (AAA)

  • Member of the American Counseling Association (ACA)

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© 2020 by Kate Marlena