Updated: Mar 15, 2020
Deciding to see a therapist may stem from the feeling that we have no one to talk to, our problems have become overwhelming, or we are feeling desperate in our lives to find a solution. Sometimes we just need another person to hold time, space, and attention for us. Whether you are new to talk therapy, psychotherapy, or any kind of coaching, or you are considering giving narrative a try, I wanted to introduce some situations that I find might be useful.
As someone who has benefited deeply from shared narrative and a narrative method to healing, I believe that we can significantly benefit from moving our internal thoughts and dialogues to the outside. Whether you are sharing with a group, a trusted friend, or a therapist, it is important to hear yourself share your own story.
As a narrative therapist, my role is to ask questions that might get you to clarify your story, think deeper about how it impacts and drives you, and consider what meaning you have given to certain events in your life. You might benefit from narrative therapy in the following situations:
Here are some situations where narrative therapy might be a useful:
1) You've tried traditional psychotherapy but failed to connect with your therapist. Traditional methods of diagnosis and psychoanalysis are not working for you and you are looking for an alternative method.
2) You are suffering from an addictive pattern or cycle but are unable to move forward. You continue to find yourself in the same position, struggling to find a way forward. You might have tried 12-step or you are not comfortable with group settings and might find a narrative approach more personal and useful.
3) You are in a family conflict, such as marital separation or divorce, or looking to change the dynamics of a relationship with a family member. This is highly stressful and is often impacted by our personal narrative around family duty, family bonds, and expectations. Narrative can open up new possibilities for self-exploration, identity, and intention.
4) You are in a life transition, such as new motherhood, a new career, relocation, or retirement and are finding the adjustment difficult. Sometimes our individual values are in conflict during these times and narrative can help to sort through how we see our lives, our current situation, and our power in carving a path forward.
5) You are overcome by trauma, grief, depression or other negative emotions. Narrative takes a sensitive and highly personalized approach to these issues. We will look at who you are outside of these negative emotions, understand how they are impacting your life, consider alternative narratives, and what might be missing for you. While narrative does not claim to resolve these emotions, it can give you greater perspective on their value and meaning in your life.
If you have questions about how narrative might be useful to you, please feel free to contact me directly. I am happy to answer your individual questions about how narrative might be useful in your situation.