The Benefits of Narrative Therapy Essay

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Narrative Therapy
In the early 80’s a new theory garnered acclaim in psychotherapeutic circles. It is called Narrative therapy and has its roots in a postmodern idea known as constructivism. Ian Ridgway (2005) defines constructivism this way, “Humans create meaning within social contexts because it is believed either that reality is essentially without meaning or its true meaning is beyond us.” Michael White and David Epston are the two most prominent figures in the development of Narrative Therapy. White and Epston recognized a shift in how people construct meaning for their lives and believed that to help a client it was important to deconstruct the stories in his or her life the client would naturally alter the behavior (Nichols,
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He also was attracted to Gregory Bateson’s ideas about how communication affects one’s interpretation of the world. These circumstances led directly to White’s development of narrative therapy and his concept of problems seeking to control people rather than the outcome of how people function. According to White, by deconstructing the oppressive narratives in their lives people can construct positive stories in place of negative ones (Nichols, 2010).
The other prominent individual in the establishment of narrative therapy is David Epston. Born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada in 1944, he received his degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Auckland University of New Zealand in 1969 (Wikipedia, 2010). He worked closely with Michael White to develop a narrative approach to therapy. Some of Epston’s greatest contributions to narrative therapy stress the importance of support groups to help clients maintain healthy approaches to dealing with problems as well as sending letters to clients to give them reminders to assist them in living out their new stories (Nichols 2010).
Narrative therapists do not adhere to a traditional view of how people behave or develop normally. In many psychotherapy settings the counselor will have a basic understanding of what is normal and abnormal. However, a narrative counselor does not make this assessment, but rather attempts to avoid making
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