Therapy with a difference
My name is Chené and I am involved in Narrative
Therapy practices. I have completed my Master's
Degree in Narrative Pastoral Therapy and am currently
busy with my Doctoral studies. For the last 6
years I have been working with narrative ideas
and have found it an enriching and challenging
experience. This work has been done with a diverse
range of groups and individuals.
Narrative therapy is built around the postmodern
and social construction discourse that state that
we live according to a dominant story that has
been compiled by conscious and unconscious events
in our lives. The aim of a therapeutic partnership
would be to journey with a client towards a preferred
alternative story that suits the dreams, needs
and wishes of that specific person. These practises
open up amazing possibilities for potential development,
career and personal enrichment. It is an extremely
capable tool for facilitating motivation, attitude
changes and improved communication.
The narrative approach to therapy that I have
studied is built around deconstructing the discourses
that leads us to believing certain things about
ourselves and our lives, to observing certain
expectations and limits to our existence. When
someone buys into these discourses it keeps them
from reaching full productivity, motivation and
eventually negatively influences the product and
functioning of a company, their family life and
sometimes their friendships. When deconstructing
these discourses you take them apart, find the
origin, and make an informed decision about if,
and how, you choose to incorporate that discourse
into your living and working environment. Needless
to say, a lot of these discourses lead to stress,
which again plays into the various relationships
in which we stand.
I find it extremely fulfilling to see the process
and journey one person can make from point A to
point B in his/her life through decisions and
taking responsibility. Narrative therapy also
focuses on taking the dominant story (the point
A where you are in your life) and rewriting it
to and preferred, alternative story (point B where
you would like to be). This approach moves away
from the therapist being the expert, but rather
acknowledges the client to be the expert of his/her
The basic theme of Narrative ideas is that a
person is never the problem, the problem is the
problem. This is a fundamental concept that is
applicable when working with groups, individuals
and organizations. This approach, developed by
Michael White and David Epston, holds that the
knowledge and stories (narratives) emanating from
people’s culture, families and experiences
shape their lives. This process is called externalizing.
So, during externalizing I investigate the extent
of the problem as an entity on its own, calculate
the influence of it on the rest of the person's
life and then search for ways to reduce this entity.
The amazing thing about externalizing is that
it gives the person some leverage to take responsibility
in his relationship with his problem.
This approach to therapy can help participants
- Tell their stories of life.
- Resolve problems by deconstructing the meaning
of the internalized stories of self.
- Re-author their own lives according to their
alternative and preferred stories.
- Collectively re-tell the history and through
ongoing re-negotiation unfold the re-visioning
of the future.
- Explode the myths and negotiate values so
that participants can envisage the future.
- Take responsibility and acknowledge themselves
as the experts of their lives.
- See the problems that they face as separate
from themselves through a process of externalizing.
- Move from being mere spectators of change to
people who re-imagine their lives and their futures.
- Learn and experience that they are meaning-makers
that are contributing to their stories.
This is what participants had to say about the
influence of this kind of therapy on their lives:
- “I learnt quite a lot about myself especially
that I do have an alternative story which I can
use in my day to day living and in the management
of problems that come my way.”
- “Thank you very much for the growth I could
experience and the sense that I am moving forward!”
- “This journey helps you to see problems
as separate from yourself and therefore it helps
you to help yourself. This is GREAT!”
- “It gave wings to my dreams. You realize
that there is no end to the possibilities available
to you. “
- “I am able to now look past the problems.
There are no stumbling blocks anymore; I can be
free of the problems that haunt me.”
- “Wow, things are coming my way that I always
secretly wished I could do. It is as if people
see me differently. Currently they trust and allow
me to be busy with the things I love.”
To get in contact, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Transformations website.