Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy based on the understanding that people have several narratives they constantly tell themselves. It focuses on how storytelling and language shape people’s realities and become their internal dialogue. The therapy was created by Michael White and David Epston.
By diving into what influences a person’s stories—from culture and media to religion and relationships—the therapist can unravel and sort these influences. The therapist then helps the client reinterpret and change the life narratives in a positive way.
In narrative therapy, the person isn’t the problem. The problem is the problem. The therapist acts as a facilitator, an ally, and a good listener as the client goes on a journey of self-evaluation and self-discovery. The therapy focuses on deconstructing the external negative influences so that they lose their power.
The therapy then reinterprets (also called “re-stories” or “re-authors”) how the client perceives his/her life’s story. Through the storytelling process, the therapist helps guide the client to uncover alternative, more positive narratives -- namely, empowering stories that reflect the client's abilities, competence, and confidence.