Narrative therapy is based on the premise that our lives are a series of stories, and that it’s our task to frame these stories in a way that empowers us. By viewing people as separate from their symptoms, the narrative-therapy-trained therapist helps clients gain perspective on their issues, emboldening them to make impactful changes and re-write the narrative for the better.
For clients whose self-concept is centered around pathologizing statements like “I’m OCD” or “I suffer from depression,” this type of therapy is an especially powerful treatment mechanism. After listening to the client express these thoughts and labels, the therapist will guide the client toward telling positive stories about themselves, thereby improving self-esteem. The ultimate goal is for the client to internalize the knowledge that he or she is more than their problems and fears.
Narrative therapy can also help the client tease out the significant stories that form the underlying basis for the client’s personality. With the therapist as a collaborator, the client is supported in viewing themselves as the expert on their own life, the author of their own story. As such, the client is empowered to awaken and uncover their own dreams and goals, focusing on the things they want instead of what they don’t want—the abundance, not the lack.