Wednesday, 8 December 2021

What is Narrative Therapy?

Narrative therapy was developed by Australian social worker Michael White, and New Zealander David Epston in the 1970s and 80s. It is a social constructivist, client-centred approach which assumes there are no absolute 'truths'; only socially-sanctioned 'truth' in the eyes of the client. In this theory, truth is truly relative. Narrative therapy takes a social justice viewpoint.

It allows clients to reframe themselves "as separate from their problems". This enables clients to create separation between the issues at hand, and their own identity, to consider their actions and behaviours in an external light, and decide whether acts are "helping them, or protecting them, [or] hurting them" (Psychology Today, 2020). This can allow clients to feel in control, and better able to make change, while understanding that their changes of action will not change their identity.

The following Google search might be useful (https://www.google.com/search?q=Narrative+career+theory&rlz=1C1GCEB_enNZ837NZ837&oq=Narrative+career+theory&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i433i457j0l6.3647j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8) to see a range of resources. In addition, there are a number of good texts:

  • McMahon, M. (Ed.). (2016). Career counselling: Constructivist approaches. Routledge.
  • Maree, K. (2019). Shaping the story: A guide to facilitating narrative career counselling. Sense Publishers.
  • Cochran, L. (1997). Career counseling: A narrative approach. SAGE Publications Ltd.

The key current authors are Mary McMahon, Peter McIveen, and Wendy Patton - but we mustn't forget Cochran, as well as keeping our eyes open for new authors in the field in the career journals.


Sam

References:

  • Cochran, L. (1997). Career counseling: A narrative approach. SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • McMahon, M. (Ed.). (2016). Career counselling: Constructivist approaches. Routledge.
  • Maree, K. (2019).Shaping the story: A guide to facilitating narrative career counselling. Sense Publishers.
  • Psychology Today (2020).&Narrative Therapy. https://www.psychologytoday.com/nz/therapy-types/narrative-therapy

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