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Narrative Therapy uses the client's storytelling to indicate the way they construct meaning in their lives, rather than focusing on how they communicate their problem behaviors. Narrative Therapy embraces the idea that stories actually shape our behaviors and our lives and that we become the stories we tell about ourselves. There are helpful narratives we can choose to embrace as well as unhelpful ones. Although it may sound obvious, the power of storytelling is to elevate the client--who is the authority of their narrative--rather than the therapist, as an expert.

Michael White and David Epston developed narrative therapy. They created it as a non-pathologizing, empowering, and collaborative approach. It recognizes that people have skills and expertise that can help guide change in their lives. Narrative therapy separates people from their problems. This allows therapists to help people externalize sensitive issues. Objectifying issues may lower a person’s resistance and defenses. It allows people to address issues in a more productive way.

Individuals, couples, or families may use narrative therapy. In a couple or family setting, the technique of externalizing problems facilitates positive interaction. It can also make negative communication more accepting and meaningful. Seeing a problem objectively helps couples and families reconnect with the heart of their relationship. They may be able to address how the problem has challenged the core strength of their bond.

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