About Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy is a strength-based, respectful approach to therapy that sees people as experts in their own lives. By drawing on personal resources people are encouraged to reclaim their lives from the problems that weigh them down. In narrative therapy, people become more aware of their relationship with their problem and are encouraged to see themselves and the stories of their lives in a new light.

In my work, I come into a session believing that the people seeking my help have many unique skills and understandings that can be used to change the stories of their lives. Some of these abilities may have been forgotten, so one of the purposes of therapy is to rediscover and appreciate the strengths and competencies that can be found in every person. In order to get at these hidden abilities, I engage in thoughtful questioning to better understand the full experience of people’s lives.

The goal of narrative therapy is for people to re-author their own lives according to their preferred stories of health and success. Problems tend to make people feel one dimensional – like they are their problems. But this is not so. People that come to therapy are multi-dimensional and full of strengths that may be hidden to them. By changing the stories that negatively define their lives and their relationships, narrative therapy helps people gain control over their problems and begin to re-define themselves in a more positive way.

Narrative therapy aims to be a short-term and change-oriented solution to one’s problems.


Narrative Therapy for Children and Teens

As in any type of therapy with children and adolescents, the key to successful therapy is a strong therapeutic relationship. Oftentimes when working with youth, a lot of time is spent building trust and rapport so, in therapy, I let the young person set the pace and I do not push past their comfort levels. In terms of adolescents, there is often a reluctance to talk to counsellors, especially when it is forced upon them. In these cases I am patient and spend as much time as necessary building a trusting relationship in order to show them that I won’t give up on helping them. I have worked extensively with kids of every age and have successfully connected with even the most resistant of youth.

Narrative Therapy for Children

Narrative therapy for children gives kids a language in which to speak about and understand their problems. Often children who experience problems in their lives have difficulty both understanding and talking about their problems. They often haven’t connected their actions with their thoughts and beliefs about the world and themselves. Age-appropriate narrative questioning gets kids thinking about how they ‘met’ their problems, where their problem tends to ‘hang out’ with them, and how their problems ‘trick’ them into feeling bad about life. Kids are then supported in recognizing the ways in which they already ‘fight’ against their problems and how they can further  ‘stick up for themselves’ against the problem.

Narrative also gives kids the language to talk about their problems with their families and with other important people in their lives. As a relational-based therapy, families are the most essential support in help children ‘stand up’ to the problems in their lives. By exposing the problem and gathering support on the child’s ‘side’, children are empowered to redefine themselves as competent, strong, and resistant to problems.

Narrative Therapy for Teens

Tired of being asked ‘how you feel?” Want someone to talk to that doesn’t tell you what to do or just repeat what you just said?

In narrative therapy, the counsellor just want to find out about you, about your life, your experiences, your problems. Problems come in all shapes and sizes. Problems like depression, anorexia, alcohol and/or drug abuse, anxiety, cutting, self-blame are ones that a lot of teens have met these days. Sometimes problems can become all someone can see, to the point where they consider suicide.

But there was a time when you didn’t know this problem and, probably, times in your life that you manage to forget that it’s hanging around. So how did it take control of your life? Are you going to let it take you down? What would it take to stand up to this problem? These are questions only you can answer. However, I am absolutely sure that the answer to all your problems is within you.

It’s not my job to tell anyone how to solve their problems. I don’t give advice or judge anyone because I understand that no one can ever really know any one else’s experience. It my job just to help people think about their lives differently and give them a fresh perspective on their problems. I just want to hear your story and help you end your relationship with your problems.