Skip to main content

Using Narrative Therapy in Daily Life and Relationships


Narrative Therapy- created by Michael White and David Epston- can be useful outside the therapy room.
One key principle of Narrative Therapy is Externalization- distinguishing between a person and their problem. In my experience, it is also extremely useful to separate a specific behaviour or action from the person.
Managing relationships in the work place, within your family or with your friends or your spouse/partner, can be done in a less emotionally-charged way once we learn to criticize a behaviour rather than criticizing the person.
There are pitfalls, though, and a frank, respectful discussion about change can only lead to positive results if all involved are invested in the other's well-being...
If you are in a personal relationship with someone who seems not to care about your happiness, I invite you to explore why you are there, and whether you need to make a change. More on the "right time" to make a change in the next post!


The views and suggestions on this blog are for informational purposes only; they do not presume to capture the full complexity of an individual situation nor do they pretend to offer comprehensive therapeutic consultations. If you need help, please contact a regulated professional (registered social workers, psychotherapists or psychologists). 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Holocaust Remembrance Day reflection

Brown eyes are a danger to have,
No matter how pretty they may be, shaped like big marbles or almonds,
They bring suspicion, they make you
A non-human, deserving of humiliation, or hurt, or death,
Whether you are a young woman who just married, a Rabbi, a barber, a poet, the village Shochet, or
A brown-eyed baby.
Brown eyes. Brown hair. Brown skin;
Colourless compassion is needed.


With immense gratitude to Ettie Miller, for sharing her family's painful and wonderful story of survival.

Hand in hand

I recently spoke with a very seasoned therapist about the role of the therapist in the therapeutic process- is it to witness and contain, to observe and accompany or to help facilitate change?
Should transformation come only as a result of the individual reaching insight on their own, or can the therapist take a more active role?
There are recent peer-reviewed studies showing that the outcome of therapy is very closely tied to therapists' characteristics, much more than to the type of therapeutic modality (like CBT, DBT, etc.). "Interestingly, more effective psychiatrists, meeting regularly with patients, achieve better outcomes administering a placebo than do less effective psychiatrists administering antidepressant medication (McKay, Imel, & Wampold, 2006)!"1
Among the qualities found to be necessary for effective therapists is creating an alliance that is steeped in empathy, collaboration, optimism and hope. Beyond the research, I believe that most individuals see…

Emotional Fixers- Rewards and Risks

Are you an emotional fixer? Is it your role to make sure that the people you care about are happy and content? That there is harmony- always- and agreement for everyone around you? While peace and understanding are goals for which to strive, you may want to ask yourself a few questions: Is the harmony coming at the cost of minimizing, even eliminating, your own needs? Who assigned you this role? Are you trying to fix someone else's emotional distress for them?
I believe that respectful conflict is essential to healthy relationships and that disagreements can be one way in which values are explored and refined. In my personal and professional experience, I have seen the emotional fixer take the impossible task of pleasing others and trying to heal wounds that are not their own, but it is never enough... We all have a responsibility to do our own emotional work. You can be caring, loving and supportive while setting healthy boundaries between you and others. Otherwise, the risk to y…