“Every time we ask a question, we’re generating a possible version of a life.” – David Epston
“The problem is the problem, the person is not the problem.” – Michael White and David Epston
Recent movement in the neuropsychotherapy field examine the positive significance of engaging with peoples’ ‘narratives’ to benefit therapeutic outcomes. For example, Seigel & Bryson (2011) in their book The Whole Brain Child assert when clients are invited to share their stories, they become resourced and respond in more healthy and proactive ways. “When we help our children name their pain and their fears, we help them tame them” (p.33).
Narrative therapy is a collaborative approach that holds the premise:
- People, families, schools, communities …are not the problem, the problem is the problem;
- Narrative therapeutic engagement seeks to understand how stories shape private and social experiences;
- As well as understanding the stance of the problems in people’s lives, narrative focussed questions invite people to explore possible versions of life dictated by their skills, values, commitments and resources.
Sekneh Beckett (MAPS) is our resident psychologist and lectures and practices Narrative Therapy both nationally and internationally. She is a long term faculty member of the Dulwich Centre, Adelaide (the co-founders of narrative therapy); http://dulwichcentre.com.au/.
Lecturer/tutor for the Masters of Narrative Therapy and Community Work at the University of Melbourne.