Narrative Therapy (NT) is a respectful and collaborative approach to counselling. It focuses on the stories of people’s lives that are made up of events, linked by a theme, occurring over time and according to a plot. A story emerges as certain events are privileged and selected out over other events as more important or true. As the story takes shape, it invites the teller to further select only certain information while ignoring other events so that the same story is continually told.
Difficulties arise when people focus primarily on the negative elements of their story, while overlooking or not recognizing the positive or desirable aspects. Such ‘problem-saturated’ stories can invite a powerful negative influence in the way people see their lives and capabilities (e,g., “I am hopeless).
The goal of NT is to help clients develop a new story, based on previously unrecognized and hidden possibilities, which is more consistent with their intentions, hopes, commitments, values and dreams. When this happens, many struggles are not as prominent.