Narrative Therapy was co-developed by Michael White and David Epston.
Narrative therapy involves optimism even in the face of darkness. It assumes that clients have many resources, skills, values, abilities, beliefs, knowledge and so on that can help them reduce the influences of the problems they are struggling with in their lives. In narrative therapy the relationship between the therapist and the client is a collaborative one. Conversations are always interactive and are guided by the interests of the client. The narrative therapist is genuinely curious and asks exploratory questions. The stories (narratives) of a client’s life are central to understanding how narrative therapy works. Each client has a unique set of stories about their lives. There are stories about the past, present and future. There is always a social context in which the stories of one’s life are developed e.g culture. Embedded in the client’s stories are the interpretations and meanings they attach to various events and experiences. The meanings a client makes of their life are greatly influenced by their culture. A client may have a story about themselves as being a “failure”. Such a label disempowers the client.
In narrative therapy exploration can lead to a preferred alternative, more positive or optimistic or hopeful story. During conversations between the therapist and client, the therapist searches for these alternative stories. These stories can open up new possibilities for living. Helping the client to construct a preferred story (narrative) is one of the main tasks of the narrative therapist. In narrative therapy the therapist will ask questions of the client, and based on the answers, will ask further questions.