Narrative Therapy for Mental Health Disorders

Everyone has a story. When we reflect on our lives, we often think of ourselves as the main character of our own story. Because of this, therapists and counselors at our Mental Health Center in Mission Viejo utilize what is known as Narrative Therapy, helping patients gain control over their life story.

Narrative Therapy | Our Program

Narrative Therapy for Mental Health Disorders

Everyone has a story. When we reflect on our lives, we often think of ourselves as the main character of our own story. Because of this, therapists and counselors at our Mental Health Center in Mission Viejo utilize what is known as Narrative Therapy, helping patients gain control over their life story.

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What Is Narrative Therapy?

Narrative therapy is a unique treatment option to help those who may be struggling with a mental health disorder. The most notable aspect that makes narrative treatment stand out from other standard forms of therapeutic treatments is its ability to successfully separate the individual from the issues that they are facing. It is meant to motivate its recipients to rely on their own skills and knowledge. Doing this helps to minimize the side-effects that are often experienced in these situations.

Many industry professionals consider humans to be story people, which means that nearly all of someone’s personal experiences are developed into individual personal stories throughout each person’s life. These stories play an important role in shaping the individual’s identity, which is based on the meaning that stories are given. By a narrative therapist applying their therapy methods to these stories, the stories’ new influences can help people discover a more real and relatable purpose in life.

This is typically done not by imagining an alternative story, but by altering the perception of their role and purpose in the story. By giving the patient the assignment of becoming the “narrator” of all their own story (memory), new meanings can be created, which causes the ways they view their problems to change in more positive ways.

The Development of Narrative Therapy

This unique approach to counseling was developed in the 1980s and had the ability to seek out specific empowering effects. Its specialty is that the therapy techniques are able to offer forms of counseling that were created with a non-pathological and non-blaming nature in mind.

Many of the root origins surrounding the idea of narrative therapy come from a variety of different forms of psychotherapy. The primary elements that outlined the way narrative therapy were developed in many ways through specific topics that were written about by Michael White and David Epston. Both therapists believed and understood the importance of being able to separate people from their problems.

Three primary objectives were in mind when narrative therapy was being developed. These three components have been proven to create a strong foundation between the narrative therapist and the patient. This is critical in order for therapy to begin and on the right foot and is maintained in healthy and helpful ways.

The objectives include:

Non-Blaming

This is a crucial step during this process because it points out that there is absolutely no blame to be put on the patient as they begin working through their stories. All of this focus is then placed back to the efforts of identifying and making necessary changes to their personal stories that involve themselves and other loved ones.

Respect

When an individual decides to participate in narrative therapy practices, it should be understood that each patient is treated with the utmost respect and is taken seriously no matter their circumstances. The amount of bravery that it takes to make these initial steps and work through their personal challenges and difficulties is recognized, and each case is treated individually.

Client as Expert

Therapists who have taken the time to become certified as a narrative therapy counselor understand that it is not their responsibility to just give out advice to patients or that they have the authority to do so. Instead, they know that the best positive and favorable unique outcomes are achieved by collaborating with the patient on a personal level during all aspects of this therapeutic process.

How It Works

The basis for the process of narrative therapy suggests that people create stories throughout their entire lives. The stories are made subconsciously to help make sense of particular memories, events, or experiences, along with why and how they may have happened. These stories, of course, are a blend of negative and positive stories that have made some impact on the life of the patient.

Typically the stories that someone creates will also involve the following elements:

Across time

According to a Plot

Events

Linked in Sequence

There, of course, can be a number of contributing factors that can cause the creation of these types of stories. These factors play a significant role in the determination of how events or interactions are interpreted. This includes all of the different thoughts, feelings, and meanings attached to each of them.

A couple of these contributing factors have been seen to be:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexual identity
  • Age
  • Socioeconomic status

As these different components are contemplated, many people typically have specific thoughts and feelings about how they impact their lives. The opinions and emotions have been proven to shape how they might see themselves or what they may tell themselves about the specific event or experience.

How Narrative Therapy Can Help

Narrative therapy practices mainly focus on the dominant stories of the individuals that are getting in the way of them being able to live their best life and enjoy the many pleasures and luxuries that are usually included. Narrative therapists are trained to work with their patients to target these stories and explore the information and any possible strategies that may be necessary to overcome and correct these issues.

While working with your certified narrative therapy therapist, there will be a noticeable emphasis on separating you from the specific issues brought to attention. Doing this makes it easier to fully understand the room available for potential and that newer and better times are just around the corner.

Successful and positive outcome rates are most significant when the old and unhelpful thoughts and feelings that have been planted in pivotal parts of our stories at one time or another can be challenged and corrected.

Get Narrative Therapy in Mission Viejo

Whether you came here to get help for yourself or a loved one, our therapists and counselors at Southern California Sunrise Recovery Mental Health Center in Mission Viejo of Orange County would love to help.

View our What We Treat page to see some of the many disorders we have worked with. You can also see other services and therapeutic options on Our Program page.

Feel free to give us a call or send us a message with the contact form below anytime!

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