Narrative Therapy Questions (Complete overview)

Narrative Therapy Questions

This blog will discuss about Narrative Therapy Questions and what is Narrative Therapy.

Then it will focus on the types of Narrative therapies. Then it will highlight Narrative therapy exercises and finally some questions of Narrative Therapy.

NARRATIVE THERAPY QUESTIONS:

Narrative Therapy questions are questions that help the patients to elaborate their point of the story in such a way that it helps the therapist to identify the root cause and ultimately helps in the healing process.

It is a lengthy process and sometimes takes more than 4-5 sessions.

Narrative Therapy Questions (Complete overview)

What is Narrative Therapy?

Narrative Therapy is a form of therapy that helps the individual to allow letting go of his negative emotions and eventually helps him to separate from the problem.

It totally depends on the individual’s own skills and sense of purpose to help him through tough times.

Narrative Therapy was first developed in the 1980s by Michael White and David Epston.

They believed that separating a person from the main problematic behavior was the main focus of treatment.

White and Epston grounded this therapeutic model in three main approaches- Narrative Therapy is respectful, non-blaming and views the client as the expert.

Narrative therapy approaches assume that people have skills, values, commitments, and abilities that ultimately assist in reducing the problems from their lives.

It involves ways of understanding the stories of people’s lives and in making ways for the therapist to collaborate with the people whose lives are being discussed.

It is the way of working in the broader context that is affecting people’s lives, and the ethics of the work. Different people engage with these themes in their own ways.

Narrative therapy respects the dignity of every client and it requires each client to be treated as an individual who is not deficient, not defective, or not “enough” in any way.

In this therapy, neither clients nor others are blamed for any of their problems.

In this therapy the therapist is not above the client in any way, it is obvious that the client is the expert in his own life and both the parties work in collaboration and are expected to go forth with this understanding.

TYPES OF NARRATIVE THERAPY TECHNIQUES:

The most common tools of Narrative techniques are:

  1. Telling One’s Story:

A therapist while using the Narrative technique tries to help the client find his own voice and tell his story in his own words.

In this technique storytelling is the technique used in order to find meaning and purpose in the overall experience. Helping the client to develop their own story gives an opportunity to discover meaning.

This technique is also known as “re-authoring” or “re-storying”, as clients explore their experiences to find different alterations in their stories or make a whole new one. 

  1. Externalization Technique:

This technique leads our client towards viewing one’s problems or behaviors as an external, rather unchangeable parts of themselves.

This technique can have a huge amount of positive impacts on self-confidence and self-esteem. This technique focuses on the idea that it is easy to change a behavior we do than to change the whole personality.

This might be challenging for the client at first to understand the idea but the therapist has to encourage the client to not think too much about the diagnosis or self-assigned labels and let them know that how empowering it can be to separate themselves from their problem and allowing to achieve the degree of control in their identity.

Narrative Therapy Questions (Complete overview)
  1. Deconstruction Technique:

This refers to reducing the problems of the client and making it easier to understand the whole scenario. No matter how hard and complicated the problem looks like, it can be solved.

Deconstructing reduce overgeneralization and makes the issue more specific and it also clarifies what the core issues are.

Deconstructing the problem helps people in understanding what the root of the problems are and what this means to them.

It is an excellent way of helping the client to focus on the problem and understand the stressful event or pattern in their lives.

  1. Existentialism: 

Existentialism and narrative therapy go hand in hand, existentialists, in general, believe in a world with no inherent meaning; if there is no given meaning, then people can create their own meaning

NARRATIVE THERAPY EXERCISES AND INTERVENTIONS:

Narrative therapy is more like a question-answer of dialogue-based therapy, there are some exercises and interventions and few of these are described below:

  1. My Life Story:

It is one of the basic therapeutic exercises in narrative therapy- to find meaning and healing through telling stories.

This exercise is all about sharing own story and all one needs is pen or pencil and paper.

The whole sole intention of this exercise is to separate oneself from our past and gain a broader perspective in our lives.

First, the client have to write the title of the story, in the next section, at least 6-7 chapters should be there reflecting one’s own personality and the storyline, of course, the chapter description should be wise and should reflect the end or motive of the chapter.

Next, he needs to add the final chapter along with the description and the future to behold.

This exercise will help in organizing the thoughts and beliefs, and it eventually distinguishes between past, present and future and how one needs to differentiate all the three.

  1. Expressive Arts:

This intervention is useful both with kids and adults as well.

We all have different methods of telling our stories and using art is an innovative idea merged with the technique.

Every individual has a hidden artist inside and to take advantage of this expressive and creative way to tell one’s stories, there are different artistic methods- 

  • Meditation- It includes mindfulness meditation, guided meditations and can be effective in exploring a problem
  • Keeping a journal- This might sound familiar to the people who use CBT but the Narrative technique also uses journal writing. Writing helps in letting out all the hidden emotions and anger per se. This can be difficult at first but can be very helpful ones the technique has been mastered with.
  • Draw: It is another intervention techniques in depicting the problems impacting on our experience, one can use skills to draw or paint the effects of the problem. Abstract shapes do wonders with different colors letting out different emotions of the self.
  • Visualization: It helps in imagining how one’s life would be in the coming week, month or year both with the problem and without the problem and then he needs to discuss it with the partner or a therapist in order to reflect it in his journal.
  • Practice mindful observation to see what changes take place when one problem takes hold, then it develops a transitional movement that begins to shake the problems. Finally, transition into a “liberation movement” how to escape the problem takes place.

EXAMPLES OF NARRATIVE THERAPY QUESTIONS:

These questions can be useful for conducting Narrative Therapy-

  1. How long have you been noticing this problem?
  2. What effect does the problem have on your life?
  3. How does the problem impact on your energy for daily tasks?
  4. Does this problem have an impact on your relationship with other family members?
  5. What effects does [problem] have on your child’s life?
  6. What do you think about the effects [problem] is having on your life?
  7. Are these effects acceptable to you or not?
  8. How would you prefer things to be?
  9. If you were to stay connected to what you have just said about what you prefer, what next steps could you take? (Muller)

Some other examples of questions to ask while moving forward towards the narrative story are-

  1. Enabling Openings
    Can you describe the last time you managed to get free of the problem for a couple of minutes? What was the first thing you noticed in those few minutes? What was the next thing?
  2. Linking Openings with Preferred Experience Would you like more minutes like these in your life?
  3. Moving from Openings to Alternative Story Development. What was each of you thinking/feeling/doing/wishing/imagining during those few minutes?
  4. Broadening the Viewpoint. What might your friend have noticed about you if she had met up with you in those few minutes?
  5. Exploring Landscapes of Consciousness. What have you learned about what you can manage from those few minutes?
  6. Linking with the Exceptions in the Past. Tell me about times when you have managed to achieve a similar few minutes in the past?
  7. Linking Exceptions from the Past with the Present. When you think about those times in the past when you have achieved this, how might this alter your view of the problem now?
  8. Linking Exceptions from the Past with the Future. Thinking about this now, what do you expect to do next?

CONCLUSION:

This blog discussed about Narrative Therapy Questions and what is Narrative Therapy. Then it focussed on the types of Narrative therapies.

Then it highlighted Narrative therapy exercises and finally some questions of Narrative Therapy.

Feel free to comment below or leave a suggestion, we would appreciate it.

FAQ:

What is a narrative question?

A narrative question is what a therapist asks the client in order to focus on the root cause of the problems.

Is narrative therapy evidence-based?

Yes, Narrative Therapy is evidence-based therapy.

CITATIONS:

Dulwichcentre.com

Positivepsychology.com

Narrativepractices.com

Narrative Therapy Questions (Complete overview)

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.