What is Narrative Therapy? The Pros and Cons

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Published Date|
October 7, 2023

What is Narrative Therapy? The Pros and Cons

Do you find yourself getting stuck in the same patterns over and over again?

It can be hard to change the stories you tell yourself about who you are and what happens in your life.

Here at KMA Therapy, we know it can be hard to find new meaning in old stories and memories - but narrative therapy can be a great way to find a new sense of purpose and identity.

After reading this article, you’ll know what narrative therapy is, its pros and cons, and how to know if it could be the right fit for you.

What is Narrative Therapy?

Narrative therapy is a type of experiential therapy that explores the stories you tell yourself about your life.

It separates your experiences from your identity, examines how you perceive other people’s reactions, and rewrites the story you tell yourself about your life.

It is a strengths-based type of therapy that helps you examine the narratives that shape your identity, and understand how these stories can influence your thoughts and behaviours.

Narrative therapy can help with issues including:

  • Grief
  • Past trauma
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sadness, stress, and anxiety
  • Confusion about your sense of purpose and goals

What Happens During Narrative Therapy?

During narrative therapy, you’ll collaborate with your therapist to explore the narratives you’ve constructed about your life and experiences.

There are 3 main steps in narrative therapy:

  1. Deconstructing stories - you’ll name a problem you’re facing, explore where it came from and its effects, and discovering new outcomes
  2. Re-authoring stories - you’ll explore new thoughts about your experiences and understand new meaning from them
  3. Remembering conversations - you’ll work with your therapist to purposefully remember the history of your relationships and how they fit into your identity

Your main focus will be on exploring narratives that make you feel limited or distressed, and figuring out where they came from.

Your therapist will help you to reframe and rewrite these narratives in an empowering way in order to help you reach your goals in therapy.

Pros of Narrative Therapy

If you feel like you repeat the same patterns over and over again, or there’s a theme in your life that you’re tired of experiencing, narrative therapy can be a helpful place to start.

Narrative therapy can be a great choice if you:

  • Want to explore and reshape the narratives that influence your life
  • Want to gain greater self-awareness and personal empowerment
  • Are willing to open up and enjoy self-reflection and collaboration

Cons of Narrative Therapy

While narrative therapy can be a great option, it’s not the right choice for everyone.

Narrative therapy may not be the right fit if:

  • You want a shorter-term approach to therapy
  • You’re looking for a structured, goal-oriented approach to therapy
  • You’re looking to address specific mental health symptoms in a direct way

Alternatives to Narrative Therapy

After learning about its pros and cons, you may be interested in exploring alternatives to narrative therapy.

Some alternatives to narrative therapy include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy

Next Steps for Narrative Therapy

After reading this article, you know what happens during narrative therapy and how to know if it could work for you.

Here at KMA Therapy, we are passionate about creating the best therapy plan for your unique challenges. This includes matching you with the best therapist for your goals and creating a customized treatment plan based on your needs.

We’ll work together to help you explore what type of therapy will work best for you.

Register today to get started.

To keep learning, check out these articles:

About the Author

Emily Weatherhead has a Masters in Community Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University, where her research focused on improving post-secondary student mental health. She is passionate about finding new ways to make mental health research more accessible and break down the barriers that prevent people from receiving mental health care.

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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