Narrative Therapy Techniques (A Comprehensive Guide)

Narrative therapy is a way of a mental health cure that undo a person from their problems.

It helps out people to rely on their inner ability and use emotional gear to reduce the troubles in their lives.

The idea behind this therapy is that our life is a long story or a narrative and that we present our lives sense from beginning to end the little stories that continue living within them: the short scenes that take place inside the larger story. In this article, we will discuss narrative therapy techniques. 

Narrative therapy considers that storytelling is persuasive and that through telling stories of our lives, we find out the significance of our life.

We act this by calling ourselves the “narrator” or ‘storyteller ‘of our own lives. At times the story has monotonous subject matter.

When you go to see a narrative therapist, they can help you to identify specific persistent ideas in your life.

You don’t have to keep appealing in the same guide any longer. That’s where narrative therapy can facilitate.

It is time for you to modify the story of your life and rephrase it.

Narrative therapy is a psychosomatic approach that asks for to alter the narrative one tells about one’s own life in order to bring about optimistic alteration and improved mental health.

It believes people are professionals in their individual lives and observes them as detached from their problems.

Narrative therapy was first developed by social worker Michael White and a family therapist David Epston in the 1980s.

Three Components of Narrative Therapy:

White and Epston proposed narrative therapy to be a non-pathologizing type of therapy based on the subsequent three components:

  1. Narrative therapy respects every client. 

A person who goes through narrative therapy will get respect from their therapist. They are there to work all through their troubles, but they are not a problem.

Sometimes, people resist screening themselves as “broken down” or “messed up.” One of the best parts of narrative therapy is that you are functioning hard to value yourself and cut off these pessimistic insights of you from yourself.

Your psychotherapist facilitates you with optimistically analyzing yourself by making out you as an individual being.

Everybody goes all the way through hard times, and that does not make you imperfect, it means you’re an individual being.

  1. Narrative therapy does not make clients responsible for their problems. 

When things go erroneous, it is easy to hold responsible for others. But that act does not help you out. In narrative therapy, the client does not get responsible for their troubles, nor do they place guilt on other people.

They distinguish the stories within their lives and give attention to acknowledging their story and functioning vigorously to modify abnormal behaviors and feelings.

Blaming is not supportive as it focuses on a human being rather than the difficulty. Relatively placing guilt on a person, narrative therapy helps the client to focus on the problem itself.

They can come across the issues and begin to discover substitute behaviors to control them. You tell your psychologist what the trouble is, and if you are annoyed that you can’t appear to explain it, that’s okay.

But they are going away to show you that blaming doesn’t work. It only makes the problem feel more without a solution.

  1. Narrative therapy observes clients as experts in their own lives. 

In various other kinds of therapy, the client approaches the therapist in quest of guidance. They view their therapist as a professional in the field. Counselors are human beings.

They have a degree in psychology, but they also have errors and make blunders. An important characteristic of narrative therapy is that the client gets to be a specialist because you know the story of your own life.

You can acquaint with it because you’ve lived it. What a narrative therapist does is to support and demonstrate what could be aching prototypes.

As an author of your own story, you get to construct the closing verdict.

Most likely person-centered therapy, in narrative therapy, the counselor doesn’t vision themselves as an authority figure or while they’re above the client in some way.

It’s a joint process in which the client gets to know who they are.

They are telling their story, and the therapist is leading them along the way despite the fact that helping and assisting them through the process.

The basis of narrative therapy is that reality is a public construct and our relations with other people manipulate what we see as “genuine.”

People take to mean their connections with others, and that’s their insight of reality. There’s no curious reality; your observation is your reality and what might be right for one person won’t essentially be true for someone else.

There is no objective reality. Instead, it is subjective.

Narrative therapy sets out the proposal that we can create logic in our lives by telling our stories.

Narrative psychotherapist believes people’s individuality is formed by the stories they tell about their lives.

When those stories become well focused on particular problems, the person frequently begins to observe the problem as an intrinsic component of them.

But, narrative therapy analyzes people’s problems as exterior to the individual and looks for ways to alter the narratives people tell about themselves in ways that allow them to see their problems this way too.

Narrative therapy’s perspective is pretty different from many other types of therapy in which the counselor takes the lead.

It can be rough and take a lot of practice for clients to effectively detach themselves from their problems.

Narrative Therapy Techniques (A Comprehensive Guide)

How Narrative Therapy Helps:

By focusing on the lived experiences and stories within a person’s life, narrative therapy breaks up an individual from their problems. It also facilitates people to see that they can rephrase their stories at any time.

It illustrates that their story is always developing and varying and that they are the author of their story.

A qualified narrative therapist helps people to be inquisitive and discover diverse fundamentals of their story.

They assist clients to confront themselves and observe that they can modify; that even in circumstances where a person does not have to be completely organized, the person can still decide how they control it.

Narrative therapy is based on the following beliefs:

  1. Reality is socially constructed:

 The process of interaction with others affects how we encounter reality. These experiences with others turn out to be our acknowledged reality.

  1. Reality is communicated through language: 

People understand experiences through language and can have different explanations of the same occasion or dealings.

  1. Having a narrative can aid us to sustain and categorize our reality: 

The progress of a story or narrative can help us to make logic of our understanding.

  1. There is no “objective reality”: 

People can have different dashes of realism of the same occurrence. What might be right for us may not be accurate for someone else?

Narrative therapy proposes that we generate stories all the way through our lives as a way to make logic of our understanding and we can take many stories with us at one time.

Even though some stories are optimistic and some are pessimistic.

All stories impact our lives in the past, present, and future.

As described in narrative therapy, stories engage the following four basic elements functioning together:

  • Occasions
  • Associated in order
  • Across time
  • According to a plot

There can be several features that contribute to the progress of our stories. These features manipulate how we understand events or relations, as well as the implications we connect to them.

Some of the features include:

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

We hold several stories with us at one time, such as stories about our affairs, our professional lives, our flaws, our strengths, our objectives etc.

Narrative therapy gives emphasis to the investigation of these stories, as they can have a considerable power on our decision-making and performance.

Narrative Therapy Techniques:

Narrative therapy techniques are believed that telling one’s story is a type of action in the direction of change.

The process of narrative therapy techniques may include:

  • Helping people objectify their problems
  • Surrounding the problems within a larger socio-cultural framework
  • Training the person how to make space for other stories

There are a variety of narrative therapy techniques and training used in narrative therapy to help people cure and move past a challenging story.

Some of the most commonly used narrative therapy techniques include:

  1. Putting Together the Narrative:

One of the primary narrative therapy techniques in narrative therapy is that a narrative therapist would facilitate their client to start putting together their narrative or story.

In doing this, we are capable of discovering our voice and search actions in our lives and the significance we have placed on these familiarities and, as a result, on ourselves.

Some people might not be conscious of a fussy story that has pursued them through their life, but know that something keeps them from living an excellent life or building good decisions for themselves.

As their story is put collectively, the person becomes an eyewitness to their story and looks at it with the counselor, functioning to recognize the main and challenging story.

  1. Externalization:

While we are using our voice to collectively tell our story, we are attractive observers of ourselves.

We use this work out to generate space between us and our problems, this type of narrative therapy techniques is called externalization.

When we have this space between ourselves and our problems, we can well focus on altering unnecessary behaviors rather than feeling ourselves, which is the problem.

As we put ourselves into practice externalization, we get a possibility to perceive that we are able to alteration and begin feeling empowered to work toward curing.

  1. Deconstruction

Another one of the narrative therapy techniques is deconstruction. Deconstruction is used to facilitate people to achieve clearness in their stories.

There are times when our main story can experience big and overpowering as if we can not at all get out from under it.

When a difficult story in our life feels like it has been around for a long period of time, we may use general statements and turn out to be baffled in our own stories.

A narrative counselor would work with us to smash down our story into lesser parts, to help us make clear our problem and help it become more sociable.

  1. Unique Outcomes

One of the narrative therapy techniques is unique outcomes.

When our story feels concrete, as if it could never change, any idea of alternative stories goes out the window.

We can become very stuck in our story and allow it to influence several areas of our lives, impacting our decision making, our behaviors, our experiences, and our relationships.

A narrative therapist works to help us to not only challenge our problems but to widen our view by considering alternative stories.

They might help us to explore the information we have been carrying with us for a long time but have never allowed having any value.

This information can help us develop a new, healthy story of who we are, what we want, and who we want to become.

  1. Existentialism: 

Existentialism is one of the narrative therapy techniques. Existentialism is not a miserable and discouraging observation of a world without any significance.

In general, existentialists consider a world with no intrinsic meaning; if there is no specified meaning, then people can produce their own meaning.

In this method, existentialism and narrative therapy go hand in hand. Narrative therapy encourages persons to find their meaning and rationale relatively than investigate for an unlimited truth that does not essentially vibrate for them.

FAQs about narrative therapy techniques

Who can benefit from narrative therapy techniques?

Because of its non blaming, interactive, and even playful approach, Narrative Therapy Techniques can be particularly helpful with children or people who didn’t feel like other counselors “worked.” 

Narrative Therapy Techniques can help people who are dealing with the following problems or concerns: Depression or sadness. Bipolar disorder.

What are the limitations of narrative therapy techniques?

Another limitation of narrative therapy techniques is that it’s too complicated!

The fact that it’s based on postmodernism’s complex philosophical ideas means that clients may struggle to understand the rationale for this approach and what makes it effective

How does change occur in narrative therapy?

Narrative therapy suggests that change happens by paying close attention in therapy to “unique outcomes,” which are narrative details outside the main story (White & Epston, 1990). … In accordance with the theory, results suggest that innovative moments are important to therapeutic change.

What are the elements of the narrative?

A narrative is a literary work that involves the retelling of a story.

To develop an effective narrative essay, paper, poem, or book, you need to include several common narrative elements.

These elements include the main theme of the story, characters, plot, and setting.


19 Narrative Therapy Techniques, Interventions + Worksheets [PDF] by  Courtney E. Ackerman (2020)

What Is Narrative Therapy? Definition and Techniques by Cynthia Vinney (2019)

Four Narrative Therapy Techniques That Can Change Your Perception Of Self by  Jessica Anderson (2020)

Narrative Therapy Overview by  Jodi Clarke (2020)