Narrative Therapy: The Collaborative Language Systems Approach Essay

Narrative Therapy: The Collaborative Language Systems Approach Essay

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Narrative Therapy: The Collaborative Language Systems Approach

• Narrative therapy is a philosophical mindset in which individuals approach therapy and being in the world.
• Main developers of this approach: Michael White, David Epson, Harry Goolishian and Harlene Anderson, Houston Galveston Institute
• Premise I: Narrative Therapy is a collaborative language systems approach, where language and conversation are the core concepts. These core concepts are rooted in the postmodernist interpretive perspective, which includes contemporary hermeneutics and social constructionism. The approach emphasizes meaning as an intersubjective phenomenon, created and experienced by individuals in conversation and action with others and themselves. Human reality is created through social construction and dialogue. Human systems are language-and-meaning-generating systems, meaning is thus created through interaction with others.

• Origin of Client Problems:
• Lives and identities of individuals and clients are constituted and shaped by three sets of factors:
1. The meaning people give to their experiences or the stories they tell themselves about themselves
2. The language practices that people are recruited into along with the type of words they use to story their lives.
3. The situation people occupy in social structures in which they participate and the power relations entailed by these.
• Within the narrative frame, problems are viewed as arising from and being maintained by oppressive stories, which dominate the person’s life. Problems occur when the way in which peoples’ lives are storied by themselves and others does not significantly fit with their lived experience. In fact, significant aspects of their lived experience may con...

... middle of paper ...

...ferred view of yourself as a person, what would you see?
- All the explorations of the future use tentative language, i.e. what if, suppose you were to, what would you… This is a language of possibilities rather than predefined certainties.
• Invite significant members of the person’s social network to witness this new self-narrative
• Document new knowledge and practices which support the new self-narrative using literary means.
• Let others who are trapped by similar oppressive narratives benefit from their new knowledge through bringing-it-back practices

Anderson, H. On a roller coaster: A collaborative language systems approach to therapy. In the book: Reflexive Conversations. (sorry, don’t have full reference, will provide upon request).
Carr, Alan (1998). Michael White’s narrative therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy, 20 (4), 485-501.

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