INTRODUCTION Narrative Therapy was developed by Michael White and David Epston. Its central ideas are: 1.The person never is the problem. The person has a problem. 2.Every person is the author of his life-story and thus of his identity A problem is something you have, not something you are. You dont have to change your nature. You just have to fight the influence of the problem on your life. All of us select from the huge amount of information the world throws at us all the time. We need to organise what we see, hear, feel and remember into a meaningful story or picture. This always introduces biases: we notice and remember things we find interesting, important, and in line with our beliefs, expectations and prejudices. We ignore, forget or play down things that are contrary to the way we see the world. So, things we notice and remember tend to confirm and strengthen our story about ourselves and our world. This is how we create our identity(the way we perceive ourselves which afterwards makes us act as to live up to our image of ourselves). This is fine for most people, because they live reasonably happily within their world. Problems arise when a person is stuck in a story that makes him/her, or others, unhappy. Examples are stories involving beliefs like: - "I am a violent person (and cant help it)". - "I am no good, useless, have no worth, no-one could possibly love me." - "The world is a terribly dangerous place and I am helpless in the face of its threats." They all involve the belief that "there is something wrong with me". CHAPTER 1.-A SHORT DEFINITION OF NARRATIVE THERAPY Narrative therapy is a search for events which prove these beliefs to be false. There are always exceptions: events that occurred, but didnt fit the story, so were ignored, played down or forgotten. They can be used to "write a new story", one that separates the problem from the way the person sees himself/herself. Once the problem is found and named, it can be fought. In the process, the person does not have to change. S/he discovers a past, an identity, that was always there, but hidden by the biases of the previous story. The new story liberates the person from the problem,by offering a new and improved identity. The term narrative implies listening to and telling or retelling stories about people and the problems in their lives. In the face of serious and sometimes potentially deadly problems, the idea of hearing or telling stories may seem a trivial pursuit. It is hard to believe that conversations can shape new realities. But they do. The bridges of meaning we build with people help healing developments flourish instead of be forgotten. Language can shape events into narratives of hope. Stories guide how people act, think, feel, and make sense of new experience. Stories organize the information from a person's life. Narrative therapy focuses on how these important stories can get written and re-written.
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