What is Narrative Family Therapy & What does it Do?

family piling hands on top of eachother

As we go through different situations and events in our lives, we give meaning to them. These situations may involve a traumatic event, an argument with a family member, etc. We replay these events in our heads so much that they become stories that are cemented into our brains. These stories may begin to influence how we see ourselves and the world. When we carry these stories and experiences with us, it may impact our self esteem and mental health. 

But there are ways to combat these stories and take charge of our own narrative. By participating in what is known as Narrative Family Therapy, people can learn how to dissect their own stories so they can begin to heal and move on from negative memories. This method of therapy helps people rewrite their stories, build better relationships, and understand their worth.

What Is Narrative Family Therapy?

Narrative Therapy is a very in-depth type of therapy that focuses on the stories we develop and carry throughout our lives. It gives participants the power to separate themselves from their problems and become experts in their own lives.

This kind of therapy can be helpful for individuals and couples, but it can be especially beneficial for families. In Narrative Family Therapy, clients can see their story from another lens and understand different perspectives.

Narrative Family Therapy method puts an emphasis on respect, non-blaming, and making the clients the expert instead of the therapist. This way, clients feel empowered and in control.

How Narrative Family Therapy Works

During the first session, a therapist will typically ask you to begin sharing your story. After that, they may want you to tell more positive stories from your life to help you understand some of your inherent traits that can be used to address the problems you’re facing.

From there, the therapist will use a variety of techniques to help clients get through and move past troubling stories. One of those techniques is making clients an observer in their own story so that they can analyze this memory. This helps people explore the meaning they may have placed behind certain events. Therapists may also encourage what is called “externalization,” which involves the client putting together the story of their lives from an outside perspective. This can help create distance between participants and their problems while allowing them to focus on changing any unwanted thoughts or behaviors.

Another technique is asking the client to break their story down into smaller, more approachable parts. This could give them clarity that they didn’t have when they looked at the situation from a big-picture point of view. And finally, the therapist may ask their clients to consider alternative outcomes to the stories that they’re carrying. Doing this may help people begin to feel unstuck.

Who Could Benefit From Narrative Family Therapy?

Narrative Family Therapy has the potential to eliminate anxious thoughts and improve a person’s overall quality of life. It Is especially helpful for individuals and families who:

  • Struggle with the effects of mental health conditions like anxiety, ADHD, depression, attachment issues, eating disorders, grief, and PTSD
  • Feel overwhelmed by negative experiences or thoughts
  • Are trying to get past a problematic event or memory

If you think you or your family could benefit from Narrative Therapy, there’s never a wrong time to start exploring your options. Many therapists throughout the country are trained in this method and are able to offer it to individuals, couples, and families. There are many online resources available to help you find a therapist that specializes in Narrative Family Therapy.

Have any questions about Narrative Family Therapy or other group therapy models? Our experienced mental health treatment representatives are always available to answer your questions and help you figure out which route is right for you. Give us a call at 866-552-3758 or email us at contact@eliumhealth.com for more information.




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