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Family Counseling Approach: Narrative Counseling Essay

3252 words - 14 pages

Through narrative therapy a counselor can help clients gain access to preferred story lines about their lives and identities taking the place of previous negative and self-defeating narratives that destroy the self. Presented in this paper, is an overview of the Narrative therapy and the Social Construction Model and several facets of this approach including poststrucuralism, deconstructionism, self-narratives, cultural narratives, therapeutic conversations, ceremonies, letters and leagues. A personal integration of faith in this family counseling approach is presented and discussed also in this paper.

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Stories “about ourselves, our abilities, our competencies, our actions, our relationships, our achievements, and our failures” (p. 365) explain actions and dominant stories impact future lives.
Families frequently construct negative stories and self-defeating narratives about their lives and give justification on why they are unable to do things differently. In order for change to take place, clients need to learn to consider alternate ways of examining assumptions, values and meanings of life experiences that dominate views of themselves and their problems (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008). Through narrative approaches the clients will constantly change and reshape their future story lines. The therapists join families to explore more rewarding options for living their lives. In therapy, conversations are exchanged in a non-confrontational, non-blaming way. Clients are the experts in their own lives with skills to construct more positive stories (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008). When new outlooks are explored, new ways of behaving are developed. Different meanings can be drawn from the same event. If the event is changed and broken down, and the meaning is altered, a new interpretation of the event can take place, thereby replacing an old negative view. A new story that is dominant can reshape a person’s attitudes, outlook and future behavior (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008).
The main activity in narrative therapy is to repair the client’s life story (Rennie, 1994). The analysis of the study revealed that storytelling is a primary way of dealing with an inner disturbance. Clients may use a story to delay an entry when preparing to enter a disturbance. They may tell a story as a way of managing their beliefs associated with the disturbance. Once engaged in storytelling, they frequently reconnect with the disturbance whether they intend to or not. Understanding what is going on when a client tells a story is not easy for the therapist, but there is usually more going on that is being told according to Rennie (1994). Storytelling and narrative usage prove to be successful and useful in psychotherapy practices (Rennie, 1994). Narrative therapy emerged from postconstructuralism and deconstruction (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008). Poststructural thought disagrees with the idea that there is a deep structure to all phenomena which can be broken down into its elements (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008).
Therapy must look for deep, underlying causes, repair the flaw and not be satisfied with simply reducing or eliminating symptoms. Deconstructing old notions and replacing them with possibilities reduces the power of the stories that dominate and are filled with problems (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2009). The stories are given thick descriptions rather than thin descriptions and the new story of a client’s life is connected to future options.
According to Angus & Hardtke (2001) NPCS (Narrative Process Coding System) helped narrative...

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