Narrative therapy was developed in the 1980’s by Michael White from Adelaide Australia and David Epston from Auckland New Zealand. Today, narrative therapy is considered to be a mainstream approach within the field of psychology around the world.
Narrative therapy is grounded in the belief that counselling works best in a collaborative, non-blaming, respectful, and non-pathologizeing therapeutic relationship. The narrative approach views presenting problems as separate from the person and that people have the capacity to change their relationship with the problem they bring to therapy. In addition, narrative work also gives value to the broader community context people live within, including class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.
From the narrative orientation, people are seen as experts in their own lives. Narrative therapists approach counselling from a place of genuine curiosity and a willingness to ask questions about the ways in which a person understands and relates to their presenting problem. The therapeutic process is collaborative and takes the form of a conversation directed at exploring the events or themes that often become “problem-focused.” Furthermore, it is with curiosity and openness that other unseen conversations or “preferred storylines” about a person’s intentions, hopes, values, and desires are invited in order to take a more present role in how people see themselves and their situation.