Feature by Nikita Fernandes
Narrative Therapy has emerged as one of the most powerful types of therapy to support minority communities. It has gained popularity in 2022 along with the rise of movements such as the Black Lives Matter and the focus on mental health after the pandemic. Narrative therapy is relatively new. It was developed in the 1980's by Michael White, an Australian social worker, and David Epston, a family therapist from New Zealand. It gained traction in the United States in the 1990's.
Narrative therapy is a nonpathologizing, empowering and collaborative experience for clients who hold minority identities. The empowering nature of this therapy can be experienced through nudging clients to reframe their past experiences, gain control over their present and shape a better future. Narrative therapy uses prompts to have client reflect over the stories they tell themselves about their life. For example, a therapist might ask a client to write about their past struggles and highlight what helped keep them afloat. This strengths based approach can help remind clients that they are much more resilient than they believe.
When clients dive into their stories, they discover a rich treasure trove of true aspirations, beliefs, objectives, and abilities, independent of their challenges. In creating distance from a distressing event, they are able to almost step back and see the whole picture. So go ahead and ask yourself, are you the hero of your own story?
Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, LMHC