“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today” – Robert McKee
What is Narrative Therapy?
Narrative therapy is a medium for self-reflection and growth through stories or narratives (hence the name). The general idea is to change your perspective on your life by the way you tell your story. Every event that happens can be told from a positive, negative, or neutral lens. For example, let’s say you are suffering from depression. What is the story you are telling yourself about your depression? Are you telling yourself that there is something wrong with you and that you will feel depressed for the rest of your life? How does that story make you feel? Typing that out made me feel hopeless and sad. This is how the stories we tell ourselves about our life impact how we feel.
Externalizing our Problem
What if I told myself a different story about my depression? What if my depression was not a part of me, but instead an evil entity that dwells inside me. I can even give it a name, such as The Dark Voyager. Sometimes The Dark Voyageris not inside me. Those are my good days. Whether The Dark Voyageris with me today or not, there is definitely nothing wrong with me. If anything, I am strong person for endearing The Dark Voyager’s poison. This is strength-based narrative that allows me to feel proud of my level of resilience to the depression I am facing.
The story that you tell about your life does not have to be clever. You are not trying to win a creative writing contest. You don’t need characters, such as The Dark Voyager. You can start with a very simple template, such as “my past, my present, my future.” Here is a link to a free template online:
Everyone has a story so don’t tell yourself that you don’t. If you tell yourself that your story is dull and boring, then you are formulating a negative narrative, which once again, will make you feel sad about your life. Regardless of how much you believe your life is mediocre and not worth telling a story about, the truth is, it’s not! We have all had formative experiences that have shaped us into the people we are today and those experiences are worth sharing and talking about from a strength-based perspective.