Narrative Therapy

What is Narrative Therapy?

micheal_white02david_epston01Narrative therapy has been introduced to the realm of theraoy in the mid-1980’s by two family therapists: Michael White from Adelaide, Australia and David Epston from Auckland, New Zealand. White and Epston’s (1990) classic, Narrative means to therapeutic ends, has now been translated into 8 languages and is ranked on the “On Line Mental Health” as the 21st “best seller in psychiatry”.

Some useful websites are:,, and

Narrative therapy is based on the notion that we generate stories in an effort to make sense of our lives and the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Many of the problematic stories that we hold about our lives and ourselves are shaped by the stories that are current in the wider social contexts in which we live. Through employing a linguistic practice called externalization, the narrative therapist separates the person from the problem and invites the person to investigate the problem and its effects. This practice relieves the person of the pressure of blame and defensiveness involved in being described as a being a problem and opens up an opportunity of having a relationship with the externalized problem. In this way, opportunities are created for the rediscovering of knowledges and skills that the person has overlooked in the face of the often overwhelming pressure of the problem-saturated story that brings them to therapy. Through conversations about these more hopeful parts of their lives, new meanings are shaped and new life options become available to people.