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What is Narrative Therapy?

What is narrative therapy? Learn about narrative therapy and decide if it’s the best treatment for improving mental wellness.

What is Narrative Therapy?

There are several types of therapies that can improve mental health. Narrative therapy may not be as commonly known as other approaches, but it can be very effective. 

Narrative therapy aims to help people become experts in their own lives. It encourages you to create stories based on your experiences that give meaning to those experiences. You can create many stories at once, including those regarding various aspects of your personality, work-life, professional life and more. 

When is Narrative Therapy Used?

Narrative therapy training is used to treat emotional disorders and conditions. It is helpful for people who feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts, emotions, and experiences. It helps them find their voice and use it to make positive changes in their own lives. Family narrative therapy, narrative group therapy, and narrative couples therapy are available.

What to Expect in Narrative Therapy?

Narrative therapy often begins with the therapist asking you to provide reasons you are seeking treatment. They will want to know your issues, how they affect your life and your narrative therapy goals. This will be the first step in sharing your story. 

After the therapist understands your situation, they will set an outline for what treatment will entail and how many sessions are needed. 

What Can Narrative Therapy Help With?

Narrative therapy counseling can help with various disorders and conditions.  These include the following cognitive issues. 


Anxiety is characterized by feelings of stress and fear that may have little or no underlying cause. Narrative therapy helps a person self-actualize their emotions to reduce irrational fears.

Attachment Issues

Attachment issues involve feelings of anxiety when a person is away from a particular place or person. Narrative approach therapy provides a person with the self-confidence they need to find strength in themselves.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

People with ADHD struggle to focus on everyday tasks. Narrative therapy has been shown to have a significant effect on reducing symptoms.1


A depression disorder is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness. Narrative therapy has been shown to yield a 53% improvement in 47 study participants that were treated.2

Eating Disorders

Narrative therapy is particularly effective for anorexia nervosa. It works to externalize and explore the eating disorder and aims to develop a healthier way of coping with negative feelings.3


People suffering from grief may benefit from narrative therapy exercises. It helps empower them in rewriting their story, it allows them to distance themselves from grief without complete avoidance and encourages them to retake control of their lives.4

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Narrative techniques have been beneficial in patients with PTSD. Narrative therapy for PTSD helps them distance themselves from their trauma while reducing associated symptoms of depression.

Benefits of Narrative Therapy

There are some pros and cons of narrative therapy, but it has shown to be beneficial overall. Here are some of the ways it can improve mental health.

  • Empowers the Individual: Narrative therapy training allows individuals to develop their storylines, putting them in charge of their destinations. This has an empowering effect.
  • Supportive: Narrative therapy can include narrative family therapy, narrative group therapy, and narrative couples therapy. These types of narrative techniques provide support for the patient. 
  • Non-Confrontational: Narrative therapy techniques do not blame the client or others as they work through their stories. They are encouraged to recognize and change negative stories and create new, positive ones to take their place.
  • The Client is Treated Like an Expert: Narrative therapy exercises make the patient an expert in their lives. This increases feelings of self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Context is Considered: When a patient uses narrative storytelling techniques, they provide a context for their issues to understand what guides their behaviors and how they can make changes for the better. 

How Does Narrative Therapy Cause Change?

Narrative therapy separates people from their problems to look at them objectively. They can recognize negative behaviors and thought patterns and learn how to change them. The techniques put them in charge of their destinies so they can see their skills and expertise and increase their self-esteem.

Concerns/Limitations of Narrative Therapy

While narrative therapy has many strengths, it comes with its share of concerns and limitations. Here are some to consider:

Little Scientific Proof of Effectiveness

Benefits of narrative therapy have often been challenged because there is little scientific proof to back its effectiveness. Some experts also critique that it assumes that there are no absolute truths in life.

It’s Not for Everyone

Narrative therapy counseling may not be recommended for people dealing with trauma that limits their intellectual, cognitive, or language skills. 

How Effective is Narrative Therapy?

Although narrative therapy effectiveness has been challenged, it has shown to be beneficial in the following studies: 

  • One study showed that adults with anxiety and depression experienced reduced symptoms after narrative therapy counseling.
  • One study revealed that a narrative therapist helped children improve social skills, empathy, and decision-making.
  • A research review found evidence that married women who enrolled in narrative couples therapy became happier in their marriages. 
Narrative Therapy Effectiveness

Opportunity for Narrative Therapy at Anew Treatment Center

Many facilities offer narrative therapy intervention, but it’s essential to find one right for you. You must consider the environment, the staff, and the quality of treatment. After doing some research, you will find that Anew Treatment Center checks off all the boxes. 

Anew Treatment Center takes a customized approach ensuring each of our patients gets the personalized care they need. We provide a relaxing environment and top-notch staff. We offer treatment for a wide variety of mental issues. 

Mental disorders are not easy to deal with. Anew Treatment Center can help you make it through. Contact us for the comprehensive care you need to improve your quality of life. 

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