Narrative Therapy


Narrative Therapy Technique, Interventions

Definitions in Narrative Therapy

Reference: How Narrative Therapy Principles Inform Practice for Therapists and Helping Professionals


Deconstruction (Personal, Day-to-Day)

People’s day-to-day activities can support problems and impact their ability to live their preferred lives. Routines can have an impact at a physical level. The practitioner can ask questions that help the person identify the effects of day-to-day routines, so the person is in a position to take action.

Deconstruction (Societal and Cultural)

People’s identities and experiences are shaped by society and culture. Often taken for granted as assumptions, society and culture’s meanings and norms influence people in ways that they are aware of and in ways they are not. These meanings and norms can both support problems or help a person stand up to problems. The clinician can ask questions that identify and expose these meanings and norms so that the person can take an active position regarding them. This awareness influences actions that help the person develop his or her preferred ways of living.

Identity Proclamation

People do not live in vacuums; their identities are influenced by their relationships to others. Relationships can both support the problem and/or support people to claim what they desire. Practitioners can ask questions that expose these relationships, allowing people to either decrease the influence of those voices that support problems or magnify voices that support what they prefer.


People’s identities are made of events and meanings that are acquired through experience and relationships and within a cultural context. Exceptions to problems can be supported and strengthened by asking questions that connect them to the person’s identity. The resulting effect is the diminishing influence of the problem stories.

Narrative Metaphor

People make meaning of events in their lives through story. The stories they tell impact how they view their past, present, and future. These stories can be reauthored to become preferred stories, using the components that comprise a story, such as action, time, sequence, plot, context, relationships, and cultural and societal influence.

Personal Agency

The practitioner respects the person’s ability to make life decisions, determining what is a problem and what is desired. The practitioner actively seeks and tracks these determinations and presents them back to the person, while the person discusses their past, present, and future.


The person is the expert, not the practitioner. Curiosity defines the person–practitioner relationship as the practitioner actively inquires about how the person makes meaning of his or her life. The interviewer is active, not passive, about attending to what the person defines as preferred and asks questions that help identify how problems interfere with the person’s life.


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