Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Scott T. Meier
Narrative therapy (NT) refers to a variety of approaches that focus on the role of language, particularly stories, in counseling. The central thesis of narrative therapy is that clients tell stories in therapy and these stories are useful in assessing and helping clients. Narrative therapy's broad explanatory power and useful therapeutic techniques have generated considerable interest among contemporary counseling psychologists. Narrative therapists maintain that people use stories to make sense of their life experiences. Stories form informal theories or maps of personal experiences and history. Narratives allow storage of large amounts of information, particularly information relevant to personal goals; they facilitate quick decision making; and they organize information about social interactions and experiences. Narratives provide important information about the speaker's worldview, as illustrated by the following examples. One writer might say “Language is the data of counseling” to explain the importance of narratives in counseling. By that the writer means ...