More about me… and the work I do
Co-creating a more preferred life with and for you
More about my style of doing therapy
Counseling style is a term that refers to the way a therapist interacts with his clients to facilitate change. And it is about more than just aligning yourself with a specific theory of therapy. It is about taking your theoretical knowledge and blending it with your personality.
As I worked on my therapeutic style, I considered my personality, strengths and weaknesses, potential, preferences, and goals with therapy. Eventually, I found myself drawn to and at home in the narrative style of counseling. And for a specific reason:
The assumption of narrative therapy is that I have the counseling skills, but you are the EXPERT in your life! Narrative counseling is a unique approach that places your experience in a central position of importance and works with the following focus:
- We all create stories of our lives and tend to live accordingly. These stories constitute the guidelines for how we live. They shape how we think and act and how we make sense of ourselves and the world around us.
- Our experiences, circumstances, environment, community, and culture have influenced our stories about ourselves.
- Our stories are always based on SELECTED events—they are never complete.
- We all have some key stories about ourselves that are deeply ingrained.
- We try to fit our experiences (new and different) into the stories we already have.
- When our experience does not fit comfortably into the existing stories, they become a filter. Consequently, they can close our eyes to feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that don’t fit our stories.
- We don’t have to passively accept the stories we have created and lived with or which were imposed upon us. Our stories may not reflect and contain the full spectrum of what we prefer and are capable of. There are always other and richer stories about us, the world, and the people around us that the current stories might silence. When we are empowered to access these alternative stories, we might be able to create new meanings about ourselves and discover unique and preferred ways of living.
- there is always material for new stories we have yet to tell ourselves or others. These stories often free and empower us to think and act in new, more helpful ways.
- Narrative Therapy uses the stories people bring about themselves and their lives to reshape new lenses, stories, experiences, and futures. It is the role of the counselor/psychologist to help you look at your stories/life in ways that help you “author” new stories and “re-author” old ones.
- These new stories can have remarkably healing effects.
The narrative approach uses our life stories as the key to healing or growth. In the face of severe and sometimes potentially deadly problems, the idea of hearing or telling stories may seem a trivial pursuit. It is hard to believe that conversations can shape new realities. But they do. And they help to shape events into narratives/stories of hope.
Getting unstuck by separating the person from the Problem…
Often, when people see a counselor, their life experiences are dominated by problem stories (for example, stories of ‘failure,’ self-blame, a deficiency in something, etc.). Narrative counselors look for exceptions to problem-dominated stories because these exceptions are entry points into alternative stories (for example, stories of survival, resilience, resistance, coping or managing, etc.). Although we sometimes reduce our experience to a few words (e.g. ‘I’m a failure at relationships’), other stories can and do exist. Counseling conversations can assist us in discovering alternative ways of understanding our lives and recovering lost or forgotten experiences of ourselves. Narrative counselors possess technical skills that they can use to investigate a range of problems, and these kinds of counseling conversations can even be quite enjoyable!
The way we usually talk in psychology, churches, the medical profession, courts, schools, the workplace, and the rest of our daily lives tends to glue the person and the Problem together. Talk such as: ‘They are the depressed spouse,’ or ‘They are a dysfunctional family,’ or ‘She/he is a problem child,’ or ‘They are the Problem in the organization, are accepted ways of speech as common to kitchens as to the boardrooms in the corporate world.
We prefer to separate the person from the Problem in the narrative lifestyle.
This approach frees the victim victimized by the Problem of guilt and empowers them to act against the Problem. Furthermore, it helps the people surrounding the victim to join hands in a collaborative action against the Problem.
The Problem (capital letter ‘P,’ because the Problem has its own identity – remember you are not the Problem.) may have a tight grip on your life. However, in our conversations, you will soon discover that it is not always the case. These brief moments when the Problem does not have all the power are called ‘sparkling events.’ It exists because you undoubtedly have specific skills at your disposal to resist the Problem. These skills are called ‘unique outcomes’!
Won’t it be terrific to discover yours?