Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Witnessing in Narrative Couple and Family Therapy

  • Laura F. Gutierrez Duarte
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_224-1

Name of Concept

Witnessing in Narrative Couple and Family Therapy

Synonyms

Introduction

Witnessing is an intervention used in narrative couple and family therapy (White 2000). Therapists often scaffold witnessing into the process of therapy or use it in definitional ceremonies (White 2000). The metaphor of a definitional ceremony* provides a platform for clients to share their preferred narratives in the presence of an audience who listens and reflects back on the shared experiences (White 2000). Furthermore, witnessing allows for members of the family to conceptualize the problem as existing separate from each person (Freedman 2014). Externalization is another intervention of narrative therapy, which serves as a precursor to witnessing (Freedman 2014). The intent of externalization is to facilitate the deconstruction of the family’s problem-saturated narrative. Through witnessing, the couple or family is able to learn how to listen to each other’s experiences...

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References

  1. Besley, A. C. (2002). Foucault and the turn to narrative therapy. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 30(2), 125–143.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03069880220128010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Freedman, J. (2014). Witnessing and positioning: Structuring narrative therapy with families and couples. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 35(1), 20–30.  https://doi.org/10.1002/anzf.1043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gurman, A., Lebow, J., & Snyder, D. (2015). Clinical handbook of couple therapy (5th ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  4. Suddeath, E., Kerwin, A., & Dugger, S. (2017). Narrative family therapy: Practical techniques for more effective work with couples and families. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 39(2), 116–131.  https://doi.org/10.17744/mehc.39.2.03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. White, M. (2000). Reflecting teamwork as definitional ceremony revisited. In Reflections on narrative practice: Essays and interviews. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications.Google Scholar
  6. White, M. (2009). Narrative practice and conflict dissolution in couples therapy. Clinical Social Work Journal, 37(3), 200–213.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-009-0192-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Margarita Tarragona
    • 1
  • Bahareh Sahebi
    • 2
  1. 1.PositivaMente & Grupo Campos ElíseosMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.The Family InstituteNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA