Problem-Saturated Stories in Narrative Couple and Family Therapy
Name of Concept
In narrative therapy, a foundational tenet is that people naturally tell stories about their lives and experiences. These personal stories or narratives reveal how people understand and relate to themselves, their family members, social contexts, and the world. Unsurprisingly, when clients enter therapy, their personal narratives are dominated by themes of resentments and negative thoughts or emotions. For example, couples or families might emphasize recurring fights, unmet needs, and overwhelmed feelings. Such concerns frame how clients view the future, and often many feel hopeless about changing things (White and Epston 1990).
Narrative approaches to couple and family therapy often begin where clients begin, with storylines dominated by problems and concerns. Therapists enter problem-saturated conversations with compassion and with the goal of helping clients to uncover empowering themes buried in their...