Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

We-Stories in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Karen Skerrett
  • Jefferson Singer
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_963

Name of Concept



Couple narratives, Relational mutuality


A We-story is a shared narrative between the members of a couple that defines and guides their relationship. Such a story reflects the mutual investment partners have in each other (their sense of “we-ness”) and is increasingly seen as an essential building block for health and resilient relationships (Godwin et al. 2013; Kayser et al. 2007; Rohrbaugh et al. 2012; Skerrett 2013; Skerrett and Fergus 2015). We-stories are powerful vehicles for experiencing and cultivating We-ness in relationships. When couples look at how they narrate their separate and shared lives, and how they use stories as forceful communications to each other, they begin to see the hold that stories have over their emotions and feelings of trust.

We-ness represents a fundamental shift in mindset that involves reciprocity and the ability to take into account the perspective of the other (Skerrett 2003, 2004). Fundamentally, it is...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Skerrett
    • 1
  • Jefferson Singer
    • 2
  1. 1.Adjunct Faculty: The Family Institute and Center for Family Studies at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Connecticut CollegeNew LondonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Corinne Datchi
    • 1
  • Ryan M. Earl
    • 2
  1. 1.Seton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA