Narrative Therapy Over Time
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
In Narrative Therapy Over Time, Stephen Madigan demonstrates his poststructural approach to narrative therapy, originally developed by David Epston and Michael White. Narrative therapy is informed by the anti-individualist idea that people are multistoried and multisited—that is, people have many interacting narratives in their lives, and problems are not located nor privatized inside the body of the client (problems such as anorexia and anxiety are influenced and shaped by social and cultural discourses such as gender, race, and perfectionism).
The purpose of narrative therapy is a rich engagement in the re-storying of people's lives and relationships. Madigan highlights how narrative therapy practice is based in the re-consideration, re-appreciation, and re-authoring of clients' preferred lives and relationships.
In this series of six sessions, Madigan works with a man in his 50s who talks about his struggle with anxiety. The client tells the story of how anxiety and nervousness have kept him inside his home for 2 full years, prohibited him from holding a job for 10 years, and have prevented him from trying to meet other people and develop friendships.
As the client shares these stories that make up his life, he and Madigan uncover alternative narratives, ones that reflect the client's skills, abilities, know-how, and previous evidence of confidence, risk taking and greater social connection. As these sessions unfold, the client comes to a new understanding of himself and begins to re-author his life and develop successful relationships.
Everyone tells stories. Whether or not we share these stories with others, the stories do exist, and most importantly, we tell ourselves these narratives constantly. Narrative therapy investigates and locates the outside influences on these stories, which in therapy may be seen as internalized problem dialogues.
Each person's narratives are influenced through the dialogic information and interaction received from our relationship to media, religion, psychology, science, the books we read, teachers, friends, parents, siblings, children, and our life experience as a whole. These many different sets of influences contribute to the internalized dialogues we partake in. It may appear to us that we are "talking to ourselves", but these internal conversations are actually a product of many cultural and institutional voices.
In this understanding, the notion of a discrete "self" that can be understood as separate from culture and societal systems is a fiction. Therapy can help uncover these influences, and assist clients in how best to re-author their life narratives. The purpose of narrative therapy is an engagement in the restorying of persons' lives and relationships by bringing forth alternative modes of explanation and experience.
The next major concept of narrative therapy is that problems are not located nor privatized inside client bodies. Whatever problems a client presents with, narrative therapists look beyond the client to the context of their culture and social ties to find the location of their problem. Narrative therapy explains how problem dialogues belong to none of us in particular and all of us cooperatively.
For example, whether one is struggling with depression, eating disorders, or anxiety, society at large—our experiences, world events, and the culture in general—all contribute to the dialogues and expressions of the dialogues that frame whatever issues we are wrestling with. Once therapists point out and demystify the internalized languages of depression, loss, self-doubt, less-than-worthiness, anxieties, couple conflict, and so forth, the client can begin to learn to take some of the power away from these internal dialogues.
Poststructural theory has influenced narrative therapy's view of the power, politics, and secret codes of internalized problem communications. As demonstrated in the sessions on this DVD, what may seem esoteric in discussion and analysis of the theory becomes, in actual therapy, highly practical and almost familiar-seeming. The theory behind the therapy, however, is essential for navigating the complexity of discourse in even the most straightforward of client narratives, and requires extensive training and supervision.
Stephen Madigan holds an MSW and an MSc and PhD in couple and family therapy. In 1992, he opened the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy through Yaletown Family Therapy in Vancouver, Canada, as the first narrative therapy training site in the Northern Hemisphere. He hosts the yearly Therapeutic Conversations Conference, publishes widely, and teaches narrative training workshops worldwide. In June 2007, the American Family Therapy Academy honored Dr. Madigan with their Distinguished Award for Innovative Practice in Family Therapy Theory and Practice. Dr. Madigan is also a "retired" member of Canada's National Ultimate Frisbee Team. Find out more at Dr. Madigan's web site.
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- Dickerson, V., & Zimmerman, J. (1996). If problems talked: Narrative family therapy in action. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.
- Epston, D., & White, M. (1990). Narrative means to therapeutic ends. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
- Freedman, J., & Combs, G. (1996). Narrative therapy: The construction of preferred realities. New York, NY: Norton Publications.
- Madigan, S. (2008). Anticipating hope within conversational domains of despair. In I. McCarthy & J. Sheehan (Eds.), Hope and despair (pp. 100–112). London, England: Bruner Mazel.
- Madigan, S. (2007). Watchers of the watched: Self-surveillance in everyday life. In C. Brown & T. Augusta-Scott (Eds.), Postmodernism and narrative therapy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
- Madigan, S. (2004). Re-writing Tom: Undermining descriptions of chronicity through therapeutic letter writing campaigns. In J. Carlson (Ed.), My finest hour: Family therapy with the experts. New York, NY: Allyn and Bacon Publications.
- Madigan, S. (2003). Injurious speech: Counter-viewing eight conversational habits of highly effective problems. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, 2, 23–35.
- Madigan, S. (1999). Destabilizing chronic identities of depression and retirement. In I. Parker (Ed.), Deconstructing psychotherapy (pp. 150–163). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
- Madigan, S. (1997). Re-remembering lost identities: Narrative therapy with children and adolescents. In D. Nylund & C. Smith (Eds.), Narrative therapies with children and adolescents (pp. 338–335). New York, NY/London, England: Guilford Press.
- Madigan, S. (1996). The politics of identity: Considering the socio-political and cultural context in the externalizing of internalized problem conversations. Journal of Systemic Therapies: Special Edition on Narrative Ideas, 15, 47–63.
- Madigan, S. (1993). Questions about questions in therapeutic discourse and practice. In S. Gilligan & R. Price (Eds.), Therapeutic conversations (pp. 219–230). New York, NY: Norton Press.
- Madigan, S. (1992, August). The application of Michel Foucault's philosophy in the problem externalizing discourse of Michael White. [Additional Commentary by Deborah Anne Leupenitz, Rejoinder by S. Madigan.] Journal of Family Therapy, 14(3), 265–279.
- Madigan, S. (1991). Discursive restraints in therapist practice: Situating therapist questions in the presence of the family—A new model for supervision. In Cheryl White (Ed.), Postmodernism, deconstruction, and therapy (Vol. 3, pp. 13–21). Adelaide, Australia: International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.
- Madigan, S., & Epston, D. (1995). From "psychiatric gaze" to communities of concern: From professional monologue to dialogue. In S. Friedman (Ed.), The reflecting team in action: Innovations in clinical practice (pp. 257–276). New York, NY/London, England: Guilford Press.
- Madigan, S., & Goldner, E. (1998). A narrative approach to anorexia: Reflexivity, discourse, and questions. In M. Hoyt (Ed.), Constructive therapies (pp. 380–400). New York, NY: Jossey Bass.
- Madigan, S., & Law, I. (1998). PRAXIS: Situating discourse, feminism, and politics in narrative therapies. Vancouver, Canada: Yaletown Family Therapy Press.
- White, M. (2007). Maps of narrative practice. New York, NY: Norton Publications.
- White, M. (1995). Re-authoring lives: Interviews and essays. Adelaide, Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.
- Constructivist Therapy
Robert A. Neimeyer
- Constructivist Therapy Over Time
Robert A. Neimeyer
- Ethnocultural Psychotherapy
- Feminist Therapy
Laura S. Brown
- Relational–Cultural Therapy Over Time
Judith V. Jordan
- Shyness and Social Phobia
Anne Marie Albano
- Constructions of Disorder: Meaning-Making Frameworks for Psychotherapy
Edited by Robert A. Neimeyer and Jonathan D. Raskin
- Identity and Story: Creating Self in Narrative
Edited by Dan P. McAdams, Ruthellen Josselson, and Amia Lieblich
- Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives
- The Meaning of Others: Narrative Studies of Relationships
Edited by Ruthellen Josselson, Amia Lieblich, and Dan P. McAdams
- Phobic Disorders and Panic in Adults: A Guide to Assessment and Treatment
Martin M. Antony and Richard P. Swinson
- Understanding and Treating Anxiety Disorders: An Integrative Approach to Healing the Wounded Self
Barry E. Wolfe
- Narrative Therapy
This book provides an introduction to the theory, history, research, and practice of narrative therapy, a post-structural therapeutic approach.