What is a Narrative Approach?
A Narrative Approach is to know counseling and community work centers people as the experts of their own lives and assume people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and can change their story.
The person is not the problem; the problem is the problem.
Michael Kingsley White
• Australian born in 1948; died 2008
• Traditional Father and Liberal Mother
• Working class family with an older and two younger siblings • Asthmatic and treated for depression
• Married in 1972 to a feminist/social justice advocate named Cheryl
• Editor, private practice, training program developer
• In 1983, he and his wife founded the Dulwich Centre for
White was influenced by Michel Foucault
Foucault, a French philosopher , who spoke of how language is subtly created and used by the privileged to support their understanding of truth. During his private practice in the early 1980’s, White developed the notion of “externalizing the problem.” Our textbook describes this process as assigning a name to a problem and recognizing it as something different than it being a part of one’s self. This allows clients to
“deconstruct their embedded stories” and view them separately and more clearly. Example: Naming depression the “black box” and sad things are kept here.
In the late 1980’s, White became interested in post-modernism:
• Challenges “modernism”
• Multiple realities
• Questioning the truth
Married to strong feminist, political wife
Anthropologist, Social Worker
Focused on working with children and adolescents
Referred to White as a “blood brother”
Co-authored numerous books on Narrative Therapy
Co-director of the Family Therapy Centre of Auckland
Often referred to as “Co-founder of Narrative Therapy”
“Good” and “Bad” English?
Power and Truth are intimately related. For instance most of us have been brought up with the belief that a certain type of spoken English reflects the “correct way to speak and is an indication of level of intelligence and social status. Although controversial in his own way,
Barack Obama’s former minister Reverend
Jeremiah Wright, highlighted this by noting that when president Kennedy would use uncommon English, he would not be criticized, but “only to a black child would they say your speak bad English.” In fact when minorities use uncommon English, they are often said to be lazy, stupid, or rebellious.
-Box 12.1 pg. 387
Dominant Narratives- Beliefs, values, and practices based on dominant social culture
Subjugated Narrative- an individual’s own story that is suppressed by dominant story
Alternative Story: the story that is there but unnoticed