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Narrative therapy is based on understanding the ‘stories’ that people use to describe their lives. The narrative therapist listens to the descriptive way the person describes their problems and helps them to consider how the stories may restrict them from overcoming their present difficulties. Narrative therapy sees problems as being separate from people and assists the individual to recognise the range of skills, beliefs and abilities they already have, (but may not recognise), and that they can apply these skills to resolve the problems in their lives.

The narrative therapist uses the understanding of the stories of people’s lives to develop ways to positively re-author these stories, in collaboration with the client. It is a way of working that is focused on the client’s history and the broader context affecting an individual’s life. The therapist works with the client to create new meanings from his/her past, present, and future experiences. Self-defeating and disempowering meanings are changed to those which will be more beneficial and empowering for the client.