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What is Narrative Therapy?

Overview

Narrative Therapy is a collaborative approach to counselling and community work which centres people as “the experts in their own lives”. It acknowledges their unique experiences, contexts and perspectives and strives to respond in ways that “fit” for them and the lives they want for themselves and their families.

Developed by Michael White and David Epston, Narrative Therapy views problems as separate from people’s identities and assumes people have many skills, abilities, values, commitments, beliefs and capabilities to help them to get through their challenges. Through Narrative Therapy, young people and their families discover different ways of viewing themselves and their relationships, as well as finding alternative and unique responses to problems.

Narrative Therapy also recognizes that difficulties may be related to issues of social injustice and provides opportunities to explore the impacts of broader concerns, particularly with respect to race, gender and sexual orientation.

The Oolagen Approach

At Oolagen, we are committed to ideas and practices that reflect respect for difference. There are no ‘cookie cutter’ expectations for families or young people. Our approach highlights what people want for themselves and their lives; it relies on the recognition that there are many alternative routes to successful lives and relationships. We believe an understanding of what’s important to those we are serving will help to insure the direction for our work is meaningful for them. Accordingly, our services are flexible and respond to the unique hopes and dreams, values and beliefs, intentions and purposes, visions and commitments that each young person and family brings with them.

Centering people as “the experts in their own lives” is a cornerstone of all Oolagen programs and services. We listen to the unique stories of young people and their families, assist them to identify challenges, engage them in an exploration of their skills and knowledge for resolving life’s difficulties and empower them to move forward in their lives.

Narrative Mornings with Oolagen: Training Workshops for Therapists

Launched in 2014, Narrative Mornings with Oolagen is a series of monthly workshops for Narrative Therapy ideas and practices. These 3 hour sessions offer theoretical frameworks and provide opportunities to practice narrative skills. The mornings have proven to be very popular with colleagues from other agencies and students in local universities.

To register for the next session and/or to be added to our Narrative Mornings Mailing List, please email contact@oolagen.org or call 416 395 0660.

Articles

Growing up with parents with mental health difficulties

Ruth Pluznick and Natasha Kis-Sines, published in the The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, 2008 No. 4 www.dulwichcentre.com.au

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