Makana Path Blog

February 10, 2020

How Narrative Therapy Can Help in Your Recovery

narrative therapy

We often develop an image of who we are out of the stories we tell ourselves. If we feel depressed, we “are” a depressed person. If we are struggling with conflict in our lives, we “are” a troublemaker. These stories tend to reinforce, and even justify, negative behavior because of who we think we “are.” Changing our own narrative can change the way we view ourselves. Narrative therapy can help us change our story and move forward successfully through recovery.

Dispelling Labels

The first step is to recognize that you are not what you may have been labeled – or what you may have labeled yourself. Negative labels can be self-perpetuating. For example, if the stories you have told yourself have convinced you that you are a troublemaker, then it becomes easier for you to continue to act out. Learning to separate yourself from the labels is a major focus of narrative therapy.

What is Narrative Therapy?

In narrative therapy, a specialized therapy that is part of an intensive healing program, you are seen as separate from your problems. By learning to tell yourself a different story, you can see more clearly how to uncover the values and skills that define who you really are and how you can uncover your dreams and goals. Your life is complex and full of possibilities waiting to be discovered!

Narrative therapy is evidence-based counseling designed to help you see yourself as the expert in your own life. Rather than the therapist dispensing advice to you, as is the case in many traditional talk therapy methods, you and the therapist work together to help you externalize your problems and reach positive outcomes.

When you feel more empowered through narrative therapy, you are then able to rewrite your stories to reflect who you really are and what you are truly capable of, separate from your labels. You are able to focus on your own story and how your emotions, actions, and problems fit into your story. The American Psychological Association (APA) identifies three goals in narrative therapy:

  • Put “untold” aspects of the client’s past into the life narrative
  • Help clients emotionally enter and reauthor their own stories
  • Help clients construct new meanings in relation to stories that may emerge in therapy.

Narrative Therapy in Recovery

True recovery depends on changes in your behavior. Changing your behavior depends on changing your mindset about who you really are and what you want to accomplish. Evidence-based clinical therapies such as narrative therapy equip you with the skills you need to manage and process your emotions in healthy ways, to change your story in recovery.

Narrative therapy can help you imagine a different future for yourself, one that is free from addiction. You separate yourself from the labels and the negative stories and focus on the skills you have to overcome your challenges. Your story becomes one of opportunity as you envision a life of being healthy and happy.

The many benefits of narrative therapy in your recovery process include:

  • Helping you understand the underlying issues of your addiction
  • Externalizing the problems and challenges of addiction so you can see them objectively
  • Dispelling the negative labels, focusing on the positive aspects of your life
  • Re-evaluating the stories that you tell yourself in addiction so you can see alternative versions in recovery
  • Regaining control of your life so that you realize you have what it takes internally to overcome and manage your addiction challenges
  • Highlighting your strengths and your skills that will help you through a successful recovery process
  • Forming a positive story for your recovery and your life beyond addiction.

Narrative therapy offers benefits to individuals as well as their families, as a proven technique for improving communications and relationships in addiction recovery. It can be part of a more comprehensive treatment plan to help you through the process of becoming healthier and happier.

Contact Makana Path to Learn More About Narrative Therapy Treatment

There is a better life waiting for those who want it and we are here to help. At Makana Path, we understand that everyone’s journey is different, and we customize treatment to address each of our client’s needs.  We emphasize the therapeutic process in treatment and recovery, including evidence-based clinical therapies such as narrative therapy. To learn more about how we can help you, contact Makana Path today by calling 1-866-905-4550.