What Is Narrative Therapy? | Introducing TMC’s New Counsellor, Bronte!

Hi there! As an ACA registered Counsellor I pride myself on being the best listener you will ever meet, and I’m pretty good at puns to boot! My main focus is the way our life stories are formed by society, by others and especially by ourselves and how to reverse the effects of a negative story told one too many times. I have a strong counselling framework rooted in a combination of Narrative Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, but believe the most important part of a therapeutic relationship is trust. As I am accredited by the Australian Counselling Association I constantly undertake training and development to broaden my skills and understanding and adhere to strict guidelines to ensure quality support. Now, onto the fun stuff!

A counsellor’s guide to narrative therapy and “shakin’ off” a negative story just like Taylor Swift

Narrative therapy is a therapeutic approach that takes our lived experiences and stories and uses them to feed new ways of thinking and being. It is a modality that is centred on the way the world around us shapes our own personal views. Think about it, in our day to day lives we get a lot of verbal and visual feedback from those around us. Sometimes we can brush off that snide comment or sideways glance. Other times those small interactions can create a lasting internal story of self-doubt and inadequacy, often feeding into a larger story that we have been telling ourselves for years. This is our internal negative narrative and if left large and in charge it can build until it saps our self-worth.

Even celebrities are not immune to a negative narrative! They, just like us mere mortals, face the feedback of friends, family, society and themselves. And they, just like us, can re-story that negative narrative. A prime example of this is the transformation of Taylor Swift from a girl with a “Bad Reputation” into a woman in charge of her own story and career. So, inspired by the absolute BOP that is T-Swifts song “Shake it off” here is a run down of catching that negative story and reclaiming your own narrative. Let’s put our personal reflection hats on and get down to this.sick.beat.

“ That’s what people say, mmm hmm”

Much like T-Swift – I’m sure many of us have experienced others talking about us and been given societal labels. She goes on too many dates but can’t make them stay, but maybe your story is one of being a failure, being not good enough or just generally sucking as a human. The first step in pulling a Swiftie is knowing when our internal narrative is becoming a problem. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • When something goes wrong what do I tell myself? am I a failure? Is this something I ALWAYS do?
  • When something goes right what do I tell myself? It must be a miracle? About time I did something right? Or is it a case of yay I did it again?
  • Are you a player who is going to play? A Hater who is going to hate?

Did answering these questions make you squirm and feel a bit bummed out? You and me both! But looking at the stories we tell helps us identify if we tell them too much and too often. It helps us decide if we truly agree with these stories or do we want to shake it off and tell a different story.

“And that’s what they don’t see mmm mmm”

On the topic of telling a different story, sometimes when that negative narrative is too loud, alternatives can be hard to see on our own or completely unseen by others. While me may be bit incompetent in one area of our life we might be AHMAZING in another. Taylor Is lightning on her feet and you might be too! This where narrative therapy shines in helping us explore alternate stories, times where there has been an exception to that not good enough story we hear constantly. And when we start seeing more than one story and living life through multiple stories that’s we really start to reclaim our own narrative.

“Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake I shake it off, I shake it off”

 

Want to book in with me? I’d love to have you! Click this link to book online for in person or online appointments.

I can’t wait to meet you!

 

-Bronte