In therapy, exploring one’s life and understanding oneself on a deeper level is important. By understanding the self in relation to one’s trauma, mental health disorder, or substance use disorder (SUD), healing and recovery become less overwhelming.
The narrative method is one tool that facilitates this process of healing and recovery. When people participate in the narrative method, they start to heal their internal issues first. Then they can foster a fulfilling and positive lifestyle outside of their disorder(s) or trauma.
What Is the Narrative Method?
The narrative method helps people understand their “life story” and ascribe meaning to this story. So often, those dealing with addiction or mental health issues struggle to make meaning of their lives, especially the parts of their lives affected by their disorder. The narrative method helps remove clients from thinking that their trauma or disorder defines their lives and themselves. Through using this therapeutic tool, people become empowered to create a positive meaning from their problems and use them to persevere beyond them.
Therapists work with clients to discuss their life stories, inviting them to talk about what they do in their daily lives rather than confining them to a diagnosis. This helps clients perceive themselves as a person in the world instead of someone with a disorder.
A Way to Foster a Deeper Understanding
This approach to therapy also helps therapists understand their clients as individuals in the world. Therapists discover aspects of their clients they didn’t know and come to view their lives through a wider lens. The narrative method helps put trauma and disorders in perspective for all parties, allowing the client and therapist to develop a deeper connection beyond what is often accomplished in a clinical setting.
A Helpful Tool for Children and Adolescents
This method is essential for children and adolescents who learn the key skill of not blaming their problems on themselves. Instead, they come to more objectively view their emotions and thoughts about the issue at hand. Young clients can use these skills over time and apply them to their lives moving forward. Especially since this is seen as a more “playful” approach to therapy, adolescents and children benefit greatly.
The Narrative Method in Different Types of Therapy
In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the narrative method can be implemented. Pairing these therapies works well because CBT explores relationships between the client and their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. With a therapist, they work to uncover unhealthy patterns of thought and understand that these perceptions can cause self-destructive behaviors.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Narrative Method
When CBT is paired with the narrative method, clients can understand how their thoughts and perceptions of the world and their place in it can influence negative experiences. Internalizing the world, in other words, is explored through CBT and the narrative method. This way, clients learn to break negative habits, allowing them to open new doors. CBT helps restructure these negative or false beliefs to produce healthier habits and behaviors.
Seeking Safety and the Narrative Method
In the Seeking Safety program at Roots Recovery, therapists guide clients in attaining a feeling of safety regarding their past trauma or substance abuse. By addressing trauma and addiction, clients express themselves in a safe environment to achieve safety within themselves.
When the narrative method is paired with this therapy model, clients experience double the benefits. Although the narrative method doesn’t require the client to discuss the traumatic event in detail, clients are encouraged to discuss their emotions, feelings, and thoughts. The narrative method helps clients stay in the present moment, restructuring their beliefs while using the seeking safety program. Clients focus on ideals that counteract ideals clients have lost through trauma or substance abuse.
How Does Roots Recovery Implement the Narrative Method?
A therapist helps those who have experienced traumatic events to change the meaning of these events. This helps clients understand the event, emotions, and thought process. This deeper understanding allows clients to foster positive behaviors and thoughts regarding the traumatic event. The method also helps clients develop a sense of control over their life experiences instead of allowing their life experiences to control them. This helps clients regulate their emotions and control their thinking patterns.
The narrative method also helps clients develop better communication skills. They learn to discuss the event or their emotions in a controlled setting rather than hiding away from them and internalizing everything. These communication skills help clients foster happier and healthier relationships, forgive themselves and others, and persevere past their trauma or disorder.
At Roots, the therapist and client work together to explore ways to challenge preconceived notions of oneself and others. This team also will explore how one’s story can limit their potential in life. While exploring how these stories influence their life, a person can experience the present moment more fully. As they release unhelpful interpretations, they can live with a more joyful and hopeful heart.
Here at Roots recovery, we implement the narrative method into other therapies to encourage clients to stay in the present moment. No one has to allow their trauma or disorder to define them. Often clients will define themselves through their mental health disorder, substance use disorder, or past trauma. The narrative method helps clients express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions about these and restructure their thinking. They discuss their life story rather than only discussing their trauma or disorder. This helps create a safe relationship with their therapist and helps the client and therapist understand them as individuals. To learn more about the narrative method at Roots Recovery, call us at (562) 473-0827.