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What is Brief & Narrative Therapy?

Brief & Narrative Therapy brings a narrative therapy philosophy and practice into time-sensitive counselling arenas such as walk-in therapy clinics and other forms of single session and brief services. It creates a non-pathologizing, collaborative, and competency-oriented way of working with people in brief settings. The aim is to make the most of every single session providing therapeutic conversations to people when they need it. It is based on the principle of “when all the time you have is now” that promotes the facilitation of a meaningful, useful conversation immediately. This is a departure from more traditional practices of assessment and information gathering dominating the initial contacts people have with the helping system.

In therapeutic conversations influenced by narratives ideas, we work to develop novel and uniquely understood stories of the problem and to co-discover with people neglected stories of their preferences, values, commitments, skills and knowledge. 

Narrative therapy is a collaborative and non-pathologizing approach to counselling which views people as experts of their own lives. A narrative therapist understands problems as separate from people and assumes people have many skills, abilities, values, commitments, beliefs and competencies that will assist them to change their relationship with problems influencing their lives. It is a way of working that considers the broader context of people's lives, the backstories, and the ways history and cultural requirements influence how we understand problems and ourselves. 

Stories are made up of events, linked in a sequence, occurring over time according to a theme or plot. A story emerges as certain events are privileged and selected out over other events. What is selected is not a neutral task but is highly influenced by our history and by dominant social narratives. Stories serve to describe and then to shape people’s lives as people ‘narrativize’ their experience of the world and themselves in it. Our identities are continually constructed and re-constructed by stories that we tell to ourselves and to others. Our lives and identities are multi-storied.

In therapeutic conversations influenced by narratives ideas, we work to develop novel and uniquely understood stories of the problem and to co-discover with people neglected stories of their preferences, values, commitments, skills and knowledge. Our curiosity makes it possible for new knowledges to become co-developed in a collaborative conversation. Realizations, pivotal and 'aha' moments emerge in these conversations that point the way toward new possibilities in people’s lives and relationships.
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