What is Narrative Therapy?
Watch the short video below where Kay explains what makes Narrative Therapy unique.
About Kay Ingamells
A mother of one delightful son. A citizen of three countries: Aotearoa/New Zealand, Britain and Canada. A Westie since 2001. Daughter, sister, friend, tramper, cyclist, book-worm, lover of nature and the great outdoors.
Since 2003 I have been trained one-on-one and supervised by David Epston, one of the world’s leading therapists, and the co-inventor of Narrative Therapy. I have also co-taught with David all over the world and currently run a training programme in advanced narrative therapy with David and Dr Tom Carlson.
I have published widely about my work and present regularly at conferences at home and internationally. I have taught therapy and counselling at undergraduate and postgraduate level for ten years.
I am a full member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) and the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW). I am also a trained family therapist, child therapist and Journey Practitioner.
How I work
Too often people come to see themselves as the problems that are bothering them. We wonder ‘what’s wrong with me’, ‘why can’t I deal with this when everybody else seems too’, I feel as if I am the only one who suffers in this way’, ‘why can’t I just snap out of it, etc., etc. The truth is that problems very often have much less to do with us than we think. In a culture dominated by the idea that the individual is king (or queen,) we are taught that problems are not only a reflection of us as people and have nothing to do with wider issues or society and that we should deal with them on our own.
I prefer to see problems as stories. These ‘problem stories’ often become so overwhelming that they consume us, take over our hearts and minds, and we find it almost impossible to separate ourselves from them. This is where narrative therapy comes in. Narrative questions tease the problem apart and make room for the person who has been pushed into the background. I bring questions which disrupt problem stories and help you to access your own wisdom and expertise so that you can disentangle yourself from problems and see yourself more clearly.
What is Narrative Therapy?
Narrative therapy is a very well-known therapy or counselling approach that is practised all over the world and taught on world-renowned counselling and therapy courses. Narrative therapy is different because it doesn't identify the person with the problem in the way that many approaches do. If you have ever been to see a health professional and felt as if they talked to you as if you were the problem, you will know what I mean.
Narrative therapy is well known for the phrase: the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.
This way of thinking leads to a different kind of therapy conversation. A narrative therapist will be very interested in your understandings, your wisdom and your ideas. They will look for what you have already been doing to undermine the influence of the problem in your life and will look for how you have and can bring your knowledge, abilities and wisdom to bear in dealing with the problem. Narrative conversations are creative and fascinating. You could call it an 'out of the box' therapy. There are no pre-packaged solutions, manuals or worksheets as there are with some therapies. Instead, you will find yourself in an uncharted conversation inside of which you will make new discoveries and come to see yourself and the problem with new eyes. For an easy-to read-article, please click here: Narrative Therapy, The Article.
What is Journey Therapy?
I often suggest one, or sometimes more, journey processes as part of counselling. Problems often show up in the body in some way shape or form. I think of journey therapy as a way of re-storying problems in the body. It is useful for problems that are physical and emotional.
Most psychologists treat the mind as disembodied, a phenomenon with little or no connection to the physical body. Conversely, physicians treat the body with no regard to the mind or the emotions. But the body and mind are not separate, and we cannot treat one without the other. Dr. Candace Pert.
The Journey was developed by Brandon Bays. Brandon became very well known after the publication of her book, The Journey. The journey is a little like a guided visualisation which enables forgiveness and completion.I would recommend reading Brandon’s book to decide whether or not journey therapy is for you. To understand the scientific thinking behind The Journey, you might like to read Candace Pert. Candace Pert, who was an internationally recognised neuroscientist and pharmacologist, spoke to the ideas that inform journey therapy.
Pert, C.B. (1999.) Molecules of emotion: Why you feel the way you feel. The science behind mind-body medicine. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Bays, B. (2012) The Journey : a practical guide to healing your life. New York: Atria Books.You can buy the book through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Journey-Practical-Healing-Setting-Yourself/dp/145166561X