MDABC will now be offering a group program in Narrative Therapy, led by Dr. Claire Fantus. This program is designed for people who are dealing with depression and/or anxiety.
What is Narrative Therapy?
Narrative therapy empowers individuals to be experts in their own lives. It encourages members to describe their life challenges more richly through the narrative process of rewriting their story. Often, the stories we tell ourselves can perpetuate feelings of depression, isolation, and struggles with self-esteem. Narrative therapy helps to reduce these experiences by exploring alternative stories in the lives of group members including dimensions of a person often overlooked in other settings.
History and Development of Narrative Therapy
Narrative therapy was developed by Michael White and David Epston in the 1980s. It is a person-centered and collaborative therapy that emphasizes the individual as expert on his or her own life. The approach is non-pathologizing and nonjudgmental and focuses on the client/patient as a full and capable individual influenced and impacted by a complex world. Narrative Therapy is about examining the stories you’ve been told, the stories that have been passed down to you and the stories you tell yourself. The goal is for the client to re-author his or her story by analyzing these various narratives. (Madigan 2011).
How does MDABC’s Narrative Therapy program work?
To be considered for this program, you must be referred to us by a psychiatrist (not a general practitioner). Before the group starts, you will meet with Dr. Fantus for 1 individual session to ensure Narrative Therapy is a good fit, to review the structure of the program, and to answer any questions. The group will run for 8-10 consecutive weeks for 1.5 hours each week, via Zoom. The group will have 6-8 participants.
What happens in the narrative therapy group sessions?
In a typical session, one participant will share a story about a problem they are facing and a “unique outcome” which happened to them recently. The participant will be encouraged to explore this unique outcome with the group with facilitation from Dr. Fantus. After sharing their narrative, other group members will have the opportunity to empathically respond to the participant following guidelines and questions. Here are some examples: 1) What stood out to you from what you just heard? 2) What images of the person did these words evoke? 3) How were you moved on account of what the person said? Finally, the group turns back to the original participant who shared the story to review what they heard and how they might incorporate this into their own narrative.
Is narrative therapy an appropriate treatment for me?
While narrative therapy can be an effective treatment for many psychiatric syndromes – the MDABC narrative therapy program is currently being offered for patients with depression. Narrative therapy will require you to be comfortable with writing about your beliefs as to the cause of your depression. Patients who have in the past or currently do journaling would be good candidates for narrative therapy. Patients who perceive their depression is rooted in relationship issues/learned behaviours from their early upbringing would be good candidates for narrative therapy.
How would I join the program?
A referral from a psychiatrist (not a general practitioner) is required.
Have your psychiatrist complete the form and fax it to MDA administration – 604-873-3095.
All sessions are virtual using a secure DOBC Zoom platform.
Reference/further recommended readings
Madigan, Stephen: Narrative Therapy – 2nd Edition. 2019. American Psychological Association