I believe that stories are at the heart of the therapeutic process. Having nuanced, rich, and expressive stories about our lives is crucial to accessing a sense of meaning, engagement, and aliveness. In this TED talk, the MacArthur genius award winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks about the danger of "a single story." The practitioners of narrative therapy explicitly apply this insight to the therapy process, searching with clients for new ways of telling the story. These forms of narration might create a sense of clarity around confusing life events or gesture towards new possibilities for happiness and connection.
As a psychotherapist, my work is to listen to the difficult or painful story that each client tells, and in the process of listening, to bring in tools that will help my client to eventually tell a new story. Part of this work is creating the safe context in which terrifying life events can be expressed and understood. Another part of the work is paying attention to the emotional side of the story. When clients already know all the facts, but still can't move on, more rational insight isn't what is needed. Moving beyond "just the facts," therapy can be a space to fully flesh out why the many stories of our lives matter, to celebrate our creativity and survival, and to grieve what has been lost along the way.