Counseling in Line With Narrative Therapy Techniques, Essay

Excerpt from Essay :


In line with narrative therapy techniques, describe how the counselor externalized Helen's problems. Why is externalization so important in this session? How effective is it with Helen?

Externalization is critical to narrative therapy, allowing the client to detach herself from the problem. The counselor externalizes Helen's problems first by ceasing to frame them as problems. Instead the counselor frames Helen's problems within the context of her life story, and encourages her to do the same. Problems become challenges, which Helen, the hero, is destined to overcome with the help of key allies like the counselor. One of the most notable ways the counselor externalizes Helen's problems is by personifying her problem as a character in a story: Nagging Dissatisfaction. Nagging Dissatisfaction becomes the antagonist to Helen, the protagonist. By externalizing Nagging Dissatisfaction, Helen can stop identifying with someone who is tormented and start to take action to achieve her goals. Nagging Dissatisfaction, and not Helen, is responsible for the "scare tactics and lies" that are only serving to "intimidate and confuse." By detaching the issues such as scare tactics and lies, Helen can observe them rather than identifying with them. Helen can address Nagging Dissatisfaction as the hero of her own narrative.

The counselor also uses externalization to place Helen's present situation within the context of a linear narrative with a distinct past, present, and future. Although the counselor permits non-linear methods of allowing Helen's story to emerge, there does appear to be a traditional beginning, middle, and probable future to the narrative that can help Helen to situate herself and contemplate her story from an objective stance. Thus, the counselor addresses Helen's childhood issues such as her not feeling "seen," and therefore planting the seeds for low self-worth. Present issues such as the marriage and Helen's identity within it, are externalized too. Her problems are presented…

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