Articles by Peggy

Overcoming Tough Problems with Kids:
A Narrative Therapist's Approach (cont)

Problem 3: Depression

NT response:
Identifying moments which run counter to the problem’s influence. Seeking out opportunities to learn when the problem doesn’t have as much power.

"Can you think of a time when the depression doesn’t seem as strong?"
"How are you able to get out of bed and go to school?"
"When happiness is available to you, what happens to depression? Where does it go?"
"What allows you to keep happiness around?"

Less helpful response:
"Look on the bright side!" It may be very difficult to find the "bright side" until the effects of the problem are laid out, acknowledged, and dealt with. Moments which run counter to the problem always exist, but they need to be generated by the person, not told by someone else.

Problem 4: Parents fighting

NT response:
Connect the problem to what is important to the child. We can learn tremendous amounts about ourselves, our desires, values, commitments, and hopes by exploring the reasons for our feelings toward the problem.

"Is it OK with you that the fighting keeps going?" ("NO!")
"What does that say about what you want for your family?"
"What do you think that tells me about you and what you hope for?"
"If the fighting stopped, how would that make life more like the way you want it to be?"

Less helpful response:
Telling the child that even though the parents fight, they still love him and it’s not his fault. Certainly this is not a bad thing for a child to hear, but doing so stops the child from learning more about himself, what’s important to him, and what he wants for his own life.

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