Articles by Peggy

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

(Note: the next 4 problems utilize Narrative Therapy responses which would be useful following a conversation in which the problem had already been externalized, named, and fully explored)

Problem 5: Inability to make friends

NT response:
Help the child identify his/her important relationships that serve a role similar to friendship and build upon this new emerging story.

"Who or what in your life has been able to see friendliness in you?"
"What would that person say about you that made you friendly?"
"Would that person be surprised to know that it has been hard for you to make friends?"
"Why would that person be surprised?"
"What does it say about you that this person would be surprised?"

Less helpful response:
Pointing out behaviors which other children might not like. Doing so strengthens the dominant perception that the child is "unlikable," which can be harmful to his/her self esteem.

Problem 6: Sibling Fighting

NT response:
Name and explore the unique times when the sibling fighting does not occur. (Note: this conversation could occur in front of parents or other siblings with time for them to reflect later in the session)

"When the fighting is not happening, what would you call it?" (answer: "getting along.")
"How do you feel about yourself during the getting along times?"
"How do you feel about your sister during the getting along times?"
"What do you notice in the way your family runs during the getting along?"
"When the getting along is happening, how do you and your parents get along?"
"Is this OK by you?" (answer: "yes")
"Why is it OK?"
"What does that say about what you want for your family relationships and home life?"

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