Articles by Peggy

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

"What is it about being left alone that would be helpful to you?"
"When your parents do leave you alone, what do you think they are thinking about you?"
"When you are able to have space to make your own decisions, what do you think your parents are most worried about?"
"Does that worry you too?"

Less helpful response:
Responding with the same level of hostility. Communication with children who are defiant with their parents can be challenging because of the strong feelings behind the words. Conversations thick with anger, frustration, and hurt feelings (between both parents and children) quickly become unproductive and often perpetuate the very problem that is being communicated.

Anyone who wants to live their life more happily and in keeping with what they value, believe, and desire for themselves will benefit from Narrative Therapy. People of all ages enjoy the process, but it can be particularly effective with children and families because of its engaging and non-threatening approach. Narrative Therapy can help people who are dealing with the following problems or concerns: depression or sadness, anxiety, substance misuse, parental divorce or discord, tantrums, problems in school, grief and loss issues, encopresis/enuresis (pants soiling/bedwetting), anger, explosive behavior, eating problems, fear, or other problems that interrupt or overtake happiness in one’s life.

It is a pleasure to be a Narrative Therapist. I enjoy the opportunity to hear the complexities and richness in the stories that make up people’s lives. I am privileged to witness children, teenagers, and their parents and families take a stand against the problems that are disrupting their lives. I am inspired by learning what people are committed to, what they hold most dear, and how they learned to hold these values. I am often moved to do something different in my own life by hearing someone else’s courageous acts to change a problem’s hold on their life.

Everyone has a story. In fact, everyone has multiple stories. Narrative therapy helps us live the story we most prefer, and allows us to reach our greatest potential.

Page 7

Originally published in, March 2007
Debra Ross, editor and publisher

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