Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Narrative therapy

How important is narrative? More appropriately, how important is narrative with regards to my understanding of my life and it's purpose?
We humans are interpretive beings, we want to make the experiences of events meaningful. The narrative is the thread that weaves events together to form the story. According to narrative therapy a story should consist of the following to qualify as one: a series of events, linked in a sequence, spanning across a timeline according to a plot. Phew! sounds more complicated than it is. Luckily I think because we are narrative beings (oral traditions are of the oldest and still prevail) creating stories and interpreting them come naturally to us.
Of course we can find stories everywhere, they can belong to a collective group - our family or nation or country or just us - about our past, present or future.
The part I'm most interested in is the re-authoring of our lives. That ability to write your own life story, not the way others perceive it, and the power we have to influence the course of our future by the stories we tell of ourselves.
Stories of our lives are very potent, because stories are central to our understanding. When you distance yourself from your story, it easily becomes clear what kind of character you're playing(suddenly Shakespeare's quote of all the world's a stage gains a deeper grained meaning). The question to ask is do I want to be this character?
I read a while ago that Mae West was renowned for continually changing the 'facts' of her past, so much so that no one today are really sure which are which. Fascinating to think of it that way.