Lastenia Francis, LMFT
Have you ever gone to therapy and thought “where do I begin?” Do you ever think that starting therapy means that you must tell your whole life story? Once you’ve explained your life, where do you go from there? Getting the most out of therapy is about making meaning out of your life experiences to make room for a happier and meaningful life.
A narrative family therapist takes the approach that you are the expert to your life. Then why do you need a therapist? The role of the therapist is to allow you to author your story, define your hurdles, and reauthor your view on who you are now that you’ve experienced what you’ve gone through. The challenge is that you’ve been taught how to think and view your experiences by your family, friends and society (Ravella, 2008). Rather, underneath everyone else’s view of your life experience is your perception and meaning to those experiences. The journey to unraveling the many perspectives is a journey worth taking to redefining you.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I am a survivor, not a victim”? This is the concept I’m talking about. You may have been sexually abused, beaten, attacked, or mistreated by others, but how you choose to view yourself afterwards is what matters the most. Imagine choosing to live life thinking that you are the victim of one, some or even all these events. Would you walk around being happy, hopeful or harmonious with others? Of course not! Why should you? Now, if you were to reframe that and live life believing you are a survivor of one, some or all these things, how might you act? You may feel more elevated, empowered and evolutionary. Why? The way you choose to think about your experience, impacts how you feel about yourself and your experience, ultimately impacting how you exude what your feeling on the inside.
Does this mean that your experiences don’t matter? NO! In fact, I’d argue that your experiences matter even more. Like a diamond, formed under high pressure, your experiences can strengthen your very existence over time. When you look at your scars, think about all the different ways you can see those scars. Which one of those ways will elevate you? Which way is the most meaningful for your journey?
Ravella, C. D. (2008). Narrative therapy: Making meaning, making lives. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 34(2), 169–172. Retrieved from http://proxy1.ncu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edswss&AN=000252716500007&site=eds-live
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