Wallis, Jennifer; Burns, Jan and Capdevila, Rose
What is narrative therapy and what is it not? The usefulness of Q methodology to explore accounts of White & Epston’s (1990) approach to narrative therapy.
Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 18(6) pp. 486–497.
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Objective. ‘What is narrative therapy and how do you do it?’ is a question that is repeatedly asked of narrative therapy, with little consistent response. This study aimed to explore and distil out the ‘common themes’ of practitioner definitions of White and Epston's approach to narrative therapy.
Design. This was an Internet-based study involving current UK practitioners of this type of narrative therapy using a unique combination of a Delphi Panel and Q methodology.
Method. A group of experienced practitioners were recruited into the Delphi Poll and were asked two questions about what narrative therapy is and is not, and what techniques are and are not employed. These data combined with other information formed the statements of a Q-sort that was then administered to a wider range of narrative practitioners.
Findings. The Delphi Panel agreed on a number of key points relating to the theory, politics and practice of narrative therapy. The Q-sort produced eight distinct accounts of narrative therapy and a number of dimensions along which these different positions could be distinguished. These included narrative therapy as a political stance and integration with other approaches.
Conclusions. For any therapeutic model to demonstrate its efficacy and attract proponents, an accepted definition of its components and practice should preferably be established. This study has provided some data for the UK application of White and Epston's narrative therapy, which may then assist in forming a firmer base for further research and practice.
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