Messages, Poems, and Letters: The Written Word in Narrative Therapy

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Whyte, Warren
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This manuscript thesis contains three separate essays that develop and describe the theory and practice of the use of the written word in narrative therapy. Writing has been used as a therapeutic method since the onset of modern therapy in many different contexts, applications, and purposes. Just as psychotherapy has been influenced by a shift in social thought from the modern to the postmodern, so too, has the use of the written word in therapy been affected by postmodernism. Postmodern therapy seeks to position the therapist in relationship with the client as co-collaborator and co-constructor of meanings, in contrast to modernist therapy‘s emphasis on expertise, individualism, and assertion of objective knowledge. The rise of narrative therapy has led to a rise in the use of the written word in a way intended to be egalitarian, relational, and collaboratively interpretive with clients. The following three essays present how the use of messages, poems, and letters in a narrative context can be effective with young people struggling to free themselves from the problems associated with substance abuse.
narrative therapy , writing as therapy