Externalizing in Narrative Therapy with Couples and Families
Externalizing is a practice that sits within a Narrative Therapy approach developed by Michael White and David Epston (1990; Epston 1998). A Narrative approach can be useful in working with individuals, couples, families, and communities and can be used in addressing any concern.
A Narrative Therapy approach sees life as multistoried (Freedman and Combs 1996). When couples or families come to therapy, they often come with a single “problem” account of their relationships. This is a single story that has taken on a status of “truth” and has become embedded in the identity of the relationship of the family or couple. The stories that each person has about who they are and what life is about for them are the lens through which life is viewed, and these stories serve to shape the experiences that are had of life and relationships. Stories for example of conflict, fighting, blame, betrayal, distance, or disappointment have often become fixed and immutable as the sole...
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