My favorite counseling approach in helping people understand who they are is called “narrative therapy”. Narrative therapy techniques have not only helped me self-examine my thoughts, feelings and choices related to life, but have also increased my capacity to see and hear from the Holy Spirit. I have been able to create, examine and re-examine my life story and my identify through various exercises such as journaling, book title and chapter titles, timeline, brain detoxing, mindfulness, prayer-based emotional freedom tapping, thinking and writing about introspective questions.
Every story has characters. They are the WHO in the story.
Take out your journal and write down the WHO in YOUR story. Who are you tied to through blood? Who are you tied to emotionally? Who are you tied to physically? Who are you tied to by choice? Who has impacted your life in a positive way? Who has impacted your life in a negative way? Who are YOU? Are you content with who you are? Why or why not?
Stories have plots – events that happen throughout the story, from beginning to end. How does your story begin? Where do you think it will end? What are the highlights? What were the lowlights? What events impacted your life?
Stories have conflicts. What major problems have you endured? What challenges have you overcome? What actions did you take to resolve the conflict? Were your conflicts self-induced or externally created? Where did your strength come from? What was the purpose of the trial? Why did it happen?
Every story has a theme, an underlying message. The theme of my story is Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” What is theme of your story?
Stories have transformative healing power. We gain a deeper level of understanding for who we are and whose we are. Writing and/or speaking our story helps us to organize our thoughts and weave together the various threads of our experience. When we express our thoughts and feelings in writing, we can separate ourselves from our problems and gain new perspective. We can step outside ourselves, deconstruct and examine the events of our lives and re-conceptualize new truths about who we are. By analyzing our strengths and weaknesses and repeated patterns of behavior, we can choose to keep the things that are working for us and get rid of the things that are not. Ultimately, it is our ability to choose life or death, blessing or curses, that determines whether we experience peace, love and joy, or strife, hatred and anger.
Biblical-based narrative approaches increase both self-awareness and God-awareness, personal responsibility, successful soul-alignment, and the capacity to experience a positive quality of life through the Fruit of the Spirit.