12 Jul Values in Narrative Therapy
Underlying our mandate to help our clients is an affirmation of their inalienable right to experience safety, respect, and meaning in their lives. To uphold this mandate the following values are put forth as possible useful points of discussion.
1. We ask permission before we offer help and we keep a strict eye on confidentiality. The exception is when we feel that someone is not safe.
2. We value curiosity and inquiry towards all the factors that either impede or promote the heart of creativity in our clients. This means that we value questions more than quick answers and that we help our clients to be explorers in their own lives. It also means that we value descriptions of real life more than diagnostic categories.
3. We help our clients search towards the preferred stories of their lives so that these stories are revealed and honored over any limiting stories that may be restraining their lives in the present. This means that we help our clients become detectives towards their successful experiences and those people from their past who have supported them.
4. We take a stand against those stories that may be dominant in our culture which prevent our clients from knowing themselves and from experiencing themselves as capable of exercising choice towards their preferred values. Such stories may include subjects of race, physical appearance, or limiting ideas of what constitutes being a person.
5. We affirm that our own work will be based on a community of support for each other – and that this support will exemplify the same values that we promote for our clients i.e. respect and support for each other’s creativity. To this end we need to meet with each other regularly as well as make ourselves available to each other on a more casual basis.
6. Whenever it is useful we will help our clients to experience us as a larger community which is committed to the rights stated above. While we are not a 12 step program we should exemplify the same principles of support and sharing that are manifest in such a program. Clients may need to know that we are not isolated individual therapists – that we help each other and that we engage the larger world outside of our own practices.
7. We believe that the body and mind constitute an exquisite instrument for the discrimination of value and that this instrument can make precise decisions through what is known as “common sense” or intuition if we free it from the burden of external restraints. It is part of our job to return this “instrument of the discrimination” back to its proper functioning.
8. We promote the knowledge each of our clients can obtain of those gifts they hold towards their families and the larger community – gifts which ultimately enhance the lives of those they are in contact with. This might be called helping people to know their place in “the larger scheme of things” and experiencing themselves as “having meaning” in the lives of others.