In Narrative Therapy Over Time, Stephen Madigan
demonstrates his poststructural approach to narrative therapy, originally developed by David Epston and Michael White. Narrative therapy is informed by the anti-individualist idea that people are multistoried and multisited—that is, people have many interacting narratives in their lives, and problems are not located nor privatized inside the body of the client (problems such as anorexia and anxiety are influenced and shaped by social and cultural discourses such as gender, race, and perfectionism). The purpose of narrative therapy is a rich engagement in the re-storying of people's lives and relationships. Madigan highlights how narrative therapy practice is based in the re-consideration, re-appreciation, and re-authoring of clients' preferred lives and relationships. In this series of six sessions, Madigan works with a man in his 50s who talks about his struggle with anxiety. The client tells the story of how anxiety and nervousness have kept him inside his home for 2 full years, prohibited him from holding a job for 10 years, and have prevented him from trying to meet other people and develop friendships.
As the client shares these stories that make up his life, he and Madigan uncover alternative narratives, ones that reflect the client's skills, abilities, know-how, and previous evidence of confidence, risk taking and greater social connection. As these sessions unfold, the client comes to a new understanding of himself and begins to re-author his life and develop successful relationships.