A Narrative Approach to Groups

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Abstract

This paper considers the ways that narratives can be used in groups to create meaning, organize the past, explain the present and consider alternatives for the future. Narratives are formats for self-creation; they can also be used to provide support or education, promote self-understanding and interpersonal effectiveness. Already familiar in self-help groups and reminiscence groups for the elderly, narrative approaches can be useful in many other formats. In this paper I discuss ways of eliciting narratives, understanding their meaning from many perspectives and using them to promote growth and healing in groups. The group leader's role is reconfigured into that of participant observer and manager of the group process. It is up to the leader to provide a context in which multiple accounts can emerge for consideration.

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