Narrative Therapy Client or Narrator

My mind is extremely active in my sleep. I wake up with multiple ideas, with these first-of-day thoughts some of my clearest and most creative. As the conscious day continues, these ideas sometimes start to fade, or sometimes I talk myself out of them. I have considered this tendency and one possiblity is that through the day, I repeat dominant stories (narratives) which discourage me from pursuing the ideas that I have at waking. There could be many examples of this, but one that springs to mind is how clear my professional future seems when I awaken. It seems straightforward and obvious and I feel excitement at the possibilities and potential. As the day goes on, however, I begin to tell myself that it isn’t as straightforward as it seemed on waking. I begin to make every excuse available. Within a few hours, the dream has faded and I have become much more “reliable”. Why should I spend my work week doing such things as counselling from love and passion, when I can work in government and support my child (that responsibility often comes up)? By noon, I have talked myself out of my dreams. I have found from these initial waking experiences that problems seem easy to solve, creativity flows and my mind is filled with hope and creativity. My conscious mind then takes over, sadly.

Regarding creativity – I have been uncomfortable with the label of client in Narrative Therapy and I haven’t found (in my conscious states) a term that seems to better fit. In differing therapeutic models, other words have been used. In psychoanalysis, the term analysand has been used. In other (especially medically modelled) pathologising approaches, patient is used. Client has been used in an attempt to redefine the relationship (I remember reading the great therapist, Carl Rogers, talk of his dissatisfaction with this term). I would suggest this poor fit is the case with Narrative Therapy – another term needs to be used to suggest the centered place of the person coming to therapy. I woke up this morning with the words narrator and protagonist in my head. Another of those moments of clarity, perhaps. My first instinct is that the term narrator is most suited, I will be thinking of how this fits within Narrative Therapy over the coming weeks, to see if it seems to apply to those with whom I will work in Narrative Therapy.