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Narrating the dialogical self: Toward an expanded toolbox for the counselling psychologist

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A conception of the self as arising in narrative and sustained and transformed in dialogue carries novel implications for understanding the nature of client difficulties and resources and how change might be fostered in the counselling context. In this paper I comment on these implications, and extend their practical import by reviewing several specific tools for both reflecting upon and enacting narrative and dialogical processes that maintain and transform problem patterns. In particular, I present and illustrate a “Chapters of our Lives” technique whose aim is to articulate and potentially deconstruct client constructions of their experience across time, as well as a form of “externalized problem interviewing” that helps clients perform, and ultimately resist, the influence of the symptom or difficulty on them. These and numerous other methods more briefly described can help augment the toolbox of techniques available to counselling psychologists approaching their work from a broadly postmodern perspective.
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Keywords: Counselling psychologist; biographical construction; dialogical processes; narrative therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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