Narrative-informed life coaching can help you...

Cultivate greater emotional-, social- and self-awareness

We are surrounded by endless dominant narratives (otherwise known as social expectations) on how to be the 'best' kind of person - parent, partner, worker, woman and so on. If we, a) notice these narratives and the effect they have on our lives and, b) 'write' the narratives we'd prefer to live by into our realities, we set ourselves up to make positive changes in our lives more easily.

Change your relationship with problems

We cannot always eliminate problems, but we can definitely change the relationship we have with them. This is certainly true for people living with chronic illnesses, for example. In narrative-informed life coaching we do not use 'positive reframing' or 'mindset techniques' like we may expect from traditional life coaching. I take a more socially conscious approach to thinking about problems.

Enrich your relationships (including with yourself)

In narrative therapy identity is considered relational and performative. This means that we understand ourselves through the relationships we have with others. We 'perform' identity - it is fluid and varies from space to space. Keeping these ideas at the forefront of our minds and central in conversation, we gain more power and momentum in stepping into the person we'd like to be.

Gain clarity and confidence in decision making

Learn about what narratives and beliefs inform your decision making. Let's take a step back and consider how these are helping or hindering you. By building a greater understanding of our own values, skills and hopes, decision making comes easier.

Banish self-blame and inspire action

The person is not the problem - the problem is the problem. While accountability may be an important ingredient in taking action in our lives, we cannot say things like "hard work brings success" without acknowledging the fact that the gender pay gap exists and minorities face additional obstacles. The personal is often the political. Meaningful social and personal change comes when we notice these narratives around power then take action to change their effects.

My approach to health coaching

What does it really mean to be 'well'? Well, it changes over time and according to the dominant prevailing culture. Here's an example. Think about body image. As a woman, having a plump, fuller figure was once embraced as a sign of wealth, health and fertility. Later, a more slender physique came into fashion, representing a different set of values - control and discipline. Then, strong became the 'new skinny' and abs were the new standard. Wellness is culturally informed, and with this example I'm only just skimming the surface of gender and body-weight norms and stigmas. 

If you work with me as a narrative therapist, my approach does not involve conforming to trends. While I see the value in things like journaling, meditation and mindfulness, I veer away from prescribing activities as a blanket approach. Instead, we work with narratives. The activities that I do suggest will often come from the field of narrative therapy.

 

First, we pinpoint the dominant stories that have shaped us. Second, we determine which aspects of these stories we approve of, and which we reject - have these stories helped us or hindered us? Lastly, we work together in bringing preferred stories to life - stories that support the person we'd like to be. Of course, the process is not this linear or clear cut, but it's a general gist of the approach I take. Read more about my approach.

© 2020 by Mim Kempson