What is narrative therapy?

 

For its purest definition, I suggest going straight to the source. I trained at the Dulwich Centre where narrative therapy was founded in the 1980s. They provide great resources on their website here

 

Of course, each narrative practitioner has their own preferences around which aspects they draw upon in their practice. Some examples of key narrative concepts I personally use are:

  • The externalisation of problems, which means that I ask questions that help us see problems as existing outside of ourselves rather than inside of us as inherent flaws in our thinking, brain, behaviour and so on.

  • The creation of documents (such as letters, drawings, lyrics, maps or any other culturally or personally preferred mediums) to support therapeutic processes

  • Re-authoring practices - questions that help alleviate the influence that problem narratives (dominant ideas or social expectations of who we “should” be according to things like gender, age, socio-economic status and so on) and bring preferred narratives to life.

I would also suggest browsing my Instagram and Medium to get a better sense of some of my ideas and approaches.

 

Are you qualified to be a therapist?

 

Yes. I am a narrative therapist accredited by the Australian Counselling Association. I completed my studies through the University of Melbourne as a Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work and did my direct training at the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide. I have also completed Mental Health First Aid training and the LivingWorks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. 

Do you do medicare rebates?

No. Narrative therapy is not currently covered. However, I do work with a sliding scale, which means I am open to taking into account people's financial circumstances to arrange pricing that suits. This is because I am committed to making therapy as accessible to as many people as possible. Note that gap payments left after medicare rebates can sometimes be far more expensive than people anticipate due to some professionals charging above $200 a session. 

Are you qualified to talk about diagnosed depression and anxiety?

 

Please note that I am not a clinical psychologist. This means I cannot diagnose and there are limits in my practice. My undergraduate studies were in Professional Communications, majoring in journalism and media. I am experienced talking about a range of mental health issues with clients, however only to a certain extent. I am very transparent about this with my clients and offer them referrals to other suitable practitioners if I feel they could be better helped elsewhere in conjunction with narrative therapy. 

 

I’m still not sure about therapy, can I ask you some questions to see if it’s definitely for me?

 

Of course! This is why I offer the free 20-minute introductory call. It’s there for you to clear up any hesitations you have and simply see if you and I would make the right fit for therapy. If you’re still unsure what to ask me, I recommend checking out the Australian Counselling Association's question guide aimed at helping clients get their facts straight with the therapist they’re working with. 

 

What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?

 

Currently, I am only advertising narrative therapy as my main practice because I’m in the process of finalising my accreditations in nutrition and exercise coaching. However, some of you may have heard about my health coaching in the pipeline directly through me, via my social media or through word of mouth, so I want to provide you with the necessary information for the time being.

 

My health coaching and narrative therapy practices are completely different. Coaching focuses on goal setting and the future. Therapy looks at the past in order to make meaning of the present. 

 

Do I need therapy or coaching?

 

It’s important that we establish which of the two you’re after from the get-go because it massively determines the kind of questions I ask you. 

 

Coaching is a useful tool in keeping you accountable to whatever task, goal or project you choose. It’s possible to do both. I prefer to do this by dedicating single sessions to one or the other. I prefer not to split sessions in half (i.e. 30 minutes coaching, 30 minutes therapy) because the contrast can be stark. 

I would suggest booking in to one of my 20-minute free calls if you're still unsure!

 

I’m having thoughts of suicide. Are you the person to talk to?

 

If this is the main reason for seeking therapy, I would recommend finding another practitioner. I can provide you with options of professionals that I like to refer to. I am committed to being honest about my capabilities. If conversations of suicidality arise in our sessions I am experienced in exercising a duty of care as per the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training and Mental Health First Aid training I received. I also follow the guidelines set out by the Australian Counselling Association, which is the organisation I’m accredited with. It is important that you’re aware that I am not a clinical psychologist. I am qualified to talk about a range of problems and am committed to continuously expanding my knowledge, experience and training. Please feel free to discuss this topic with me further. 

 

I can’t afford therapy, but I know I really need it right now. What would you suggest?

 

I run my practice on a sliding scale, which means that I am open to negotiating my prices to fit your current financial circumstances. You’re welcome to email me or book in for a free 20-minute call to discuss this and any other questions.

© 2020 by Mim Kempson