{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Narrative and Play Therapy - Narrative Means to Adlerian...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–19. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
Image of page 3

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
Image of page 5

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 6
Image of page 7

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 8
Image of page 9

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 10
Image of page 11

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 12
Image of page 13

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 14
Image of page 15

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 16
Image of page 17

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 18
Image of page 19
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Narrative Means to Adlerian Ends: An Illustrated Comparison of Narrative Therapy and Adlerian Play Therapy Susan Dahlgren Daigneault Abstract The author compares the theoretical congruencies underlying narrative therapy and Adlerian Play Therapy and demonstrates how these two approaches can be com- bined to create a treatment plan for workin with children. The author presents a case study involving a 10-year-old daughter of ivorced parents whose problems at home and at school were successfully treated using a combination of narrative and Adlerian Play Therapy techniques. One of the most widely accepted approaches for working with young clients is Play Therapy. Other counseling traditions have borrowed techniques from play approaches in working with children. For example, both narrative therapists and Adlerian therapists have established literatures on using play techniques in their work with children (Freeman, Epston, & Lobovits, 1997; Freeman & Lobovits, 1993; Kottman, 1995; Kottman & Schaefer, 1993; Kottman & Warlick, 1989, 1990). However, nothing exists in the literature to suggest that narrative and Adlerian play therapies might be compatible in combination for working with children. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how the language and tech- niques used by narrative therapists are theoretically congruent with many of the principles of Adlerian Play Therapy. By using a specific case illustration of a therapist's work with a 10-year-old girl, I present an example of how narra- tive techniques can be used to reach Adlerian goals. In presenting an argument for combining a narrative approach with an Adlerian framework, 1 focus on (a) theoretical assumptions of narrative and Adlerian play therapies and (b) technical congruencies between narrative and Adlerian play therapies. Theoretical A_u|u_n.flons Narrative and Adlerian Play Therapy approaches to working with chil- dren have several common underlying assumptions. For example, both approaches stress the importance of working with the child’s preferred ways of expressing himself or herself. Additionally, both therapies are based on a The loumal of Individual Psychology, Vol. 55. No. 3, Fall 1999 O1999 by the University of Texas Press, P.O. Box 7819, Austin. TX 78713-7819 Narrative Thm 299 belief that it is important to develop a therapeutic relationship with the child for therapy to have success. This section of the article will expand on these assumptions and outline the process and techniques used in each therapeu- tic model. Narrative Therapy. Underlying the narrative approach to therapy are several key assumptions. First, narrative therapy is grounded in the theories of social constructionism and postmodernism, theories that emphasize that ”knowledge is socially constructed” (Smith, 1997, p. 3). According to social constructionists and postmodernists, who we are and what we do with our lives is strongly influenced by the culture in which we live. Second, narrative therapy is based on the idea that people make meaning in their lives through the stories that they construct and the stories that they tell. The stories that we invent to tell about ourselves and how we are in our relations with others contain within them the themes, values, and beliefs that guide the ways we live our lives (Parry, 1998). These stories have "a profound effect on present behavior and future possibilities” (Strand, 1997, p. 338). People present for therapy because their stories are limiting them from leading fulfilled and sat- isfying lives. A third assumption of the narrative perspective is that therapy is essentially a life-story modification (Howard, 1991). Therapeutic work re- volves around facilitating the creation of new stories, ”life narratives that are more empowering, more satisfying, and give hope for better futures” (Hoyt, 1994, p. 69). A final assumption of the narrative perspective is that people have the capacity to reauthor their lives. Through the therapeutic process, people discover which stories are limiting them from leading fulfilled lives and begin to ”generate new and more adaptive narratives” (Strand, 1997, p. 325). The process of helping clients to develop alternate stories involves sev- eral techniques. Therapy begins with establishing a therapeutic relationship with clients, a relationship that is aided by getting to know clients apart from the problems that have brought them to therapy. Therapy generally begins with the therapist’s encouraging the client to talk about himself or herself, to share stories about his or her life. In establishing a safe, comfortable, conver- sational environment and getting to know the client apart from his or her problems, the narrative therapist uses a linguistic process called ”externalization” (Freeman, Epston, & Lobovits, 1997). Through this process, the client begins to think of himself or herself as having a relationship with his or her problems rather than looking at himself or herself as being the problem. "The focus in an externalizing conversation is on expanding choice and possibility in the relationship between persons and problems” (p. 9). Externalizing conversations begin by the therapist's asking the client to give a name to the problem that confronts him or her. Clues as to an appropriate 300 Susan Dahl ren Dai eault _________ __________________________ ___________ name tor the problem can be determined from the client’s own language. Naming the problem frequently involves the creation of a metaphor that fa- cilitates viewing the problem as a separate entity from the client. Once a name has been created for the problem, therapy proceeds with the counselor’s encouraging the client to describe the influence of the prob- lem on his or her life. Puzzling together (Smith 8: Nylund, 1997), the therapist and client try to determine how the problem stories got a foothold in the client’s life and to map out the effect of the problem in detail on the client's life (Freeman, Epston, & Lobovits, 1997). During this deconstructing stage of therapy, the therapist asks many questions in an attempt not only to learn the history of the problem story but also to listen for unique outcomes, times when the client has had success in taming the problem (Parry 8: Doan, 1994). These unique outcomes provide a basis for building and strengthening an alternate story, a story in which the client is the author of his or her own life and is no longer troubled by the problem. To thicken the emerging plot of the alternate stories, stories in which the client sees himself or herself living a more satisfying life, the narrative thera- pist frequently involves significant others to support the client’s making changes and practicing these changes. Involving significant others in the client's therapy fosters more open communication (Focht 8: Beardslee, 1996), enriches prob- lem-solving (Adams-Westcott 8: Dobbins, 1997), and can provide the significant others with suggestions ”about different ways of handling prob- lems and new ways of interacting” with each other (Kottman 8: Johnson, 1993, p. 51). Another emphasis in narrative therapy is for the therapist to encourage the client's sense of personal agency, a term used to refer to the client’s strengths and abilities (O’Connor, Meakes, Pickering, & Schuman, 1997). These per- sonal strengths and abilities can be recruited to help the client ”re-story” (Hoyt, 1994, p. 68) his or her relationship with the problem. in encouraging the client's abilities, the narrative therapist not only uses verbal feedback and nonverbal cues but also emp|0ys various forms of written expression such as letters, certificates, and personal declarations (Hoyt). Letters between thera- pist and client can extend the effect of the therapy sessions, can render a new story more newsworthy, and can expand the client-therapist relationship (Parry 8: Doan, 1994; White & Epston, 1990). Adlerian PlayThenpy. Kottman (1995) and Kottman and Warlick(1989) integrated the concepts of Individual Psychology and the techniques of Adle- rian psychotherapy with the premises of Play Therapy and developed a new form of therapy: Adlerian Play Therapy. Assumptions underlying an Adlerian approach to therapy include the concept that people are social beings who have a need for connectedness and belonging. Individual Psychologists also Narrative Them 301 believe that people have the capacity to be creative in solving the problems that confront them. Another basic Adlerian concept is the notion of lifestyle, a unique system of beliefs that determines how the individual thinks, values, and feels about himself or herself (Sweeney, 1998). Individual Psychologists also believe that all behavior has a purpose (Kottman, 1995; Kottman & Johnson, 1993). According to Individual Psychology, four common goals of childhood misbehavior are attention, revenge, inadequacy, and power (Dreikurs 8: Soltz, 1964). These assumptions guide the process of Adlerian psychotherapy. Adlerian Play Therapy is an integration of these assumptions with the concepts underlying Play Therapy approaches to working with children. Play therapists believe that ”the natural medium of communication for children is play and activity” (Landreth, 1991 , p. 7). In addition, play helps children make sense of their worlds and helps them to give ”expression to their inner worlds” (p. 9). Play is used symbolically by children to change llwhat may be unmanageable in reality to manageable situations” (p. 12). Through meeting children at their level, the therapist uses play to develop a therapeutic work- ing relationship with children. Play therapy strategies can be used to help counselors build relation- ships with children, to understand how children view themselves and the world, and to help children understand their significance and ways of gain- ing significance in their worlds (Barnett, 1990; Kaduson & Schaefer, 1997; Kottman, 1995; Oaklander, 1 988). Stuffed animals, books, clay, puppets, sand trays, and drawing materials are some of the tools used by Adlerian play therapists (Freeman & Lobovits, 1993; Oster 8: Gould, 1987). When used in conjunction with such therapeutic techniques as encouragement, therapeu- tic metaphors (Kottman, 1995), investigation of family atmosphere and family constellation (Pepper, 1979; Stewart & Campbell, 1998), early recollections, and reflection of feelings (Kottman & Johnson, 1993), these tools encourage children to talk about their worlds. Technical Corguencies. When used in conjunction with Adlerian goals, the techniques and language of narrative therapy can complement a treat— ment approach for working with children. Adlerian Play Therapy has four goals: (a) establishing an egalitarian relationship, (b) investigating lifestyle, (c) interpreting lifestyle, and (d) reorienting. Using these four goals of Adle- rian Play Therapy as a framework for organizing the process of therapy, I present examples of narrative techniques that complement this framework. Establishing an egalitarian relationship. To foster the growth of an egali- tarian relationship between the child and the therapist, a fundamental objective of both Adlerian psychotherapy (Mosak, 1993) and narrative therapy (White & Epston, 1990), the Adlerian play therapist uses many of the techniques and 302 Susan Dahl n Dai eault ____________________________________ principles from Play Therapy. In this initial stage of therapy, where the focus is on relationship building, the therapist encourages the child’s self-exploration and self-direction (Axline, 1969). The therapist is warm, accepting, empathic, and genuine, thereby encouraging the child to develop feelings of security and self-acceptance (Kottman & Warlick, 1990). From a narrative perspective, relationship building is enhanced through getting to know children apart from the problems that bring them to therapy. Open-ended questions about children’s abilities, interests, strengths, experi— ences, and family relationships can help to uncover what is ”strong, adaptive, and resourceful" (Parry & Dean, 1994, p. 66) in the child’s history and can provide useful information in helping the child to create strategies for dealing with the problem. Investigating lifestyle. Techniques used in Individual Psychology to in— vestigate lifestyle include early recollections, exploration of family constellation, and considerations of the goals of misbehavior. Consulting with significant others in a child’s life also can help the therapist to uncover infor- mation about lifestyle. In investigating lifestyle, Adlerian play therapists use toys, puppets, and art materials. Narrative therapists are also interested in investigating lifestyle. For a narrative therapist, listening to a client’s stories is a way of understanding the client's lifestyle. Narrative therapists believe that people live their lives ac- cording to the stories that they construct and then tell about their lives. Adlerian play therapists believe that it is lifestyle that similarly defines how people live their lives. Narrative therapists keenly listen for themes as clients tell their stories. Inadequacy, lack of power, depression, and perfectionism are examples of themes that might dominate problematic stories. Problematic stories can limit people from leading fulfilled, empowered, and satisfying lives. Externalization and the creation of therapeutic metaphors are two techniques that assist in deconstructing the problem story. Interpreting lifestyle. During this phase of therapy, the Adlerian play thera- pist attempts to understand the meaning of the child’s lifestyle and the purpose of behavior through forming tentative hypotheses that are then shared with the child. These hypotheses can help the child gain insight into the lifestyle and encourage him or her to reform mistaken goals and basic convictions, explore options, and generate useful alternatives to ineffective behaviors (Kottman & Warlick, 1990). As narrative therapists listen to clients’ stories and attempt to deconstruct problematic stories, they, like Adlerian play therapists, are interpreting lifestyle in an attempt to understand the meanings that their clients give to their sto- ries. Again, the techniques of externalization and therapeutic metaphors are helpful to narrative therapists in making hypotheses about the meaning of the stories their clients tell. Narrative Ther_apy 303 Reorienting. The main goal of the reorienting phase of Adlerian Play Therapy is to help the child see that some of his or her behaviors and attitudes are disadvantageous and may need to be changed (Kottman, 1995; Kottman & Warlick, 1990) so that he or she can live a more fulfilling life. Techniques that Adlerian play therapists use during this phase include consulting with significant others, encouraging the child to practice alternative behaviors, helping the child to relate the insights from the play to real life, and fostering social interest. Social interest is fostered through the encouraging, accepting attitude that the therapist conveys to the child. Through encouragement, self- acceptance is nurtured, and the child begins to overcome emotional isolation and to express increased interest in social relatedness. Narrative techniques that complement these Adlerian concepts include creating the alternate story, asking the miracle question, looking for unique outcomes, recruiting a wider audience, and encouraging personal agency. Cre- ating an alternate story, one that is more satisfying and advantageous than the problematic story that brought the child to therapy, is a task similar to the Adlerian task of encouraging children to practice alternative behaviors. Like Individual Psychologists, narrative therapists during this phase of treatment work to increase their client’s level of insight regarding the negative influence of problematic stories or problematic behaviors. Techniques that narrative thera- pists use to thicken the plot of the emerging story (White 8: Epston, 1990) include asking the miracle question and looking for unique outcomes, examples of times when the client is already experiencing the miracle. The term ”per- sonal agency” refers to clients’ strengths and abilities that can be helpful to them in changing their stories and their relationships to the problems confront- ing them. This term relates to the Adlerian belief that people have the creative ability to solve their own problems. In using the concept of personal agency, narrative therapists use terms like standing up to perfectionism, taming anger, and outsmarting bad attitude (Pany & Doan, 1994) to imply that clients have the capacity to do something about the problems in their lives. The case study that follows illustrates how the language and techniques from narrative therapy can be used to complement this Adlerian framework for working with a school-age child. The case illustration summarizes an 8-session intervention designed to help a 10-year-old girl deal more con- structively with issues of perfectionism, worry, and school attendance. Case Illustration. Concerned that Katie was refusing to go to school and afraid that her absences would mean that she would have to spend a second year in fifth grade, Katie’s father called to initiate counseling for his daughter. During the initial telephone consultation, Katie’s father told me that he and Katie’s mother had divorced and remarried each other twice and were currently divorced. Katie’s mother had recently married another man. 304 Susan Dahl Dai eault _______________________________ During the time of her parent’s second divorce, Katie and her two older sis- ters had lived for a year in another state with a maternal aunt. When Katie returned home, she had initially lived with her mother but had fought con- tinually to be allowed to live with her father. Since moving in with her father, Katie has moved back and forth between parents. According to her father, Katie appeared to be the only one of her siblings who was experiencing a problem with deciding where to live. The father also shared that Katie has three sisters, ages 14, 13, and 5. Katie’s oldest sister has lived with her father since returning a year ago from her aunt’s home; the other two sisters live with their mother. Katie’s father felt that counseling might help Katie deal with the issues that were currently getting in her way of attending school and enjoying life. When Katie came for her first appointment, her father stayed with her to help her feel more comfortable and to provide me with additional information about Katie’s lifestyle. Session One. During our first session together, I pointed out the materials that Katie might use during her visits. I showed Katie the collection of hand puppets, drawing paper, markers, crayons, clay, books, and stuffed animals that they could use. Katie immediately picked up a teddy bear to cuddle and named the bear "Mrs. Huggabuggle.” At the beginning of every session, Katie located the bear and cuddled it tightly as her parent got ready to leave. As the sessions progressed and she became involved with the play activities and conversation, Katie let go of the bear but always kept it close by. Katie some- times brought one of her own stuffed animals or dolls to the sessions and talked about how she used them for comfort and for company, particularly at bedtime. Daigneault (1997), Tabin (1992), Roig, Roig, and Soth (1987), and Steude (1986) have suggested that children use inanimate objects, such as stuffed animals, as comforters during transitional times. Also during this session, I worked to establish rapport with Katie and encouraged her to talk abOut her life at home and at school. To investigate lifestyle and to get to know Katie apart from the problem that brought her to therapy, | asked Katie to talk about her interests, abilities, and experien...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern