Narrative Therapy Guide to Couple Counselling

Narrative therapy informed Rational Interviewing is a highly respectful, highly effective, non-blaming approach to relationship therapy, that centres the couple as the experts in their own lives.

Dr. Stephen Madigan’s therapeutic work is influenced by the idea that couple’s coming to see him in therapy are much more skilled and far more interesting than the narrow descriptions they often come to therapy with and/or the thin conclusion others may hold about them.

In his development of the notion that people’s lives are organized by the stories they tell and those that others construct about them, Dr. Madigan works to re-author and counter those stories (forming counter-stories) that shape and negatively affect people’s lives and relationships.

Before the first two hour session even begins, Dr. Madigan assumes that the couple’s seeking his help arrive into therapy with numerous (and very often forgotten!) competencies, beliefs, values, skills, ethics, commitments and abilities. Uncovering, remembering, discussing and appreciating a couple’s unique abilities assists them in the process of changing their ‘relationship’ to the conflict in their lives.

Dr Madigan assists couple’s to resolve longstanding problems by enabling them to separate their lives and relationships from specific historical ideas, influences, habits, patterns and stories they judge to be impoverishing and no longer helpful.

Dr Madigan does not take a position on whether the relationship should stay together or separate.

Dr Madigan’s ideas on therapeutic change involve discussions with you that include:

  1. Discussing the values of the pre-problem relationship before the conflict,
  2. Helping couple’s clearly define what the patterns, habits, history, context and language of the conflict are,
  3. Discovering how the problem negatively affects couple relationships,
  4. Discussing the many losses the problem has created in relationship life and discovering your response to these losses,
  5. Uncovering and appreciating a couple’s skills, knowledge, history and abilities that contradict the problem lifestyle,
  6. Helping couple’s craft a statement of position regarding their preferred pathways to change in both your own life and in relationships (with your partner, work, children, family, friends etc) and,
  7. Helping you maintain and sustain these changes as building block solutions for long term health and change.