Rewriting Your Story: The Magic of Narrative Therapy for Identity and Gender Concerns

May 02, 2023

Written by: Maddie Hundley (Sheffer), MMFT @zillennialtherapy


As a young therapist trying to make it in Los Angeles, I was no stranger to stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. I often felt like I was running on a hamster wheel, chasing after success and trying to meet everyone's expectations. It wasn't until I discovered narrative therapy that I was able to slow down, take a step back, and truly examine my personal stories. I did this with a therapist in grad school and it changed my perspective on my life. I was able to visualize it and zoom out. Today is just an introduction on narrative therapy.


What is Narrative Therapy?

For those who are unfamiliar, narrative therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the stories we tell ourselves and how they shape our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and self-doubt, I found that narrative therapy helped me understand how my thoughts and beliefs were contributing to my negative emotions.


The Power of Language

One of the biggest things I learned through narrative therapy was the power of language. The words we use to describe ourselves and our experiences have a profound impact on how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world. Through narrative therapy, I was able to identify negative self-talk and replace it with more positive, empowering language.


How Narrative Therapy Can Help with Identity and Gender Concerns

Narrative therapy has also been incredibly helpful for me as a therapist working with clients who are struggling with identity, gender concerns, and queerness. By helping clients examine the stories they tell themselves about their experiences, we can identify any internalized biases or negative self-talk that may be holding them back.

For example, a client who is struggling with their gender identity may have internalized messages about what it means to be a "real" man or woman. By examining these stories and challenging them, we can help the client find greater self-acceptance and confidence in their gender identity.


How Narrative Therapy Can Help Queer People

Similarly, narrative therapy can be incredibly helpful for queer folx who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual or gender identity. By examining the stories they tell themselves about queerness, they can challenge any internalized homophobia or transphobia and find greater self-acceptance and empowerment.

In a world where queer individuals still face discrimination and marginalization, narrative therapy can be a powerful tool for promoting personal growth and healing. By examining and reshaping personal stories, queer individuals can find greater peace and fulfillment in their lives.



Self-Acceptance & Empowerment Through Telling Stories

In conclusion, narrative therapy is a powerful tool that can help individuals navigate the complex and often challenging journey of understanding and accepting their identities, especially when it comes to gender, sexuality, and queerness. As a young person and therapist trying to navigate life in LA, I have personally experienced the power of narrative therapy in my own life and in the lives of my clients. By examining and reshaping our personal stories, individuals can find greater self-acceptance, empowerment, and personal growth. I encourage anyone who is struggling with identity or gender concerns, or who identifies as queer, to consider exploring the benefits of narrative therapy.


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