By the time a person has come to therapy, the stories they have for themselves and their lives may have become completely dominated by problems that work to oppress them; these are often created within their family system from childhood.
Have you ever said or heard things like, for example:
’He’s always been the good son’ or
‘She’s the trouble-maker’
These kinds of stories can invite a powerful negative influence in the way people see their lives and capabilities within themselves as it can often be reinforced by family members around them and how they are treated i.e. through language and behaviour.
These are sometimes called problem-saturated stories. Problem-saturated stories can also become identities (e.g. seeing someone as a shoplifter vs. a person who has shoplifted). Separating the person from the problem in this way discourages labelling so that their problems do not become a description of themselves e.g. ‘she’s an anxious person’ or ‘they’re a problem family’.
How empowering would it be to make a simple linguistic or language shift from calling someone an anorexic to saying that someone had or is having a problem with anorexia?
I work collaboratively with all family members to create new narratives, strategies and interventions for a more positive way of relating to one another. Family members are given time and space to express and explore their differences with each other in safety, without recrimination or attack. Allowing each person to finally find their special voice to be heard; possibly for the first time.