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Learn how to help your clients rewrite their life stories to overcome difficulties, articulate their values and dreams, and embody their preferred identities. Narrative practices and positive psychology complement one another and enrich your therapeutic work.
This course offers a unique approach that integrates research findings about happiness derived from positive psychology with the fundamentals of narrative practices, including
- Understanding therapy as co-research and “tip of the branch” research
- Exploring dominant/alternative stories and preferred identities
- Externalizing conversations and their relationship to optimism
- Highlighting unique outcomes and their relationship to the client’s values and dreams
- Learning about relational identity and clients’ positive relationships
- Conducting narrative interviews about strengths
- Engaging in re-authoring conversations and using the power of writing to promote well-being
- Creating definitional ceremonies that strengthen meaning and the savoring of clients’ achievements.
Positive Psychology and Narrative Practices in Therapy is an eight-week course beginning May 3, with live webinars on Tuesdays from 12:00 to 1:30 pm EDT. After the final day of class, students will have another five weeks of access to the virtual classroom, including the recordings of webinars.
1. Narrative Psychology and Narrative Practices
Explore the psychological importance of story-ing, or narrating experience; learn about the “text analogy”; and examine dominant and alternative stories and their role in the construction of personal identities.
2. The Integration of Positive Psychology and Narrative Work
Positive psychology and narrative therapy, while they come from very different traditions, have much in common. They build on each other. This class offers a rationale for how they can be used together to potentiate therapeutic transformation.
3. Using Writing and Conversation to Strengthen Our Preferred Identities
Reflection and dialogue are generative and become motors for transformation. Throughout the course, you will complete a number of written exercises, and practice and develop the skills you’re learning with your colleagues, in various conversational formats.
Learn how to use questions, dialogue, and written documents to
- Separate the problem from the person and foster self-efficacy
- Identify problem-saturated stories and unique outcomes that challenge these dominant stories and allow hope to emerge
- Highlight experiences in clients’ lives that strengthen positive identities
- Find out how important relationships contribute to the client’s life, and inquire about the contributions the client makes to the lives of others
- Accompany clients in their journey toward their preferred ways of being and toward flourishing, happier lives.
Who This Course Is For
The course is designed for therapists who already have a foundation in positive psychology (or can commit to the pre-work video lectures to get grounded in positive psychology) and want to create a synergy between the study of human flourishing and narrative work.
This section includes multiple videos. Click “next” to navigate to each video.
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Weekly exercises include peer-to-peer video calls (via Skype, for example) to practice narrative conversations and foster generative dialogues. Students should have (or be willing to learn) rudimentary skills in using video call technology.
Schedule and Time Commitment
Students are expected to devote approximately three hours per week to the course:
- 1 hour of reading
- 1.5 hours for the webinar
- 30 minutes for personal exercises
- 30 minutes for conversation with a peer.
- Reading one chapter from the textbook and/or one journal article per week
- Doing one or more individual exercises (which will not be shared)
- Having a conversation with a peer to share reflections about the week’s reading and exercises.