The Power of Narrative in Clinical Therapy

Discover the importance of narratives in clinical therapy and how stories can enhance the therapeutic process, foster connection, and promote healing.
Psychology Narrative Cover

Illustration "Narrative" by Leonardo AI

Introduction

Throughout history, storytelling has been integral to communicating, learning, and making sense of the world. In recent years, the importance of narrative has also emerged as a critical element within clinical therapy. As therapists and researchers delve deeper into the power of storytelling, it becomes increasingly clear that understanding and engaging with a client’s narrative is essential for effective therapy and promoting healing, fostering connection, and enhancing the therapeutic process overall.

This article explores the importance of the narrative in the clinical therapeutic space, discussing why narrative matters in therapy, how stories can be used within the therapeutic process, and the benefits of incorporating narrative approaches into clinical practice.

Why Narrative Matters in Therapy

At its core, therapy is about understanding clients’ stories about themselves, their experiences, and their relationships with others. These narratives provide a framework for clients to make sense of their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and identify patterns that may contribute to their psychological distress or challenges.

As clients share their stories, therapists can gain insight into their unique perspectives and experiences, allowing for a more empathetic and tailored approach to treatment. Furthermore, engaging with a client’s narrative can facilitate the development of a solid therapeutic alliance, which is a critical factor in determining the success of therapy (1).

Moreover, the process of storytelling can be therapeutic in and of itself. As clients narrate their experiences, they may make connections, identify patterns, and gain new insights into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This process can lead to increased self-awareness, self-compassion, and a deeper understanding of the underlying issues contributing to their distress (2).

Narrative Approaches in Clinical Practice

Several therapeutic approaches specifically focus on the importance of narrative in the therapeutic process, including narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychodynamic therapy.

Narrative therapy, developed by Michael White and David Epston, is perhaps the most well-known approach that places narrative at the center of the therapeutic process (3). In narrative therapy, clients are encouraged to view their lives as stories. The therapist serves as a co-editor or co-author in helping them reshape and reauthor their narratives. The goal is to help clients develop new, more empowering stories about themselves and their experiences, thus promoting change and growth.

In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), narrative plays a significant role in helping clients to identify and challenge cognitive distortions or inaccurate thoughts and beliefs that contribute to emotional distress and maladaptive behaviors (4). By examining clients’ experiences, therapists can help them develop more accurate and adaptive narratives that promote emotional well-being and effective coping strategies.

Psychodynamic therapy, which has its roots in the work of Sigmund Freud, also strongly emphasizes the importance of narrative in the therapeutic process. In this approach, therapists help clients explore and make sense of their unconscious thoughts, feelings, and desires, often through analyzing dreams, fantasies, and past experiences (5). By navigating the narrative landscape of a client’s unconscious mind, therapists can help them gain insight into the underlying issues contributing to their distress, ultimately promoting healing and growth.

Benefits of Incorporating Narrative Approaches in Clinical Practice

There are several benefits to incorporating narrative approaches within the clinical therapeutic space, including:

1. Enhanced therapeutic alliance: As mentioned earlier, engaging with a client’s narrative can facilitate the development of a robust therapeutic alliance, which is critical in determining the success of therapy (1).

2. Increased client self-awareness and self-compassion: The process of storytelling can help clients gain new insights into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, leading to increased self-awareness and self-compassion (2).

3. Greater empathy and understanding: When therapists actively engage with a client’s narrative, they can better understand their unique experiences and perspectives, allowing for a more empathetic and tailored approach to treatment.

4. Empowerment and resilience: Encouraging clients to reshape and reauthor their narratives can help them develop new, more empowering stories about themselves and their experiences, promoting change, growth, and resilience in adversity.

Conclusion

The importance of narrative in the clinical therapeutic space cannot be overstated. By engaging with clients’ stories, therapists can foster connection, promote healing, and enhance the overall therapeutic process. As the field of clinical therapy continues to evolve, the power of narrative will undoubtedly remain a central aspect of effective and transformative treatment.

 

References:

1. Horvath, A. O., & Symonds, B. D. (1991). Relation between working alliance and outcome in psychotherapy: A meta-analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38(2), 139-149. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0022-0167.38.2.139
2. Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8(3), 162-166. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1997.tb00403.x
3. White, M., & Epston, D. (1990). Narrative means to therapeutic ends. WW Norton & Company. https://wwnorton.com/books/9780393700985
4. Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). Guilford Press. https://www.guilford.com/books/Cognitive-Behavior-Therapy/Judith-Beck/9781609185046
5. Shedler, J. (2010). The efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 65(2), 98-109. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/a0018378

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FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

by ivan roca

GENERAL

Bioqr™ is bioenergy-assisted immune treatment. A therapist uses his own bio-electromagnetic field to stimulate the patient’s immune system in a nonspecific and specific way. The stimulated immune system responds and “heals” the patient.

Bioqr™ therapy is a bioenergy treatment first developed in Eastern-Europe in the late 1960s as a modern, secular approach to traditional hands-on healing methods with biological and physical reasoning. Later, the method crossed Eastern-Europe to ex-Yugoslavia in the late 1970s’ where it has merged with similar methodologies and has been researched and applied as a complementary medical intervention. The founder of Biotherapy Asia, Ivan Roca, adapted these methodologies and cleared it from the folklore and unnecessary procedures, techniques, and philosophies. Bioqr™ method is a purely medical, highly structured bioenergy system that can be easily applied in a clinical or non-formal environment. The name of the method is Bioqr™ – Human Bioenergy Therapy.

Bioenergy is the energy dynamic observed within living organisms. Also, it is a scientific name that tries to encompass a very broad interdisciplinary area of research into the energy of a living organism. “Bios” is an Ancient Greek word meaning life, and energy is another Ancient Greek word, meaning activity, but here it signifies potential and possibility. Bioenergy has nothing to do with concepts like bioplasma, Chi, Qi, Ki, Prana, Universal energy, Life energy or Orgon.

Yes, with an electromyography device (EMG).

EMG is an electrodiagnostic medicine technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. EMG is performed using an instrument called an electromyograph to produce a record called an electromyogram. An electromyograph detects the electric potential generated by muscle cells when these cells are electrically or neurologically activated.

No. The therapy is successful even if a person does not believe in the biological effect of the immune system stimulation with the human bioenergy field, which is a result of ignorance and a lack of information.

The body response does not depend on our beliefs. It is an automatic and autonomic biological process.

A Bioqr™ therapist uses different hand positions and movements in combination with muscular tension and/or relaxation to stimulate the recipient’s immune system for his/her specific medical condition. Human endogenous bio-electromagnetic radiation interferes with the bioenergy processes of a diseased person to alter the metabolism and cause a body shock response that triggers the immune system activation in a specific and non-specific way.
Every movement has a different energetic signature so that the biotherapist can trigger an immune response in different tissues for different purposes. Immune response due to a “shock” to maintain homeostasis (check danger model of the immune system from Dr. Polly Matzinger), stimulates natural defenses.

A therapist uses muscular tension and relaxation to consciously send bioelectrical signaling (active potentials) of a higher or lower electromagnetic radiation intensity into the area of the hands. Propagation of the action potentials in the nerves and muscles produces a bio-electromagnetic field that radiates outside of the human body.

All the ‘manipulation’ processes occur automatically which is a completely natural process that is constantly taking place, but most of the time we are not aware of it. Bioenergy therapy is the application of natural energy processes and laws for awakening your own immune defenses, which due to a disharmonious way of life or due to some other factors (genetics, environment, etc.) become weakened or stop functioning entirely.

Learn HERE more.

Bioenergetics is the part of biochemistry concerned with the energy involved in making and breaking of chemical bonds in the molecules found in biological organisms. It can also be defined as the study of energy relationships and energy transformations and transductions in living organisms. The ability to harness energy from a variety of metabolic pathways is a property of all living organisms. Growth, development, anabolism, and catabolism are some of the central processes in the study of biological organisms because the role of energy is fundamental to such biological processes. Life is dependent on energy transformations; living organisms survive because of the exchange of energy between living tissues/ cells and the outside environment.

The essence of the biofield perspective is that a variety of endogenously generated electromagnetic and other fields act within and between multiple levels of biology, from molecular and cellular, through tissues and whole organisms to affect our personal and perhaps even our interpersonal functioning. The human body is a biofield.

Biofield science is an emerging field of study that aims to provide a scientific foundation for understanding the complex homeodynamic regulation of living systems. By furthering our scientific knowledge of the biofield, we arrive at a better understanding of the foundations of biology as well as the phenomena that have been described as “energy medicine.”
Biotherapy is biofield therapy.

Yes, bioenergy/energy therapy is nowadays practiced throughout the world and is called biofield therapy. New approaches in scientific research are slowly revealing the possible mechanism of bioenergy therapy. Many hospitals and medical centers are slowly starting to integrate bioenergy therapy to complement and support conventional medicine.

THERAPY

No, Bioqr™ therapy is complementary and supplementary to all other medical and ‘alternative’ therapies, even though, in many cases, it is much more successful and efficient. After therapy, you should not discontinue the medication or other treatments or medical procedures prescribed by your doctor. Only a biomedical check-up can confirm improvement and make further decisions in conjunction with the patient about continuing or discontinuing conventional medical treatment.

With groups of people, energy potentials multiply and “share” automatically. When in a group, it is easier to observe improvement during the therapy itself. It is also easier to exchange experiences. Group dynamics are an essential part of the subconscious work.

No! A natural energy process cannot be harmful in itself. Biotherapy is a noninvasive treatment without side-effects.

Yes, a diagnosis is necessary from a doctor. We do not diagnose.

No special preparation is needed. It is advisable to come at least 15 minutes before the beginning of therapy. It is desirable to free yourself from as many commitments as possible during the therapy days. Strong reactions during therapy are possible which can interfere with our everyday activities. It can be detrimental to the therapy if we are forced to rush off somewhere, or if we are not totally committed to the therapeutic process. Therapy cannot be beneficial if we are feeling pressured.

Depending on the individual, what is felt ranges from very powerful sensations to no sensation at all. Some people feel a tingling, burning or prickling sensation, coldness, draft, pressure, momentary relief, fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrollable laughter or crying, a floating sensation in the extremities, body movement, dizziness or vertigo. Whether or not a patient feels something during therapy, is not an indication of the success of the therapy, because everybody is unique and therefore they react in unique ways.

No, only a medical specialist can decide about discontinuing the medication. 

After 15 to 30 days, depending on the condition treated, one can expect results that can be objectively measured by means of clinical medicine. Sometimes in the first 15 days after therapy symptoms increase, or a sudden deterioration occurs, which is a crisis that signifies a strong bodily reaction to the intensified activities of a regenerated immune system.

Therapy can be repeated in consultation with a therapist and in accordance with other therapeutic forms that are applied.

Yes, but it is important for the patient to personally commit to the decision to stop drug or alcohol misuse.

All diseases can be treated successfully. With some diseases, the objective success will be complete recovery, while with others, symptoms of the disease will be alleviated, or the result will be greater independence for the patient or arrest the development of the disease, depending on a number of factors that are not directly related to Bioqr™ therapy. We don’t treat medical conditions with psychosis or contagious diseases.

Yes, except schizophrenia and other mental diseases with psychosis. Patients with mental diseases must be accompanied.

With genetic diseases, we can only maintain symptoms with treatments on a monthly or a bi-monthly basis.

Yes, children of any age can be treated.

Yes. If the patient is vulnerable or being cared for by somebody else, then they will need to be accompanied.

Yes, it is possible for educational or research purposes and if you accompany someone else for some objective medical reason.

There is no price enforced for the therapy. At the end of the therapy session, an anonymous donation is made to the therapist.

MISCONCEPTIONS

Bioqr™ therapy is not based around the traditional concepts of the Life Force or Life energy like Qi or Prana. These concepts belong to Vitalism which was dropped in biology almost 100 years ago. Traditional concepts of the Life Force don’t have any scientific evidence to support its existence. Also, modern biophysics, biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, and genetics operate in a realm of the modern understanding of the world which is evidence-based knowledge. Qi, Prana, Pneuma and Life Force are spiritual concepts that are not biological or physical. The etymology of the words Qi, Prana, and Spirit is the same, the breath. 

No, we are based on a very modern approach to bioenergy therapy. Chakras and Auras don’t exist in a biological realm. They are only interesting mental concepts developed as a part of the New Age movement. To put it in a simple way, there is no Chakra and Aura as physical entities. They are just concepts.

Nothing in the classical sense where the healer is considered to be more spiritual than others. Medicine is a science of the mind, body and social well-being. Spirituality is a concept of the world that has many different faces and understandings. Medicine and spirituality are two completely different subjects. In some special cases, spiritual thinking can be beneficial for the patients, for example in hospice, pain management, palliative care, psychological work, etc.

No, this is a misconception that has roots in spiritism and animism. Energy is not bad or good. Energy is benevolent. Sometimes people use the word “energy” to express emotional states which are purely subjective and have nothing to do with term energy in modern physics.

Nothing, it is another misconception where a few psychological phenomena were thought to be the sixth sense. Unfortunately, humans don’t have magneto-receptors and electro-receptors beyond 5 senses which are developed due to our evolutionary needs to protect and survive.

No, anyone can do energy therapy. Healing is not a supernatural ‘special power’ that somebody possesses, but an application of knowledge and skills.