Quick Summary: Narrative and Cognitive therapy both help people to think about their world a bit differently. Cognitive therapy helps people to look at and to change disruptive beliefs and Narrative therapy helps people to put more attention on the positive storylines that make up their reality. Both hold that positive thoughts and a positive self-narratives tend to have a positive or advantageous impact on a person’s behaviors and emotions.
A cognitive intervention rests on the idea that we humans tend to have many negative and self-defeating thoughts and beliefs which have a detrimental impact on our behaviors, emotions and overall quality of life.
- Cognitive psychotherapeutic interventions help people to focus their attention on these disruptive thoughts and beliefs so that those thoughts and beliefs can be adjusted so as to not have such a significant negative impact on a person’s life.
- Often these thoughts and beliefs are somewhat unconscious or at least beyond our control (this means that the beliefs and thoughts were accepted as ‘true’ without the person making a conscious choice about the validity of those thoughts and beliefs).
- Cognitive therapy is based on modernism. Modernism theory is the basis for scientific investigation… modernism believe that there is an objective, measurable and consistent reality.
- Therefore cognitive therapy deals with the removal of ‘false’ thoughts and beliefs… cognitive theory would feel justified in objectively labeling thoughts and beliefs as true or false.
There is significant overlap between many psychotherapy theories…
On the surface, Narrative therapy looks very similar to cognitive therapy.
Narrative therapy states that we live within the stories that we tell our selves and the stories which people tell regarding us. This means that according to narrative therapy your reality is determined by the beliefs that you choose to hold regarding your life.
- A narrative intervention would help people to ‘rewrite’ their personal life story so that their reality could be filled with greater positivity.
- Narrative therapy is based in postmodernism – in this theory, reality does not exist objectively, truth is simply what you believe to be true. If you believe that events in your life should make you unhappy than ‘unhappy’ will be your self-created reality.
- Narrative interventions are not concerned with true or false beliefs – as nothing is objectively true you can believe anything that you want to.
- Narrative therapy helps people to live within more positive and life enhancing narratives.
- Every day good and bad things happen – narrative therapy helps people to see that they choose which perceptions… which narratives… take the majority of their consciousness.