Running head: FAMILY THERAPY 1









Experiential Family Therapy versus Narrative Family Therapy

6650N Psychotherapy with groups and Families.











Experiential Family Therapy and Narrative Family Therapy

An effective theory regarding psychotherapeutic practice is one that offers a framework that monitors thoughts, actions and interventions of psychologists in the course of a therapeutic process. This type of theory may act or serve as a roadmap used by therapists because they follow guidelines during the multifaceted journey that leads towards the psyche of another individual or patient (Nichols & Davis, 2020). There exist innumerable useable therapeutic orientations in the realm of clinical psychology such as narrative and family therapy. Each of these therapies consider the role of a clinical therapist as well as the behaviors, emotions and thoughts of patients in a very unique and distinct manner.

Key Points of Narrative Family Theory

Narrative theory separates individuals from their personal problems and encourages them to depend on their skills in order to minimize various issues or problems in their lives (Nichols & Davis, 2020). In the course of one’s life, individual experiences eventually become personal stories, which are given a meaning because they play a significant role in shaping individual identity. This theory makes use of power derived from such stories an helps individuals discover their purpose in life. Therapists often do this by assigning patients the role of a narrator based on their individual stories (Nichols & Davis, 2020). Next, both the patient and therapist involved in narrative theory recognize and build upon preferred or alternative storylines, which may exist away from the problem story. As such, they are able to offer contrasts to individual problem and helps individuals to reflect their true nature, consequently allowing them to rewrite their stories (Nichols & Davis, 2020).

Strengths and Weakness

By helping patients to identify what may be absent but implicit, patients are able to move towards the unknown from what is known (Nichols & Davis, 2020). Narrative family theory allows therapists to recognize and understand what is valuable to an individual in a wider context beyond their problems. As a result, individuals may be able to discover a link between their thoughts, actions and choices, thereby helping them to gain agency for dealing with any future problems in their lives. In a family setting, the approach of externalizing problems helps to bring about positive interactions between families besides making negative communication to become more meaningful and accepting (Nichols & Davis, 2020). Regarding problems in an objective manner helps families to reconnect in their relationships and are able to address how existing problem has tested the core strengths of their relationships or bond. However, the theory carries potential weakness because it makes people to feel uncomfortable of narrating and driving the process of therapy particularly for individuals who are not articulate (Wheeler, 2014).

Key Points of Experiential Family Therapy

The main tenet of experimental based therapy centers on the idea of experimenting, which is considered as the main vehicle towards the attainment of therapeutic changes (Nichols & Davis, 2020). This type of theory indicates that individuals have the potential to experience and may incorporate inner ways of human beings including their capabilities. Nonetheless, the potentials of experimenting may not comprise of particular feelings or behaviors (Wheeler, 2014). Even though particular actions or emotions may appear to accompany a specific state of being, psychologists consider this distinct from the critical idea of potential for experiencing (Nichols & Davis, 2020).

Strengths and Weakness

Experimental family theory helps families to understand that they in a continuous state of being, which defines his or her experiences of living or the world (Wheeler, 2014). For instance, individuals may be controlled, drawn into, be confident, be attacked or be honest. Experimental family therapy helps families to resolve past trauma, conflicts as well as buried emotions because they are able to understand better problem-solving skills including the most effective methods of creating healthier relationships (Nichols & Davis, 2020). Most of these benefits are obtained naturally as families focus on the activity instead of relying on talk therapy. The second level of human experiences cited in experimental family theory is deeper potential, which characterizes various states of being, which are often further away from individual consciousness (Wheeler, 2014). In most cases, these states complex and elusive when compared to operating potentials because individuals may decide to avoid or suppress deeper potentials.

Selected Family


The family I have selected is the Jacksons’. They are a family of four, and consisting of the parents, a daughter who is now 16 years old and a son, 8 years old. The family have brought their daughter who they say has become rebellious. However, discussions with the family show that they all have untold issues due to communication problems. I have decided to use experiental family therapy to counsel the family. Experimental family therapy helps families to resolve past trauma, conflicts as well as buried emotions because they are able to understand better problem-solving skills including the most effective methods of creating healthier relationships (Nichols & Davis, 2020).

Part 2: Family Genogram







Great grand mother

Great grand father



Great grand mother

Great grand father










Grand Mom mom

Grand Mom mom



Grand Dad

Grand Dad









Mrs Jackson mom




Mr. Jackson


























Nichols, M., & Davis, S. D. (2020). The essentials of family therapy (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice. New York, NY: Springer.


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