Experiential and Narrative Family Therapy

Experiential and Narrative Family Therapy





, 2020













Introduction: Experiential and Narrative Family Therapy

Families have problems that impacts the relationships among its members. The problems can create disconnections, unresolves problems, arguments that can possibly lead to dissolution of the marriage. Family therapy creates/nurtures intimate relationships by introducing changes that strengthens the bonds/connections between couples and other members of the family (Duarte, 2019). Family therapists plays a vital role in unit/improvement that exist amongst loved ones and family members. This paper summarizes key points, compare strengths and weakness of narrative and experiential family therapies and family that may need experiential therapy.

Key Points

Experiential Family Therapy (EFT):

· Experimental family therapy is acquisition of knowledge through experience that enhance advancement of change/growth in the client to facilitate individual autonomy (Russell & Gills, 2017). EFT involves role play whereby past, present, and future issues comes into play to resolve issues using traditional modalities, thereby creating sense of belonging and interconnection (Association of Experimental Therapies (n. d).

· EFT involves expressive therapies in the form of dance/movement, psychodrama, writing, poetry, and photographs to illustrate past and current emotional experiences from relationships emotions that relate to self-esteem, responsibility, disappointment, and success (Russell & Gills, 2017). EFT helps the client to scrutinize and free up built up negative feelings of humiliation, anger that associates with previous experiences that are suppressed. The therapists create experiences for the family from which family learn and grow.

· Narrative Family Therapy (NFT): protects and supports the family dynamics because it objectifies problem as a force that exert influence over individuals and helps in development of strategies to resist such problem (Besley, 2002). NFT helps to separate the clients from their problems. Each client achieves this by narrating the personal experience they confront on daily basis that determines their identity and purpose in life. The role of the therapist is to validate the clients’ resilience and positive coping skills they possess to overcome the problem by externalizing the problem thereby developing positive relationships (Suddeath, Kerwin, & Dugger, 2017). The advantage of NFT is that it promotes changes in the family communication style from negative to positive, more purposeful, and acceptable method, thereby reconnecting couples and families to stronger bonds and tighter relationship.

Comparison, Strengths, and Weaknesses

Similarities: The two therapies understand the problems that develop within the client and provide strategies to resolve the problem and improve the family dynamics/relationship and communication. The therapeutic approach the therapists use involves narration of stories and expression of emotions. Differences: in NFT, the client utilizes only verbal communication in expressing themselves in contrast to EFT where clients utilize both verbal and non-verbal communications, in expression of their feelings.

Strengths and Weakness: In EFT: the therapist taps into internal strengths of the clients to develop skills to practice new lifestyle that contradicts and challenges old beliefsimproving physical wellbeing, interpersonal skills, and development of self and family (Russell & Gills, 2017). In NFT, the therapist establishes a sense of accountability that controls individual behaviors and actions thereby deepening their understanding of each other (Duarte, 2019). Family learn to focus on the positive aspects rather than the negative. The weakness in NFT is that client may not be honest in expressing emotion because the therapist is observing. Whereas in EFT, client may not effectively express emotions and feelings if verbal communication is not utilized (Spencer, Call & Hardy, 2018). The entire experiential process may become fake and insincere if the client did not fully take the therapist to their world.

Family Description

Everyone experiences trauma in different ways. Trauma can cause our sense of safety and trust to crumble. The loss of trust and safety can lead to insecurity, destabilization, disconnection, and shock. Mr. H.B has been married to his wife, J, for over twenty years. Both have two children. J’s mom, G, has been a significant influence on J. Grace has been putting a lot of pressure on J to separate from her husband so that J, will not experience the same emotional traumatic experience G passed through with her husband and abandoned the children to her. Lately, there have been many conflicts, confrontations, and verbal exchanges between H.B and J over finances because G has been making J to stack finances away from family expenditures. There is mistrust, anger, and negative emotions, and their relationship was at the edge of break-up. Experiential therapy allows members of the family to express suppressed emotions/thoughts through non-verbal way. The family may re-visit and re-experience their situations through guided imagery, role play, and drawing (Russell & Gills, 2017). This therapy encourages them to have understanding and control over their emotions.

Experiential therapy also can be effective for a family going through negative emotional memories due to conflicts that have developed to impact the family dynamics and communications. The therapy approach will encourage sense of individual growth through interconnecting with one another to achieve individuation (Jungers and Gregoire, 2013). Experiential therapy will help the family to become functional and re-establish trust between the couple providing opportunity for the family to identify the key problem, assume responsibilities for their personal actions to experience success, and develop self-esteem.

Part 2, Family Genogram.

Great grandparents are all deceased



Great grand Mother

Great Grand father

Great Grand Mother

Great Grand Father






Maternal Grand Mother Grace




Paternal Grand mother

Maternal Grand Father

Paternal Grand Father












Mother Jennifer Brown

Father James Brown





















Association of Experiential Therapies. (n.d.). Retrieved from http:// www.asetonline.com.

Besley, A. C. (2002). Foucault and the turn to narrative therapy. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 30(2), 125–143.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03069880220128010.

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Jungers, C. & Gregoire, J. (Eds.) (2013). Counseling Ethics: Philosophical and Professional Foundations. Springer Publishing Company, LLC.

Duarte, L. F. (2019). Witnessing in Narrative Couple and Family Therapy. Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy, 1-4. Russell, K., & Gills, H. L. (2017). Experiential therapy in the mental health treatment of adolescents. Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, 4(1), 53. Spencer, T., Call, T., & Hardy, N. (2018). Experiential Family Therapy. Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy, 1-6. Suddeath, E. G., Kerwin, A. K., & Dugger, S. M. (2017). Narrative family therapy: Practical techniques for more effective work with couples and families. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 39(2), 116-131.

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