Narrative therapy

While in fairy-tale therapy and creative writing it is a fictitious story of the nature of a statement through hidden and apparent meanings that tell about one’s own inner process in a safe way of externalization in the form of symbols, metaphors and the like, in narrative therapy it is a faithful reconstruction, decomposition and new composition of one’s own life story in favor of a new healed life plan.

Psychotherapeutic directions that use narrative procedures include: logotherapy, psychoanalysis, form therapy (Gestalt), process-oriented psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, catathymic-imaginative therapy, relaxation therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, satirical therapy and others (Štubňa, 2016). For its use in practice, as well as with other therapies, it is recommended to strengthen the competencies of graduates of university study programs in helping professions by completing training in one of the listed psychotherapeutic directions.

The narrative approach respects that one is the best expert on one’s own life. It helps to find a way to explain life events and give them meaning. Identifying this meaning (identifying and shifting meanings, changing the focus, etc.) allows you to incorporate new elements into the telling of the personal story, to analyze the problem from a different perspective and point of view, and to assign new meanings to events, persons or other elements of the personal story that are empowering. Because of this different point of view, it brings the opportunity to tell a new personal history (for example, noticing different elements and contexts than before) and/or a new personal identity and life story.

It is possible to work with the whole life story, but it is also possible to decompose, discover and assign new meanings, reconstruct and compose the story of an illness in a new meaning-enhanced healed quality, the story of (one’s) body, the story of a problem/life challenge, the story of a life event, the story of one’s own message name, ability story, competence story, relationship story, success/failure story, desire story, dream story, favorite song story, etc.

Example of exercise


Narrative approach. (n.d.) In ViaSua – Systemic Prevention and Intervention Center. (online). Available at: , cited 6/17/2023.

Kotrbová, Kvetoslava. 2021. Životná os – cvičenie na seminár z biblioterapie pre študentov liečebnej pedagogiky. [Life axis – exercise for a seminar on bibliotherapy for students of curative education.] Adapted from Ester Neumanová, Přemysl Suchomel: Long-term training in gestalt therapy, 2002-2004 (private notes). Institute for Gestalt Therapy, Prague, 2002-2004. (author’s archive)

Kotrbová, Kvetoslava. 2021. Cvičenia na semináre z biblioterapie. [Exercises for bibliotherapy seminars.] In Biblioterapia 1 and 2. Lectures and exercises for students of the curative education study program. Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Pedagogy, Department of Therapeutic Pedagogy, academic year 2021/2022, summer semester, updated in connection with the Erasmus+ project “Prototype teaching aid for bibliotherapy”, June 17, 2023.

Štubňa, Pavol, 2016. Naratívna psychológia a psychoterapia. [Narrative psychology and psychotherapy.] In: Linguistic, literary didactic colloquium XXXV. Bratislava: Z-F Lingua 2016, p. 78-89. ISBN 978-80-8177-021-0. Available online:, cited 17/05/2023.

It didn’t pass language editing!

PhDr. Kvetoslava Kotrbová, PhD., MPH, Faculty of Pedagogy, Comenius University in Bratislava, Department of Therapeutic Pedagogy
In Bratislava, June 17, 2023.

Recommended citation method:

Kotrbová Kvetoslava. 2023. Naratívna terapia. [Narrative therapy] In Kotrbová, K. et al: Bratislava: PRO SKIZP – Association to support the development of the Slovak Chamber of Clinical Physics, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Pedagogues, 2023.  ISBN 978-80-974667-0-1 Available on:

The contribution was created thanks to support from the European Union Erasmus+ program, Key action 2 – Cooperation between organizations and institutions, KA210 – Small partnerships for cooperation in the field of education and training. Project name “Prototype of online study tool for bibliotherapy”, project number 2022-1-SK01-KA210-VET-000082483. It represents the opinion of the authors and neither the European Commission nor the author is responsible for any use of the information contained therein.