Allowing Clients to Guide the Conversation
Typically, a therapist guides the bulk of a traditional individual therapy session. The therapist might establish the goals for the day, interrupt if time requires, and push certain issues according to an agenda. In narrative therapies, however, clients are the ones responsible for guiding the conversation.
A therapist can and should frequently allow clients to speak their mind, and to speak uninterrupted if possible. Therapists should ask questions but also ask for input. If a client isn’t interested in a particular topic of conversation, it can and should be skipped over for the time being.
If a client tells a story but follows a new tangent, the therapist should encourage the subject change. Often, clients need the opportunity to speak on their own terms to be heard and understood. Just that simple act of telling a story can allow them to reclaim their personhood and feel respected and acknowledged in the world.