Narrative Therapy



Theconcept of externalizing a problem in the counseling implies that thetherapist tries to find the external sources of a given problem. Inthe case of Helen, the counselor externalizes the problem by weavingin social as well as the cultural contexts with the objective ofadding to the depth of the ongoing narrative. The counselor alsogives Helen an insight into the key issues of gender norms and rolesthat could probably be bringing the problem in her self-concept. Inaddition, the counselor states that nagging the discussion is likelyto be encouraged and fueled by the society, especially the societiesthat tend to stigmatize the house wives. This could be a possiblecontributor to the psychological problem that the client is facing.

Externalizationgives the counselor an opportunity to dig deeper into the cause ofthe challenge and shows Helen how to do so. It is also clear that thecounselor demonstrates himself as an honest professional during thenarrative. This is confirmed by the fact that the counselor explainshis limitations and roles during the narrative. For example, thecounselor, being a man, may not understand exactly what Helen isgoing through (Mudock, 2009). However, gender difference does notseem to impend the relationship between the client and the counselor,but it helps Helen see the counselor as an objective helper, who canhelp her see the reality and empower her to overcome her ownchallenges.

Externalizationwill help Helen see her problem from a broader perspective. Forexample, externalization achieved during the narrative helps Helenrelate her challenge to social and historical events. This isachieved when the counselor gives a description of Helen’s motherand narrates about the generational differences existing betweenthem. In overall externalization will help Helen stop identifyingherself with the psychological challenge and envision on her future.

Inconclusion, the concept of externalization is used in narrativetherapy to help clients see their problems from a broaderperspective. The counselor externalizes the client’s problem bytrying to help them connect the problem with external factors, suchas culture and social factors.


Mudock,L. (2009). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case approach.New York, NY: Pearson Publishers.