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Bibliography expanded and updated to reflect recent research.

Updated on 3 September 2013. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Narrative therapy was developed by Michael White and David Epston, social workers from Australia and New Zealand respectively, in the late 1980s, spreading to North America in the 1990s. It falls under the rubric of postmodernism, which challenges the idea of absolute and universal truths. Its focus on empowerment, collaboration, and viewing problems in social context fit with social work values. Clients and social workers join together to deconstruct and reconstruct problem saturated stories through externalizing problems and searching for unique outcomes. Although empirical outcome data are limited, many social workers find the concepts useful.

Keywords: empowerment, externalization, unique outcomes, problem saturated stories, social construction, postmodern

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