Experiential Versus Narrative Family Therapies

Comparison between experiential family therapy to narrative family therapy

Although experiential therapy and narrative therapy are both used in family therapy, these therapeutic approaches have many differences in theory and application. As you assess families and develop treatment plans, you must consider these differences and their potential impact on clients. For this Assignment, you compare Experiential and Narrative Family Therapy.

In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:

  • Summarize the key points of both experiential family therapy and narrative family therapy.
  • Compare experiential family therapy to narrative family therapy, noting the strengths and weakness of each.
  • Provide a description of a family that you think experiential family therapy would be appropriate, explain why, and justify your response using the Learning Resources.

Note: The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The sample paper provided by the Walden Writing Center provides examples of those required elements (available at  http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/57.htm). All papers submitted must use this formatting.




Experiential Versus Narrative Family Therapies




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Experiential Versus Narrative Family Therapies

Comparison between Experiential Family Therapy to Narrative Family Therapy

Family therapy is a furcate of physiotherapy aiming at the improvement of communication and relationship within a family setting. Family therapy has many applications, but the most commonly applied include experimental and narrative therapies. Experiential family therapy highlights the importance of experiencing emotions in the current moment, while narrative therapy explores and restructures the stories families give about themselves. Narrative therapy addresses PTSD symptoms through reviewing and reassessing trauma memories with continued practice of STAIR skills (Cloitre & Schmidt, 2022). This essay will explore the critical points for both experiential and narrative family therapies, compare experiential family therapy to narrative therapy with their strengths and weakness, and describe a family therapy that would be appropriate to experiential therapy.

The Key Points for Experiential Family Therapy and Narrative Family Therapy

Narrative and experiential family therapy are perspectives of family therapy emphasizing distinct aspects of family dynamics. Experiential family therapy deals with family members’ emotional experiences and interactions, highlighting the necessity of accessing and expressing emotions and facilitating healing and growth (Sun et al., 2020). It highlights the hear-and-now experiences of family members during therapy sessions using approaches like emotion-focused intervention, family sculpting, and enactments to enable families to prospect and express their emotions. Narrative family therapy focuses on the stories and narratives given by families to make sense of their experiences (Rajaei & Jensen, 2020). This technique looks at problems as they arise from negative or oppressive stories told by families about themselves, enabling families to restate the stories in a more delegating way. Narrative family therapy dwells on the importance of externalizing issues and using language and metaphors to develop new meanings and chances. Procedures used in narrative family therapy include portraying the influences of problems, deconstructing dominant stories, and developing alternative stories with families. Both narrative and experiential family therapies rely on the importance of family systems and ideas that change can be expedited by exchanging the patterns of interaction and communication within a family. Their difference is portrayed in the emphasis on emotions to narratives as the key to comprehending and shifting the patterns.

Comparison between Narrative and Experiential Family Therapies

Experiential and narrative family therapies are two different approaches to family therapy. Experiential family therapy highlights emotions and experiential processes, creating new experiences and allowing families to communicate and link on deeper levels, while narrative family therapy focuses on the stories given by families about themselves and their experiences, empowering families to restructure their narratives and develop new meanings. Experiential family therapy enables families to experience their emotions directly, allowing them to explore complicated feelings in a safe and supportive environment (Diamond et al., 2021). This can be essential to families that struggle with communication or have experienced trauma. Experiential family therapy may not be effective for families that are uncomfortable with emotions and struggling with introspection. Narrative family therapy enables families to formulate their narratives and develop new meanings, enabling them to view their experiences more positively (Holland & Nelson, 2018). It can be helpful to families that are stuck in negative patterns or to those who feel confined by their situations. Narrative family therapy may not be successful for families who are uncomfortable with introspections and struggling to view things in a positive way. Experiential family therapy and narrative family therapy consist of strengths and weaknesses, and the most successful way depends on the specific situations of a family.

The Application of Experiential Family Therapy in Families

Experiential family therapy is appropriate for a family scuffling with communication problems and having toiled expressing their emotions successfully. It helps families identify and express their emotions and develop a more attested and supportive relationship with one another (Colapinto, 2019). This can be seen in a family where the parents are so judgmental and highly critical of their children or where family members have a significant amount of conflict and tension where they can benefit from an experiential family therapy, and this therapy offers a safe environment for family members to express themselves and learn how to communicate in a more positive and developing manner. Experiential family therapy highlights the necessity of nonverbal communication empowering families to involve themselves in activities that nurture emotional connection and trust-building (Schoeneberg & Zaporozhets, 2018). It is suggested that family therapy can successfully sermonize a scope of matters, including communication difficulties, conflicts in many relationships, and emotional abnormality. Experiential family therapy can strengthen family bonds and promote overall well-being when families have the skills and tools to improve their communication and emotional connections.


Experiential family therapy and narrative family therapy are approaches to family therapy having different strengths and weaknesses. Experiential family therapy explains the importance of emotional expression and communication, while narrative family therapy aims to help families rebuild their stories more positively. Experiential therapy is recommendable for families struggling with communication problems and emotional abnormalities. It provides a secure environment for family members to express themselves and learn how to communicate constructively and positively. Narrative therapy applies to families handling issues related to identity, meaning-making, and worldview, and the choice of the therapies relies on the goal and the needs of a family. It is essential for therapists to understand the strength and weaknesses of the therapies in order to outfitter their interventions and meet the needs of families.















Cloitre, M., & Schmidt, J. A. (2022). STAIR narrative therapy. In Evidence-based treatments for trauma-related psychological disorders: A practical guide for clinicians (pp. 307-328). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-97802-0_14

Colapinto, J. (2019). Structural family therapy. Encyclopedia of couple and family therapy, 2820-2828. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_334

Diamond, G., Diamond, G. M., & Levy, S. (2021). Attachment-based family therapy: Theory, clinical model, outcomes, and process research. Journal of affective disorders294, 286-295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.07.005

Holland, A. L., & Nelson, R. L. (2018). Counselling in communication disorders: A wellness perspective. Plural Publishing.

Rajaei, A., & Jensen, J. F. (2020). Empowering patients in integrated behavioral health-care settings: A narrative approach to medical family therapy. The Family Journal28(1), 48-55. https://doi.org/10.1177/1066480719893958


Sun, N., Wei, L., Shi, S., Jiao, D., Song, R., Ma, L., … & Wang, H. (2020). A qualitative study on the psychological experience of caregivers of COVID-19 patients. American Journal of infection control48(6), 592-598. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2020.03.018

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