Foucault and the turn to narrative therapy
Narrative therapy evolved in the family therapy arena in the late 1980s in Australia and New Zealand. Since then it has been extended to other counselling settings and a burgeoning literature has arisen around it. It is situated in the social constructionist, postmodern, poststructuralist discourses that challenge and force a re-evaluation of humanism and traditional psychological and counselling discourses. Its pioneering authors, White and Epston, state clearly that, amongst others, they have been influenced by the work of the French theorist Michel Foucault to not only question the dominant assumptions underlying humanism and psychology, but also to address issues of meaning, subjectivity, power and ethics. This paper briefly outlines some features of narrative therapy, examines the Foucauldian themes in White and Epston's theory, and explores narrative therapy's poststructuralist challenge to humanist assumptions in 'therapy culture'.