Narrative Therapy and Mindful Approaches

Narrative Therapy and Mindful Approaches Assignment Questions

Part One

How might the skills taught by MBCT, ACT, and DBT therapists be useful in your future work experiences?

Part Two

Why might someone who is addicted possibly benefit from each of these three types of therapy?

Part Three

Critique three of the theoretical approaches that you have studied this semester that are among your most preferred approaches to therapy. Focus on:

  • the role of the therapist in mental healthcare, continuing care, and relapse prevention.
  • the most important aspect(s) of the therapy
  • their potential limitations in terms of working with clients from diverse backgrounds. 
  • their potential advantages in terms of working with clients from diverse background.

Sample Solution

How might the skills taught by MBCT, ACT, and DBT therapists be useful in your future work experiences?

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a therapeutic approach that combines cognitive behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices to help individuals understand and manage their thoughts and emotions. Originally developed to assist individuals with recurring depression, MBCT has since been applied to various mental health issues (Shapero et al., 2019). By cultivating mindfulness and cognitive awareness, individuals learn to disrupt the negative thinking patterns that contribute to depression. This technique also emphasizes the separation of self from thoughts and emotions, enabling individuals to cope with triggers that may lead to depressive episodes.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses on helping individuals accept their thoughts and emotions without judgment or guilt, rather than attempting to fight or control them. It has proven beneficial for individuals struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (Bahrami & Asghari, 2017). By practicing acceptance and mindfulness, individuals develop psychological flexibility and commit to addressing their issues instead of avoiding or escaping from them.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) teaches individuals new skills for managing distressing emotions and improving interpersonal relationships. The first skill emphasized in DBT is mindfulness, which involves accepting and being fully present in the current moment. Additionally, DBT focuses on developing the ability to tolerate painful emotions, enhancing an individual’s capacity to withstand distress rather than avoiding it (Malivoire, 2020).

Benefits of MBCT, ACT, and DBT Skills to Addicts

The benefits of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills for addicts are significant. MBCT teaches individuals to cultivate constant awareness, allowing addicts to be mindful of their cravings and identify the thoughts and emotions associated with them. By being aware and attentive to cravings, individuals gain control over them and avoid impulsive actions. Furthermore, MBCT promotes recognizing and accepting the underlying reasons and feelings contributing to addiction rather than suppressing them (Shapero et al., 2019).

ACT fosters acceptance and reduces judgment of addictive thinking patterns and past experiences. This approach encourages reframing the language used to describe past incidents by employing more positive terms, thereby promoting a balanced and optimistic self-perception (Bahrami & Asghari, 2017). By teaching addicts to avoid self-criticism, ACT helps them develop a flexible and harmonious sense of self.

DBT therapy focuses on replacing negative emotions and harmful behaviors with positive alternatives to facilitate long-term recovery. It equips addicts with effective coping strategies to manage distressing and painful emotions, thereby reducing the likelihood of substance abuse (Malivoire, 2020). By addressing emotional instability and controlling cravings, DBT helps individuals lead better lives.

Critique of Reality Therapy

Moving on to the critique of reality therapy, the therapist’s role is to guide clients and serve as a role model. The therapist should provide warm acceptance, maintain focus on the client, and facilitate the client’s ability to control their thoughts and emotions. The therapist also helps clients make choices in the present that lead to positive changes and teaches problem-solving skills to prevent relapse. Reality therapy emphasizes evaluating the effectiveness of behaviors and empowering individuals to take control of their actions and behaviors (Murdock, 2016).

However, reality therapy has limitations when it comes to addressing clients from diverse backgrounds. It overlooks the significance of past experiences and their potential influence on psychological issues, such as cultural or social factors. As a result, the solutions derived from reality therapy may not fully consider the cultural or societal limitations, potentially hindering their effectiveness. Nevertheless, this disregard for the past can be advantageous by allowing therapists to provide equal treatment to clients from diverse backgrounds without bias.

Critique of narrative therapy

Turning to the critique of narrative therapy, therapists in this approach build a collaborative relationship with addicts. By working together, therapists help addicts detach from negative life events, shed negative labels, and externalize their issues. In continuing care and preventing relapse, therapists assist addicts in rewriting their life stories through new experiences and engaging their emotions in this process. Narrative therapy also aids addicts in finding a purpose for living (Hutto & Gallagher, 2017). Key aspects of narrative therapy involve respect for clients and treating them as experts in their own lives. Clients are viewed as separate from their issues, allowing them to detach from negative past experiences.

Narrative therapy is particularly beneficial for clients from diverse backgrounds because it allows therapists to avoid cultural bias. Therapists encourage clients to tell their stories in alignment with their cultural backgrounds and guide them in rewriting their narratives accordingly (Hutto & Gallagher, 2017). However, one limitation of narrative therapy in diverse settings is the potential difficulty illiterate clients may encounter in understanding complex terminology, such as “dominant story” or “cultural discourse.”

Lastly, in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the therapist helps addicts understand the connections between their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, emphasizing how these connections influence their recovery journey. Therapists teach addicts that harmful actions and negative emotions are illogical and often rooted in past events or their environment (Tolchard, 2017). CBT aims to make individuals aware of the reasons behind their feelings and actions, enabling them to gain control over negative thinking


Hutto, D. D., & Gallagher, S. (2017). Re-Authoring narrative therapy: Improving our self-
management tools. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 24(2), 157-167.

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