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Neuro-Narrative Therapy

New Possibilities for Emotion-Filled Conversations

Jeffrey Zimmerman (Author)

Overview | Contents

Bringing interpersonal neurobiology and narrative therapy together.

Narrative therapy understands storytelling as the way we make sense of ourselves and life experience. Many non-narrative therapists have expressed great admiration and interests in the politics the work exposes, the way it brings in the socio-political context, and the way it centers clients. Yet despite its popularity and success as a useful therapeutic approach, Narrative Therapy has been criticized as minimizing and failing to develop any extended discussion of something vital to our lives: emotion.

Neuro-Narrative Therapy attempts to redress this problem by taking us first through standard Narrative practices, and then showing how and where affect can be brought in and even privileged in the work.

After situating the evolution of Narrative Therapy in its historical context, the book provides information about why emotions should be given an important place in the work. Specifically, it brings ideas and implications of some of the most exciting and novel theories—interpersonal neurobiology and affective neuroscience—to the practice of Narrative Therapy.

Readers will learn about the growing emphasis on the right brain, and how an understanding of the ways in which emotion and affect are manifested by the brain can help us help our clients. The possibilities for this new approach are many: a freer discussion of the emotional side of your clients; an understanding and sensitivity to the relation of body and mind; attention to how the therapeutic relationship of our clients can become a resource in treatment and a renewed understanding of how our memories—and thus our stories about our lives—develop in early childhood and beyond.

For any therapist working in the area of Narrative Therapy, and for any interested in the emerging understandings that science is bringing to appreciating how our brains develop with and among each other, this book has something to offer. Combining the neuro- and the narrative, as Jeffrey Zimmerman has done here, will create a new direction in Narrative Therapy, one in which our brain and body work together, inviting a more direct and effective engagement with clients.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • April 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-71137-0
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 240 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Zimmerman has done an excellent job of evolving narrative therapy to include interpersonal neurobiology and explaining how he came upon this road. . . . [H]e has created a new story in the context of his experience as a narrative therapist and a self-aware, caring person. Both his heart and his mind shine together in this book.” — Psych Central

“This book brings disparate fields (Narrative Therapy, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Affective Neuroscience) together in ways that significantly moves our field forward. Zimmerman has always been something of an outsider, pushing the boundaries of the field while connecting it to current culture (particularly music and video). This book continues those efforts and moves into entirely new territory. Read it and it is likely to blow your mind and get you thinking in ways you may never have considered.” — William Madsen, PhD, Director of the Family-Centered Services Project and author of Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families

“Would that all therapists write as clearly about theory and practice as Jeff Zimmerman! With an astonishing capacity to travel across the rigors of neurobiology and the complexities of narrative therapy, Neuro-Narrative Therapy offers the missing link between the conscious purpose of a post-structural practice with the emotional currents of the body and attention to this affect. Zimmerman is one of only a few to be counted as a first-generation narrative therapist, so I can assure you he did not write this book to look cool among his peers, since many—including myself—tried to talk him out of it. Neuro-Narrative Therapy has changed my opinion enough to reconsider the relational/emotional body he escorts into therapy. I am utterly thrilled with this contribution and its deft ability to transport narrative practice forward” — Stephen Madigan, MSW, MSc, PhD, Director, Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy

“Zimmerman's ideas in this book on Neuro-Narrative therapy profoundly influenced my work as a Narrative consultant and coach in the organizational field. These ideas and practices have transformed my way of working with and training of narrative ideas to include significant moments that honor our embodied knowledge and invite affect as a participant in the room with us.” — Chené Swart, South African narrative consultant, coach, and author of Re-authoring the World

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