Narrative Transformation

Nov 8, 2022

About sixty years ago there was a shift in the academic world – the world of researchers and theorists – away from the scientific paradigm – towards new understandings that grew out of the Humanities and Social Sciences – the fields of linguistics, anthropology, theatre, music and sociology. Buchner and Ellis called this shift The Narrative Turn. Since then, it has been incorporated into medicine, education, performance studies, leadership and even architecture and town planning. It is the reason that there is an emphasis in Health and Social Care on Patient Experience, their stories and narratives. These contemporary understandings and knowledges underpin Narrative Transformation.

It is a process that goes beyond a destination that seems out of reach, to reaching a destination that we have yet to imagine: This destination is where we find ourselves inspired, discover new possibilities, and realise our potential.

Narrative Transformation is a unique methodology that we have developed over a number of years. Where most coaching, personal development work and workplace change is based on psychological theories and counselling models, Narrative Transformation is rooted in research from philosophy, anthropology, literature and education. It also draws on the most contemporary findings from neuroscience, linguistics and the creative arts.

The Narrative Turn was a revolutionary discovery that demonstrated that language does more than describe the existing world – language actually creates the world “out there”.
If the words “I name this ship the ‘New Horizons’” are uttered as a bottle is smashed against the stern of a ship, a previously anonymous vessel ‘becomes’ the new Horizons. An entirely new social reality has become a reality. The ship now carries the name new Horizons. It is the new Horizons where (and when) previously such a ship did not exist.

In the narrative approach such stories or narratives that exert a grip on our experience. By shifting (transforming) the stories, by languaging a new, different or preferred story, a transformation emerges: not a change in circumstances but a transformation of perspective and perception. It is from these transformations that new possibilities can be imagined and previously unrecognised potential appears.