I’ve been spending some time going back over some of the work I did in my studies this semester, attempting to synthesize and solidify my learning from multiple courses and reflecting back on some of the key moments of realization I experienced. I wrote a couple posts ago about narrative therapy, which is based on social constructionist thinking and the work of Jean Piaget. The idea is that we create meaning based on how we perceive the environment around us. If I grew up in a social environment in which I was taught that the sky is green, I would believe that the sky is green until convinced otherwise. We see evidence of this all the time, such as when two people experience the same situation in a very different way. I often have discussions with my wife in which we have very different memories of the way in which a particular situation played out. Does that mean one of us is wrong, or simply that we perceive differently?
According to narrative thinking, these perceptions form the narratives or lenses through which we continue to interpret future experiences. When these narratives guide us to interpret experience in unhealthy ways, we tend to get bogged down with problems. This is where re-authoring comes into play.
The notion of re-authoring highlights one of most amazing evolutionary adaptations of the human brain: we are able to change the way in which we perceive reality. It is when we lose site of this ability that we feel stuck and unable to move forward. What could be more self-empowering, and more indicative of the ability to effect change, than the realization that we can actually change the way in which we perceive our story, thereby changing the way we experience our story, and thereby becoming empowered authors of our own stories.