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Retelling the Stories of Our Lives

Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience

February 2014


Powerful ideas from narrative therapy can teach us how to create new life stories and promote change.

Our lives and their pathways are not fixed in stone; instead they are shaped by story. The ways in which we understand and share the stories of our lives therefore make all the difference. If we tell stories that emphasize only desolation, then we become weaker. If we tell our stories in ways that make us stronger, we can soothe our losses and ease our sorrows. Learning how to re-envision the stories we tell about ourselves can make an enormous difference in the ways we live our lives. Drawing on wisdoms from the field of narrative therapy, this book is designed to help people rewrite and retell the stories of their lives.

The book invites readers to take a new look at their own stories and to find significance in events often neglected, to find sparkling actions that are often discounted, and to find solutions to problems and predicaments in unexpected places. Readers are introduced to key ideas of narrative practice like the externalizing problems - 'the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem' -and the concept of "re-membering" one's life. Easy-to-understand examples and exercises demonstrate how these ideas have helped many people overcome intense hardship and will help readers make these techniques their own. The book also outlines practical strategies for reclaiming and celebrating one's experience in the face of specific challenges such as trauma, abuse, personal failure, grief, and aging. 

Filled with relatable examples, useful exercises, and informative illustrations, Retelling the Stories of Our Lives leads readers on a path to reclaim their past and re-envision their future.


"[A]n excellent work that provides guidance in how to both tell and change your life story in thoughtful, well organized, and meaningful ways. . . . I hope that the tools and the ways of thinking and being that Denborough writes about become more widespread. If they did, I think we would treat ourselves and others with more respect and compassion." — PsychCentral

"In this beautifully written new book . . . a thorough and accessible teaching of narrative ideas is accomplished. Readers will find that David Denborough marries a harmonious mix of exploring narrative ideas with the encouragement of personal applications through exercises and illustrations. I have yet to read a text on narrative therapy that so effectively makes itself accessible to both facilitators and service users. Consumers, new and seasoned therapists, and reading and learning groups should all find rich learnings. . . . As you delve into Retelling the Stories of Our Lives, be prepared to be taken to new and wonderful places." — Narrative Therapy Centre of Toronto e-newsletter

"[O]rganized and easy-to-follow . . . [W]ritten to be a guide for both individuals and larger groups of people who want to work together and help each other through this journey. Denborough gives readers a way to overcome trauma that has held them back from too long and to see themselves in a better light." — International Journal of Psychotherapy

"David Denborough’s beautifully written book helps individuals, families, and communities identify and protect what is important in their lives. Laced with humane stories of adversity and courage, the book provides opportunities for readers, alone or with others, to apply the clearly articulated ideas through simple but profound exercises. Honoring Michael White, a major narrative therapist, as well as the work of numerous other therapists, this book will move and transform readers." — Kaethe Weingarten, Director, The Witnessing Project

"The ideas of narrative therapy are too good to be limited to therapy and community work. David Denborough, with his clear writing and practical exercises, has made these ideas accessible to everyone. Retelling the Stories of Our Lives is brimming with hope and chock-full of stories of people transforming their lives. We welcome this long-awaited explanation for non-therapists of Michael White’s ideas." — Jill Freedman, MSW, & Gene Combs, MD, co-authors of Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities

"In Retelling the Stories of Our Lives, master of genre David Denborough, who apprenticed with Michael White for 15 years, makes available much of what White had invented to a wider audience, while also linking to his own re-inventions for responding to challenging assignments. Turning the text around to face its reader, Denborough promises a personal engagement with Narrative Therapy ideas and practices." — David Epston, co-author with Michael White of Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends and Experience, Contradiction, Narrative and Imagination



140 x 211 mm • 328 pages


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