A Clinician's Guide to Foundational Story Psychotherapy : Co-Changing Narratives, Co-Changing Lives book cover
1st Edition

A Clinician's Guide to Foundational Story Psychotherapy
Co-Changing Narratives, Co-Changing Lives

ISBN 9781138542105
Published November 1, 2019 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

A Clinician's Guide to Foundational Story Psychotherapy draws together a range of theories and models to examine the use of narrative psychotherapy in clinical practice.

Illustrated with case examples and biographical vignettes, the book outlines the importance of foundational and life stories in treatment and delineates new techniques for co-assessing and changing stories. A wealth of concrete tools are included, such as the Foundational Story Interview and Family of Origin Map, as well as diagram templates and questionnaires for use during clinical sessions.

Integrating theory and practical applications, A Clinician's Guide to Foundational Story Psychotherapy introduces a range of therapeutic options rooted in a narrative context and is a valuable resource for practicing and student psychotherapists.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Acknowledgements: A Professional Journey Story



Part 1 - The Shoulders of Giants 

1. Major Background Theorists

Part 2 - The Aspects of Story and the Foundational Story Model

2. The Aspects of Story  

3. The Foundational Story Model  

4. Foundational Stories: Russian Dolls and Magic Mirrors

Part 3 - Life and Foundational Story Assessment 

5. Gathering Stories 

6.Understanding Foundational Stories 

7. Assessing the Impact of History and Context: The Foundational Story Interview and Family of Origin Mapping  

8. The Seminal Importance of Roles 

9. Assessing the Life Story Plot and Characters: Plot Diagramming And Character (or Ego State) Mapping

Part 4 - Changing Foundational and Life Stories 

10. Introduction and Sources of Change 

11. Changing Context: Story Receiving and Storytelling 

12. Helping Transform Characters 

13. Changing Plot 

14. Thematic Change 

15. Transforming the Moral and the Whole Story I 

16.Transforming the Moral and the Whole Story II: Foundational Storyboarding 

Part 5 - Trauma and the Life Story 

17. From Fat Farm to Child Abuse  

18. The Trauma Story: Holes, Shards, and Morals  

19. A Trauma Treatment Primer: Phases of Trauma Treatment 

Part 6 - Listening to Your Own Story

20. Working With Yourself 

21. Growing as a Therapist 

Part 7 - Conclusion: Weaving it Together  

22. Without and Beyond Story 

23. Integrating a Storied View With Your Own Theory


Appendix I: The Foundational Story Interview Template

AppendixII: Foundational Story Diagram Form

Appendix III: Family of Origin Mapping (FOOM) Procedure

Appendix IV: Trauma List


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Hugh K. Marr, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia. He has worked in all phases of community mental health, culminating in running a partial hospital program for clients with the co-occurring disorders of substance use and major mental illness. He is the coauthor of the books What Story Are You Living? and Introduction to Archetypes.


"Dr. Hugh Marr has given us a masterpiece of synthesis and explication of the power of story across the spectrum of psychotherapy models. He provides a major expansion of narrative theory. From the role of story in the theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Michael White, and other innovators to the more recent 21st century developers of new ideas in psychotherapy, this book has it all. Dr. Marr provides us with a fine-grained analysis of the elements of a complete story, such as the witness, roles, themes, and plots, and gives each of these a chapter of its own, including an explanation of how changes in each element change the patient’s life. There is much more. The book concludes with guides for therapists to increase the efficacy of their own work through the explicit recognition of the power of story in psychotherapeutic healing. Outstanding!" — Jay Noricks, PhD, psychotherapist and author of Healing Amelia and Parts Psychology

"Dr. Marr’s book is remarkable. He shows us that although we cannot literally change the failures and afflictions of the past, we can change the way we think about them. In fact, we can see how they have helped create the person we have become and can help us attain what C. G. Jung called amor fate—namely, to love who we have become." — Julie Bondanza, PhD, Jungian analyst and former Training Director of Analytic Training for the New York C. G. Jung Institute

"A Clinician’s Guide to Foundational Story Psychotherapy is a breakthrough guide, combining a comprehensive understanding of narrative and its importance in human life with strategies for utilizing this knowledge in finding the client’s overarching and subtheme stories, and, when necessary, reframing them to support a richer and more fulfilling life. Dr. Marr’s book is certain to become one of the classics in psychotherapy." — Carol Pearson, PhD, author of Persephone Rising: Awakening the Hero Within; coauthor with Dr. Marr of the PMAI assessment and What Story Are You Living?; past Provost and President of Pacifica Graduate Institute

"The field of psychotherapy needs a comprehensive book like this that includes both theory and practical applications. I have yet to find a book that offers such a clear and foundational overview in its approach to narrative psychotherapy and includes so many creative tools and techniques. I think clinicians will use the book to become acquainted with the narrative approach to psychotherapy, enhance their existing understanding, and learn new techniques for applying narrative in clinical practice. I look forward to further enhancing my existing clinical skills and story-based writing exercises." — Kim Schneiderman, LCSW, psychotherapist and author of Step Out of Your Story: Writing Exercises to Reframe and Transform Your Life

"Master clinician and trauma teacher Dr. Hugh Marr has created a gem that will be a treasure to all healers. It is about life stories that may limit or empower us. Like authoring a coherent book, we each need to make explicit, clarify, edit, and complete the story of our lives to find meaning, order, perspective, healing, and happiness. Marr explains how to do this with wisdom, warmth, wit, and many clear, practical explanations. This is a brilliant and fascinating read, one that I’ll keep and reread." — Glenn R. Schiraldi, PhD, Lt. Colonel (Ret.), University of Maryland School of Public Health (Ret.); author of The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook, The Resilience Workbook, and The Self-Esteem Workbook