The narrative reconstruction of psychotherapy and psychological health

Psychother Res. 2008 Nov;18(6):719-34. doi: 10.1080/10503300802326020.


When people complete psychotherapy, they carry the story of the experience with them. This retrospective reconstruction serves several psychological purposes, including contributing to narrative identity and influencing the maintenance of therapeutic gains after termination. Based on a prior qualitative investigation of therapy narratives (Adler & McAdams, 2007a), a new sample of 104 former clients wrote about their psychotherapy after treatment end. Quantitative analyses indicated that the retrospective narratives of participants high in subjective well-being focused on the protagonist's agency in struggling with a discrete problem. In addition, the narratives of participants high in ego development described a coherent story of growth. These findings suggest that the stories clients construct about psychotherapy reliably vary depending on their psychological health.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Awareness
  • Clinical Competence
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychotherapeutic Processes*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*