Anupa Mehta holds a Master's degree in Narrative Therapy and Community Work from the University of Melbourne, Australia; she studied at Dulwich Centre, Adelaide, the home of Narrative Practice. She is an international member of the Australian Counselling Association.
Her early education and training was in Literature, Journalism and the Arts. An ongoing desire for self awareness led her to engage with psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, couples therapy, and counselling. She studied client centred counselling practices at Spring Counselling, Mumbai, and took part in a Psychodrama training at the East/West Counselling Centre, Chennai, conducted by Italian psychodramatist Maurizio Gasseau.
Inspired by the seminal work of Jungian psycho-analyst and writer, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Anupa studied Jungian ideas with a focus on trance. She is certified in 'Cross Cultural Psychology' and 'Art as a Sacred Act' from Dr. Estes' institute in the United States of America.
Anupa practices Narrative Therapy, a form of non-hierarchical psychotherapy, which views people as experts of their life. She works with adults experiencing anxiety, depression, relationship issues, states of unease stemming from traumatic experiences, as well as concerns around personal identity.
Her residential and online workshops - they draw upon Narrative Practice, Expressive Arts, Jungian ideas and esoteric healing practices with a focus on personal storytelling - are open to individuals interested in self-inquiry.
Based in Mumbai, India, she offers online therapy sessions for individuals, besides conducting groups and workshops.
Narrative approaches to counselling centre people as experts in their own lives, and view problems as separate from people. Narrative approaches assume that people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments, and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives. The word 'narrative' refers to the emphasis that is placed upon the stories of people's lives and the differences that can be made through particular tellings and retellings of these stories. Narrative approaches involve ways of understanding the stories of people's lives, and ways of re-authoring these stories in collaboration between the therapist/community worker and the people whose lives are being discussed. It is a way of working that is interested in history, the broader context that is affecting people's lives, and the ethics or politics of this work.
What are narrative approaches?
Narrative approaches to counselling center people as experts in their own lives, and view problems as separate from people. Narrative approaches assume that people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments, and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives. The word 'narrative' refers to the emphasis that is placed upon the stories of people's lives and the differences that can be made through particular tellings and retellings of these stories. Narrative approaches involve ways of understanding the stories of people's lives, and ways of re-authoring these stories in collaboration between the therapist/community worker and the people whose lives are being discussed. It is a way of working that is interested in history, the broader context that is affecting people's lives, and the ethics or politics of this work.
Is there only one form of narrative practice?
No, not only is there diversity within the field of family therapy, it seems relevant to note that there is also a considerable variety in the ways in which people have taken up the narrative metaphor in therapy. Some writers have explored the potential for postmodern ideas to influence conversations, while others have explored poststructuralist ideas. Some others are now referring to themselves as discursive practitioners.
What are some of the ways of thinking and traditions that narrative approaches are linked to?
There have been, and continue to be, a great range of traditions with which narrative approaches are linked. Various narrative practices are linked to developments within family therapy traditions. There have also been many alternative sources that have informed narrative practices – from anthropology, literary theory, poststructuralist philosophy, and feminist writings and explorations.
Who is engaged with narrative ideas and practices?
People from a wide range of professions and perspectives are engaging with narrative ideas – from family therapists, community workers, teachers and school counsellors, academics, anthropologists, community cultural development workers, and film and video documentary makers. As these engagements occur, they lead to further creative developments in narrative thinking and practices. Many disciplines (anthropology, literary theory, cultural studies, philosophy, the arts) have been engaging for some years with postmodern and poststructuralist ideas. As narrative approaches are also significantly informed by poststructuralist thinking, this is leading to many generative connections and conversations across these fields of thought. As mentioned above, the people and communities with whom narrative therapists/community workers are working are also engaged in narrative ideas in ways that shape their future directions.
Can you only use narrative practices with people who are eloquent and articulate?
Narrative therapy/community work always involves conveying meaning and the telling of stories, but the ways in which this occurs differ enormously depending upon the people involved. Much of the work that is now referred to as 'narrative approaches' originated in, and continues to involve work with, very young children. Much of the work also had its origins in conversations with people who had great restrictions upon their lives and ways of expressing themselves (for example, those living within institutions). There is a great diversity of ways in which stories can be told and conveyed that do not require what is generally considered to be eloquence or literacy, or for that matter any formal education. People try to make themselves understood in a great variety of ways. It is the practitioner's role to engage with the experience and meaning of the person who is consulting them in whichever way or shape the expressions of this meaning occurs.
Are Narrative Practitioners anti-medication?
Put simply, no. This is a question commonly asked of family therapy, and narrative practitioners in particular. Narrative approaches are associated with a clear questioning and challenge of pathologising practices – these practices are common within all disciplines of the health professions – social work, nursing, psychology, psychiatry, etc. Narrative approaches question pathologising practices, refrain from locating the problem in the person and instead locate the problems in people's lives in their broader social context. This does not mean, however, that narrative practitioners are opposed to the use of anti-psychotic medication in any general way. In some circumstances, medication can contribute enormously to people's lives, whereas in other circumstances, it can be used in ways that are primarily for the purposes of social control.