Last updated: May 21, 2003

Narrative Psychology Search

[Narrative Psychology]

 Topics in Narrative Psychology

Clinical Psychology

"               Somtime in the middle
of the Eighteenth Century, along with the rise

Of capitalism and scientific method, the logical
Foundations of Western thought decayed and fell apart.
When they fell apart, poets were left

With emotions and experiences, and with no way
To examine them. At this time, poets and men
of genius began to go mad..."

"Essay on Psychiatrists" by Robert Pinsky

Background  ||  Internet  ||  Bibliographical  ||  Theorists


Background Issues

This page is concerned with narrative as it relates to the disciplines of clinical and counseling psychology and psychiatry are included here under the subheadings of

Processes of psychological/psychiatric treatment and healing are included on separate subpages dealing with


Theorists*Key Figures


Internet Resouces



Bibliographical Resources


Alexander, I. E. (1990). Personology: Method and content in personality assessment and psychobiography. Durham, NC, US: Duke University Press.

Buchsbaum, H. K., Toth, S. L., Clyman, R. B., Cicchetti, D., & et al. (1992). The use of a narrative story stem technique with maltreated children: Implications for theory and practice. Special Issue: Developmental approaches to prevention and intervention. Development and Psychopathology, 4, 603-625.

In this research study of 100 four- and five-year old maltreated children, a "play narrative story stem technique" was employed to understand how well these children regulate their emotions and the ways in which they internally represent family relationships.

Coelho, C. A., Liles, B. Z., & Duffy, R. J. (1991). Discourse analyses with closed head injured adults: Evidence for differing patterns of deficits. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 72, 465-8.

In this neuropsychological study of the verbal impairments of closed head injured (CHI) adults, two patterns of deficit were found when narrative stories were used to assess discourse abilities among participants. These patterns correspond with (1) excessive verbalization with poorly organized, but task-appropriate content and (2) fair to good organization with little appropriate content. In terms of residual cognitive impairment, patients exhibiting the first patters appeared to have a better prognostic outcome than those exhibiting the second pattern.

Costantino, G., Colon Malgady, G., Malgady, R. G., & Perez, A. (1991). Assessment of attention deficit disorder using a thematic apperception technique. Journal of Personality Assessment, 57, 87-95.

This study examined attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among Hispanic, Black, and White outpatients (7-15 years) and age-matched public school students using the Tell-Me-A-Story (TEMAS appercpetion test developed by the first author and his colleagues. Ethnic and racial differences were found among clinical samples and the authors urge some caution in the use of this projective technique in assessment of attention deficit.

Cramer, P. (1996). Storytelling, narrative, and the Thematic Apperception Test. New York: Guilford Press.

A comprehensive review of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and its experiemental/clinical literature. Cramer examines how clinical evidence is gathered and provides approaches to the the integration of autobiographical data with TAT story production.

Dimaggio, C., & Semerari, A. (2001). Psychopathological narrative forms. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 14(1), 1-23.

What constitutes the difference between psychopathological and non-psychopathological forms of storytelling within the context of therapy. Giancarlo Dimaggio and Antonio Semerari propose a set of criteria to differentiate between effective and dysfunctional narratives. Two forms of deficient narratives are detailed (those which are impoverished and those lacking integration).

Gutierrez Clellen, V. F., & Quinn, R. (1993). Assessing narratives of children from diverse cultural/linguistic groups. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 24, 2-9.

Hoshmand, L. T. (1993). The personal narrative in the communal construction of self and life events. In G. J. Neimeyer (Ed.), Constructivist assessment: A casebook (The counseling psychologist casebook series) (pp. 179-205). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Johnson, J. L. (1994). The Thematic Apperception Test and Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Personality Assessment, 62, 314-9.

Jones, E. E., & Thorne, A. (1987). Rediscovery of the subject: Intercultural approaches to clinical assessment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 488-95.

How should we conduct psychological assessments with persons of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds? This review suggests a variety of approaches including the several narrative-based strategies in which subjects are seen especially as collaborators in the process of evaluation. The authors discuss some of the serious errors associated with the use of traditional psychometric approaches when narrative is not an element of the assessment process. This is one of five articles dealing with assessment in a special series on "cultural factors in understanding and assessing psychopathology" in this issue of JCCP.

Landfield, A. W., & Epting, F. R. (1987). Personal construct psychology: Clinical and personality assessment. New York: Human Sciences Press. [BF698.9.P47.l36 1987]

Levinson, D. J. (1978). The seasons of a man's life. New York: Knopf.

This well-known and popular volume on adult psychological development also offers describes a method by which individuals' life histories can be elicited and examined.

Masling, J. M. (1992). Assessment and the therapeutic narrative. Special Issue: Assessment training and practice in professional psychology: II. Commentaries and reviews. Journal of Training and Practice in Professional Psychology, 6, 53-58.

McFadden, T. U. (1991). Narrative and expository language: A criterion-based assessment procedure for school-age children. Journal of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, 15, 57-63.

Neimeyer, G. J. (Ed.). (1993). Constructivist assessment: A casebook (The counseling psychologist casebook series). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

North, A. J., & Ulatowska, H. K. (1981). Competence in independently living older adults: Assessment and correlates. Journal of Gerontology, 36, 576-82.

In this study, the quality of narrative and discourse production were found to be correlated with competence for independent living among older adults.

Sarbin, T. R. (1986). Prediction and clinical inference: Forty years later. Journal of Personality Assessment, 50, 362-369.

Sarbin casts the longstanding controversy between clinical and statistical prediction as a methodological dispute poised between the quests for "historical versus narrative truth" in the dichotomy previously advanced by Spence.

Schneider, M. F., & Perney, J. (1990). Development of the Children's Apperceptive Story-Telling Test. Psychological Assessment, 2, 179-185.

The Children's Apperceptive Story-Telling Test (CAST) can be used to evaluate the emotional functioning of children aged 6 to 13 and provides profile scores on four major factors (Adaptive, Nonadaptive, Immature, and Uninvested) and 15 adaptive, nonadaptive, and problem-solving scales. This report on the development and standardization of this instrument (sample N = 876) details the psychometric characteristics of this approach to assessment of school-aged children.

Schneider, M. F., & Perney, J. (1992). Children's Apperceptive Story-Telling Test: Social-emotional assessment. In L. VandeCreek, S. Knapp, and T. L. Jackson (Eds.), Innovations in clinical practice: A source book, Vol. 11 (pp. 271-283). Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Press/Professional Resource Exchange.

Sedney, M. A., Baker, J. E., & Gross, E. (1994). "The story" of a death: Therapeutic considerations with bereaved families. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 20, 287-296.

Segal, H. G., Westen, D., Lohr, N. E., & Silk, K. R. (1993). Clinical assessment of object relations and social cognition using stories told to the Picture Arrangement subtest of the WAIS--R. Journal of Personality Assessment, 61, 58-80.

This study of the assessment of object relations and social cognition was conducted among three inpatient clinical samples (borderline personality disorder [BPD] along, N = 11; dual diagnoses of BPD and major depressive disorder [MDD], N = 22; and MDD alone, N = 25) and a normal control group (N = 28).

Smith, C. P., Atkinson, J. W., McClelland, D. C., & Veroff, J. (Eds.). (1992). Motivation and personality: Handbook of thematic content analysis. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Strickland, L. (1994). Autobiographical interviewing and narrative analysis: An approach to psychosocial assessment. Clinical Social Work Journal, 22, 27-41


The Nature and Construction of Psychopathology and Psychological Disorders

Capps, L., & Ochs, E. (1996). Constructing panic: The discourse of agoraphobia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cohler, B. J., & Jenuwine, M. J. (1995). Suicide, life course, and life story. Special Issue: Suicide and aging: International perspectives. International Psychogeriatrics, 7(2), 199-219.

These authors propose a method by which the use of life course and narrative data can lead to a greter understanding of suicidal processes within elderly populations.

Gray, D. E. (2001). Accommodation, resistance, and transcendence: Three narratives of autism. Social Science and Medicine, 53, 1247-1257.

Karp, D. A. (1996). Speaking of sadness: Depression, disconnection, and the meanings of illness. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lysaker, P. H., Lysaker, John T., & Lysaker, Judith T. (2001). Schizophrenia and the collapse of the dialogical self: Recovery, narrative and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 38(3), 252-261.

Main, M. (1996). Introduction to special section on attachment and psychopathology: 2. Overview of the field of attachment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 237-243.

In this summary of a JCCP special section, the editor includes a review of recent studies which have used narrative and discourse analytic approaches to the understanding and validation of clinical theories of psychopathology as related to dysfunctional forms of the "attachment behavioral system". More specifically these studies involve "discovering systematic relations between early attachment organization and discourse, drawings and narratives in middle childhood" (p. 239). The extension of this method to the exploration of adult attachement interview categories as related to the Ainsworth et al. (1978) "Strange Situation" categories is also discussed.

Manson, S. M. (1995). Culture and major depression: Current challenges in the diagnosis of mood disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 18, 487-501.

McAdams, D. P. (1998). The role of defense in the life story. Journal of Personality, 66, 1125-1146.

Singer, J. A., & Coles, R. (1997). Message in a bottle: Stories of men and addiction. New York: Free Press.

Interviews with 31 male alcoholics at a Connecticut long-term treatment center form the core of this exploration of the lives and meanings of individuals labeled by the term "addict". Singer, a clinical psychologist and professor at Connecticut College, finds the medical diagnostic paradigm too narrow to do justice to the stories his respondents tell.

Young, A. (1996). The harmony of illusions: Inventing post-traumatic stress disorder. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

This very-well received study probes the social construction of post-traumatic stress disorder by tracing a century and a half of developments in psychiatry and medicine


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Hevern, V. W. (2003, May). Clinical Psychology. Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide. Retrieved [enter date] from the Le Moyne College Web site:

     Narrative Psychology: Internet and Resource Guide
is copyright © 1996-2003 by Vincent W. Hevern, SJ, all rights reserved.

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