Tree of Life Narrative Therapy

'Tree of life' a representation of values and relationships; here from Arabic speaking women's group

'Tree of life' a representation of values and relationships; here from Arabic speaking women's group

The 'Tree of Life' is a positive symbol, the metaphor has been developed by Ncazelo Ncube and David Denborough as a Narrative Therapy tool in response to working with highly traumatised children in Africa. This model is used as a strengths- based approach to engage children and adults to focus on some of what is positive in their lives, to connect with hope while also talking about what is difficult using metaphor and image. Each part of the tree becomes a symbolic representation of aspects of the participants experiencing, through which to tell their personal stories.

Explored over two sessions we create our own tree of life with watercolor, pastel and paper and explore issues such as traditional values, qualities of healthy relationships, multiple roles that we are engaged in and hopes and dreams for the future. Time is also spent discussing the ‘storms of life’ with a focus on wisdom and resilience.

I have adapted this model to work with women with a history of domestic violence and complex trauma, and have extended the metaphor to include a focus on positive strengths that the women bring to the multiple relationships that they are engaged in. 

Tree of Life representation; here from Chinese speaking women's group

Tree of Life representation; here from Chinese speaking women's group