The Intersection of Narrative Therapy and AA Through the Eyes of Older Women


  • Lauren S. Ermann
  • Gerard Lawson
  • Penny L. Burge


Older adulthood can be a time of loss and transition, particularly for women who often outlive their male counterparts. The changes associated with aging may also influence older women’s personal narratives through which meaning is created. Practitioners established narrative therapy under the umbrella of constructivism as a method of shaping personal narratives by deconstructing and re-authoring life stories, ultimately creating meaning. In parallel, storytelling is paramount in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), specifically, the story of the AA member’s life transformation from addiction to sobriety. The researcher conducted a phenomenological study with women age 50 and older in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to explore the narrative processes of AA storytelling. Results suggest that the storytelling component in AA parallels narrative therapy practices in two ways: 1) the use of a three-stage model, and 2) the ever-evolving nature of the story structure. Mental health practitioners can benefit from examining the intersection between narrative therapy and AA in creating meaning through stories when working with older female clients who have had experience with, or who are being referred to AA.