We work with clients assess and support the evolution of conflict stories in order transform conflicts and open new pathways for unleashing creativity, fulfilling missions, and developing sustainable change processes.

why narrative


Stories matter. They provide the framework through which we understand ourselves and others and how we “ought” to be in the world.  This in-turn has a direct effect on our approach to our lives, our behaviors, and our engagement with others and the broader society.

The way that narratives operate has implications for interpersonal relationships, the development of local, national, and international policy, and what gets privileged or valued in society.  The plots, characters and themes in our stories guide social relations, setting up rules and responsibilities and moral codes for action in organizations, communities, and societies.

Through narratives we form our understanding of our identities, beliefs, and our sense of belonging in the world. Sometimes, however, we get into narrative ruts, telling unproductive stories about ourselves and others, keeping us from developing, innovating and remaining creative in the world. This can have a stifling effect, or worse result in conflict. 


Conflict can be a positive force, acting as a catalyst for change, bringing awareness, innovation and growth. However, harnessing conflict as a positive force for change requires enabling conditions and capacities. A narrative lens offers a unique approach to conflict , one that can open pathways to discover and enable conditions for positive transformation.

More than just in conflict, we are often unaware of ourselves as ‘subjects’ or characters in the stories we tell about the world. The stories learned through our families, communities and societies are so ingrained that they become invisible – the water we swim in. While this is commonplace, it can also be insidious. Some stories are so powerful, so pervasive, and taken-for-granted (almost sacred), they can also make us unaware and ‘stuck’, limiting growth, as we ourselves and the world around us changes.

The presence of conflict means that the stories we tell in our families, communities and societies need to evolve in order to transform the current relationships, roles and responsibilities toward , unleashing the creativity that arises from collaboration.

When conflict arises, narratives carry the potential for deepening conflicts but also for transformation and change. In conflict settings, the stories we tell about the world and each other become increasingly simplified. In simplified conflict stories, individuals and groups are locked into positions and relationships in a way that reduces opportunities for change and action.

People get caught up in narratives that construct limited understandings of themselves, others, and the world around them. These simplified conflict stories contribute to silencing of some stories and privileging others, and limit understanding, collaboration, impeding availability of alternative solutions.
There is a reason for this. In times of conflict, people cling to what is comfortable and lean on what they already know, including falling back on lenses for explaining the world that provide a (false) sense of comfort and safety. However, the stories that emerge in these contexts are incomplete and narrow.


“Practice” is the repetition of a skill, to improve that skill. But “praxis” is the application of  knowledge toward actions that changes the world. We engage in narrative praxis.

From a narrative lens, conflict transformation is the process of evolving narratives from simple to complex, such that understanding is increased and alternative actions become visible. Constructing complex stories creates opportunities for people to see the world, events and Others as multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, taking us out of our viewpoints that have become simplified and rigid, as a function of  our  conflict experience.

Engaging the world through a narrative lens is a transformative process, as it often makes the invisible stories that make up our understanding of the world visible, bringing awareness to our underlying assumptions. These critical reflections are essential in order to see ourselves and others and our sticky problems in new ways. 

When we are able to step outside of our own stories, we see the stories as ‘objects’, becoming aware of the complexity and the dynamics of the narratives, understanding our own story and better able to act on them.


Contact Us

Copyright 2022 @ Narrative Praxis Group