Good quality mental health care maintains a balance between a systematic approach to complaints which places the effectiveness of the treatment first and a person-centred approach that puts the emphasis on the specific needs and qualities of the individual client. A person-centred approach not only addresses the clients’ problems but also positive aspects such as competencies, values, sense of purpose and well-being. In addition, a person-centred approach takes the life course of the client into account. The essence of our vision is that insights and methods drawn from narrative psychology can contribute to a person-centred approach in mental health care.
A narrative perspective offers the option of theoretically considering the quality of health care. We classify care that gives precedence to personal stories under the heading of narrative care. Narrative care is also 'evidence-based' care: it is about supplementary approaches which, when used in combination with existing methods, can result in innovations. This complementarity finds its expression in the combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods and the use of mixed-method research designs.
The Dutch Life Story Lab focuses on the role that stories play in the promotion of mental health. We investigate the relationship between life stories and mental health, we design narrative intervention methods and study the role of stories in the day-to-day provision of care. Technological innovations in research methods and in care provision play an important role in this approach.