Narrative Writing: a Therapeutic Means to Self Discrepancy Theory
The aim of this study was to investigate if narrative writing can decrease self-discrepancy by acting as a therapeutic tool for self-regulation, self-understanding, and self-growth.
This study proposes that narrative writing can decrease self-discrepancy by acting as a therapeutic tool for self-regulation, self-understanding, and self-growth. Self-discrepancy theory states that individuals are motivated to work towards integrating the real, ought and ideal selves to achieve a “whole” self-concept. Establishing a timeline of personal events can allow a writer to isolate and understand the true roots of problems. This allows for the formation of a narrative identity, which is how one views themselves as an active role in their own life-story.
Real self-discrepancy was decreased after a narrative writing exercise that employed an open-prompt, allowing for unrestrictive self-expression. An interaction effect was found between the writing intervention and writing prompt. The expressive writing prompt had a significant impact on participants’ real self-discrepancy after the writing intervention. This study has taken a new approach to the theory of self-discrepancy.