The Therapuetic Benefits of Storytelling

134170985_istockphoto_thinkstockIt’s a really creative time in Sydney right now. The Sydney Writers Festival was on last week and last Friday night Vivid Festival kicked off. For me, Vivid is about more than the lights: there’s a festival of ideas and music as well.

Over the years I’ve attended a few of the ideas lectures and workshops. On Friday night I attended a storytelling workshop at the University of Newcastle CBD Campus.

We all tell stories, and whether we’re telling stories for business or entertainment we need to tell stories that are engaging and that have a purpose.

img_0484Telling a story can also be therapeutic. Without even engaging in Narrative Therapy, writing the story of an incident can help you clarify what happened and get an idea of how to let go. I suppose this is what we are doing when we journal about our daily activities.

In the workshop we wrote a short story under the guidance of the facilitator. The process went something like this:

  • Draw a picture of an incident which happened in the last week
  • Start writing the story with the time and place eg “I was sitting on the bus the other morning”
  • Who is there ie people, how many, can you describe them eg “the bus was already crowded when at the next stop an elderly gentleman got on”
  • What is the problem?
  • What is the crisis?
  • How does it get resolved?

The facilitator suggested telling stories which have a resolution and as mentioned earlier in a business setting, make it short, relevant and have a purpose.

As a therapist, I often tell stories in sessions to relay an example of a possible outcome of a decision for example. It may be something I’ve done or a client has done. Confidentiality is maintained, and the story is used to inspire or give hope to clients.

With Narrative Therapy the client tells their story and with help from the therapist the client changes the focus slightly, or externalises an aspect of the problem in the story or is able to rewrite the ending completely with a different meaning of what happened.

When was the last time you pick up some coloured pencils and drew a picture? Choose an incident, draw a picture and start to tell the story …. your story.

If you’d like someone to hear your life story and help you make some sense or meaning from it, book an appointment today.



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