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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. www.innerwestwellbeing.com

Meagan

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Not Everyone Loves Their Mother !

Watching commercial television in the lead up to Mother’s Day in Australia at the moment, it’s pretty hard to avoid the Hallmark(esc) ads showing happy families celebrating their mothers.

But here’s the thing… not everyone loves their mother and not every mother is loved by her kids !!!!! Some women long to be a mother and some people’s mother has passed away and they may miss her immensely.

So, like the happy family Christmas ads, these types of ads stir up unpleasant emotions in many people. Emotions of despair, anger, sadness, grief and resentment.

  • What am I going to give mum for Mother’s Day?
  • There’s no way I want to see my mum on Mother’s Day?
  • I wonder if my kids will call or visit me on Mother’s Day?
  • Will I ever be a mum?
  • I really miss my mum….

Whilst television commercials remind us that Mother’s Day is coming up and give us suggestions of what ‘stuff’ to buy for mum, many people are reminded of the hurt experienced around their relationship with their mum.

My favourite homeopathic remedies for healing relationships with mothers are Natrum Muriaticum, Staphysagria, Ignatia. One of these remedies and some good counselling sessions can help you to work through the emotions, issues and experiences you have around your relationship with your mum.

Natrum Muriaticum
Nat Mur is a lovely remedy for depression and grief around loss of a loved one or the loss of a special relationship, usually a relationship which unattainable like that of a married person. An especially good remedy for the emotional trauma of a sudden loss. Wonderful for children experiencing the absence of one of their parents after a separation. The grief of Nat Mur is very private, you will not cry in front of others, but prefer to be alone to cry. You will want sympathy, but will push it away when someone expresses sympathy or empathy.

Ignatia
Ignatia is a beautiful remedy for long standing grief or a person who is finding it difficult to move on from a loss, usually of a loved one. The loss could be the result of a death, or breakdown of relationship, or an estrangement. You experience a lot of grief and sadness with tears and lots of sighing with resignation.

Staphysagria
Are you angry at the actions of your mother which have violated your boundaries. People who do well with this remedy are frustrated and angry and find it difficult to understand and forgive the actions of the other person. This is a wonderful remedy for anyone who has experienced abuse – physical and emotional abuse.

Often when strong emotions are felt as adults, we are stuck in the emotion from the time the hurt occurred. If your mother hurt you when you were a teenager, your resentment and anger being felt now, may be being expressed by your teenager self. Resolving the experiences of the events which happened for you as a teenager, can help you move on from the reactions you are experiencing today.

The most common experience of grief is longing for what might have been and what has been lost. Many adult children will long for their mother, wishing she was around to talk to about raising their own kids, wondering if their mother would be proud of their achievements today, wishing their mother could spend time with her grandkids which she will never have the joy of knowing.

Frustration, anger and resentment is usually experienced because we do not have an opportunity to tell the person who hurt us how we really feel and how much their actions hurt us. Being able to resolve this experiences can allow us to let go of the hurt and move forward.

If you or someone you know could benefit from counselling and/or homeopathic remedies to assist you with any issues you may have around your mother or any other family member, please book your free 15 minute consultation today.

And my final tip on Mother’s Day… stay away from social media as everyone will be posting their happy snaps which may make you feel even worse….. !!!!!

How do you feel about your goals?

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The weather is starting to get a little cooler – thank goodness for those of us in Sydney – and as I write, the day is overcast and I have a really pleasant breeze flowing through my house. I have to admit, Autumn and Spring are my favourite seasons and, just like my mother, I love to be able to open all the windows and doors and air out the house without the stifling heat of Summer or the bitter cold winds in Winter.

goalsI don’t know about you, but, each year I promise myself to do some things in my life differently. It might be get fitter, lose weight, eat healthier, keep my house tidier, start that course I’ve been meaning to do. How about you? How do you feel about goals? Do you write your goals down? I confess, I have a lot of stuff going on in my head and not much written down on paper.

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Danielle LaPorte speak in Sydney. I’ve also been listening to her book, yes listening – to an audiobook version, The Firestarter Sessions. Danielle suggests that we focus on how we want to feel when setting goals.

For example, if your goal is to lose weight you might want to feel stronger, fitter, sexier etc, rather than saying you want to lose 5kgs or 20kgs.

In her book The Desire Map Danielle asks questions like
“How do you want to feel…
* when you get dressed in the morning
* when you walk through the door of your office”
and other scenarios in our lives.

She says “what if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays – your life?”

Another important aspect for me about goal
setting is getting my values in order. When most people think of values they go to integrity, honesty, trust, and the like. When referring to goals I see values as what’s important to you in your life. For example family, financial security, relationships, travel, job security, health etc. When I’m working on goals with clients we prioritise their values so they can get an idea of what really is important to them.

For example, a client may say that having a relationship is important to them but they are working 12 hour days and have no time to actually meet someone. That would tell me that other values are more important than having a relationship, values like job security, financial security, achievement etc. Or if a client says that health is important to them, but they are spending their weekends drinking and partying with friends, I would suggest that friendship, belonging, or fun might be a higher value in their life than health. Once you prioritise your values, you can begin to realise what is getting in the way of achieving your goals and start to make real change.

A new way of looking at goals and achieving them, huh? If you or someone you know would like help identifying how you want to feel about your life in 2017 and how to prioritise your values, I can certainly assist with a coaching session.