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.



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 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.

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….. !!!!!