The Art and Science of Storytelling Therapy(TM)
The Art and Science of Storytelling Therapy TM is a thorough, comprehensive training seminar. Participants will come away with a new set of skills that will help their clients accomplish their therapeutic goals. The hands on intimate format allows participants to have significant interaction with the author. By the end of the workshop, participants will learn the author's method for conceptualizing and delivering stories that heal.
In addition to learning the structure and process of creating telling stories that heal, participants analyze different cultural approaches to problem solving. This helps the therapist develop a broad array of tools from which to formulate the appropriate story for a given client. These stories drive deep into the unconscious mind of the client to create long-term personal change.
HOW IT WORKS
The client identifies with and uses the action and outcome of the story to make personal change.
Therapists learn to apply psychotherapeutic treatment with a client through narrative and conversation. Stories that carry the treatment within them are told to the client. The client identifies with the situation in the story on both the conscious and unconscious level. He or she then finds similarity between the story content and his or her own predicament. Finally, the client identifies with the desired outcomes shown in the story. "Cure" happens when the client consciously and unconsciously creates and uses new thoughts, feelings and behavior learned from the narrative which are preferable to his or her current dysfunctional ones.
CONVERSATIONAL MEANS, THERAPUTIC ENDS
Quality of contact and conversational style strongly influence therapeutic outcome.
Just as we haven't been able to cure paranoid schizophrenia with a cup of herbal tea, Storytelling TherapyTM is no panacea. Yet an artfully created and delivered story can access the client's unconscious resources and evoke profound emotional transformation in a way that has immediate and long term healing value. The method the author has developed shows the therapeutic dialog as indistinguishable from ordinary conversation. The therapist's manner is attentive to the client yet relaxed and natural. This presence decreases resistance because clients, especially more experienced ones, resist stereotypical "recovery correct" language.
CREATIVITY AND THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND
The mechanics of the creative process are presented by detailed example.
The Art and Science of Storytelling TherapyTM activates creativity by accessing participant's unconscious processes. Stories are told to participants which have been told to clients. In the process, the derivation and therapeutic intent is explained as it pertains to information presented by the client. The author's unconscious processes are revealed. During the introduction, participants become more aware of the their own unconscious processes. While stories are told that pertain to clinical situations, participants use the imaginative process to understand how they can use this method with their own clients. Examples of successful cases are given to suggest the variety of ways in which stories are valuable in therapy.
Voice tone and word choice potentiate the client's experience.
Therapists can employ specific language and tone which to enhance the effectiveness of Storytelling TherapyTM. This is illustrated with case examples throughout the presentation. Careful observation of the client's patterns of communication is essential. (See the following two sections.)
Body language is explored as a diagnostic tool.
Because non-verbal communication is extremely important, a section is dedicated to honing the therapists' observational skills. Sometimes referred to as "body language," the nuances of how the client responds to the stories and how the therapist can use these responses is presented and practiced in experiential exercises.
LISTENING WITH THE THIRD EAR
The art of summarizing the client's existential position is learned through exercises, group participation, case examples, questions and answers.
It is essential to get a clear summary of the client's overall life position, their "model of the world." Each client has an unique existential position that he or she is acts out in some way, presumably uncomfortably. Most therapists are trained to formulate a diagnosis while listening to the client's presentation. The Art and Science of Storytelling TherapyTM trains therapists to listen with the "third ear." The process involves first clearing and then trusting one's unconscious mind by following one's own images and associations during the client's presentation. Creating a therapeutic story applicable to the client's predicament is facilitated by the therapist listening this way.
CREATING THERAPEUTIC STORIES
Stories are structured with the undesired situation connected to the desired outcome by an intervention.
The first strategy takes the situation the client presents and creates a story that is analogous to it. The intervention is encoded both in the content of this story and its implications between the lines. The metaphorically encoded intervention links the presented, undesired situation to the desired outcome which is also created and told in analogous story form. The client is expected to "get it" on an unconscious level. Multilevel therapeutic conversations are carried out in this metaphoric mode.
CREATING MENTAL AND VISUAL IMAGES
Detailed questions and answers form a therapeutic internal mental image.
In the second strategy, detailed questions and statements from the therapist interact with the client's imagination until an overall image is formed in the client's mind. The image should be one that induces the desired outcome. For example, the therapist may question a client about details where success is evident. It is likely that the client will maintain a permanent self-concept as successful after forming mental images of himself or herself as a successful person. The client can then solve bigger problems predicated upon strengthened self-concept.
PREVIOUS SUCCESS STORIES
If other people can change, the client is more likely to think he or she can change.
In the third strategy, the clinician tells the client stories about previous successes with other people (confidentially protected) whose predicament very closely resembles that of the client. Fictitious modifications are made to enhance the resemblance. The client is expected to think, "If someone else like me can do this, I can, too." Thinking of possibilities is a major step in therapy.
Stories can be used for specific treatment groups and goals.
Parenting skills can be learned by clients who abuse their children. The value of persistence can be learned by those who have confidence problems. Stories can be told that create a reflective mood.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
You can't be 100% certain how a client will use a story.
Because each person translates each story into his or her own language, no one can know how a client will interpret a story. Careful observation of the client's responses is essential. (See the section above on non-verbal communication.) Therapists are made aware that the desired direction of the therapist won't always match the direction taken by the client.
Participants recapitulate what they have learned.
The Art and Science of Storytelling Therapy TM workshop closes with participants discussing what they learned during the program and presenting examples of how they will use this knowledge. The author has found that the group forms a bond that makes the training more effective.
A thorough outline and a manageable, annotated bibliography focusing on skill building are provided.
Two hours to two days.
The Art and Science of Storytelling TherapyTM is expandable from two hours to two days. The longer the workshop, the more participation and skill-building will be available.
Experiential supervision is available to participants as an adjunct to the program.
A supervision group is available to participants who have completed the seminar and wish to personally experience the process of Storytelling TherapyTM. It is an opportunity to experience the method and to explore and resolve inhibiting thoughts, feelings and behavior. A separate fee applies.