The Power of Storytelling
Back in 2017, I started the podcast About Face. One of the reasons I created this show is that I absolutely knew the power of narrative and storytelling. I’ve known this on some level in my academic work, but it became much clearer to me in this age of podcasting. If I can connect with someone’s experience, if they share their story and I can relate, I can reflect, and in many cases, take action in my own life because of what someone else has shared.
I experienced this directly when I got sober. For 20 years, I really felt alone in my drinking- the way I drank, the way it impacted my life, and there was so much shame around it that I never talked about it, even with my closest friends and family. When podcasting entered the scene, I had direct access to thousands of recovery stories. I listened to them for hours a day until one day it truly clicked and I thought, “I’m an alcoholic. I need help.” And I reached out, to another podcaster who had also made his addiction public.
I thought, okay, if my life changed around addiction because of stories, how can we apply this to other challenges: grief, divorce, loss, trauma, and other personal issues that really can make people feel alone and stuck. I created 20 episodes of the show around these issues, always with the intention of hoping others would connect with the hardship and the transformation. After I finished the first season, a practicing therapist I know from home wrote me and said, “Hey, I really like what you are doing on your show. It’s really important. It’s basically narrative therapy.”
And I was like, whoa, what’s that?
I started researching and discovered this whole therapeutic practice, and theory, based on what I’ve already known to be true: our inner narratives, the way that stories drive and motivate us, can change our lives. Now, there is a lot more to say about the hows and whys, and it’s not just the way that we relate to others’ it’s also the way that we tell stories to ourselves, about ourselves, about our lives, and relationships. I started my work in becoming certified as a narrative therapist and in bringing this passion to Berlin and to clients around the world.
Stories give us purpose and meaning, but they can also work against us, if we don’t understand the stories we are telling. Understanding how narrative is working in our own lives can seriously be a gateway to change. It can motivate us to behave differently or act differently, but it also calls into question social and cultural narratives that shape us and direct our thinking.
How can my passion around narrative to help someone like you? I have personally experienced profound change in my life through the power of narrative. This has come in the form of recovery, adjusting to new motherhood, life transitions like becoming an expat, going through a divorce, and also recovering from depression. I studied narrative therapy because I was interested in using a concrete methodology and approach to help people see problems as outside of themselves, understand how narrative impacts our sense of self, relationships, choices and our lives, and to open pathways for alternative narratives and transformation.
You can listen to these earlier stories on About Face but also stay tuned for updated shows on the topics of narrative therapy and how shifting narrative can empower our lives.