I have had the privilege of working with many people over thirty nine years, working in Not-For-Profit Community Agencies, State Agencies, Hospitals and in Private Practice. From the beginning, I was impressed by the strength and resilience of the person before me as they told stories of the oppression of their life circumstances. I thought they were Heroes. Of course, they were not thinking of themselves as Heroes, they were mostly weary and discouraged. However, I was reading Paulo Freire who used people’s own stories to liberate them and Joseph Campbell who saw us all living out myths and universal stories in everyday life.
Soon I was sharing some of the ‘big stories’ as Laurens Van der Post called them, and exploring the metaphors as parallels of their lives. I discovered they too, were inspired by other Heroes and the stages of the heroes journey gave them a map of hopeful territory. They told their own stories differently afterwards. This also set me on the path to being a storyteller in performance.
It wasn’t long before I began offering people paints and pastels to help them tell their stories and journals to keep the story going and discovered a great truth; through a creative and personal journey people can get clarity and the feeling that they are in charge of their lives again.
When I moved into teaching Social Workers and Counsellors, I found myself telling them stories and inviting them to tell their own and to keep journals as they moved into working with people in agencies. So, if I was to describe myself to you as a counsellor or therapist I would say I am a fellow traveller in solidarity with the people who come to see me as they re-create their stories and take control of their lives.
In recent times, I have been gratified by how effective and convenient technology can be for working with people, online and on Skype. Whatever the mode, if you’d like to tell me your story with a view to changing your life, please contact me.