Introduction to Therapeutic Storytelling


Introducing Therapeutic Storytelling
by Michael Williams, Section Editor

"We never had so much need of storytelling and its healing powers."
       George Mackay Brown


Hello and welcome to Therapeautic Storytelling at All Things Healing. Each month we will feature a variety of articles, essays, reflections, stories, videos and links to healing stories as well as offer a forum on therapeutic storytelling for you to contribute to an ongoing dialogue and discussion related to story and storytelling healing.


What is a 'healing story'?


According to an old Scottish Traveller proverb, a story “is told eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart.” It is this intimacy that distinguishes live storytelling from other forms of communication and entertainment. Storytelling creates a bridge between teller and listener across which authentic communication can take place. And it is within this intimacy that the 'healing' or 'therapeutic' aspects of story lies. As author and storyteller Diane Rooks explains in her article: “Healing stories can change the way we see our lives and the world. Using metaphor and imagery, stories offer healing and growth to everyone--those who tell them and those who listen. They connect us to each other and help us find meaning as we imagine new possibilities and find hope.” Since time immemorial, stories have helped us discover the meaning in our experiences, offered possible explanations for what we struggle to understand. Stories invite our imaginations and hearts to stretch over the void to reach out to one another and to realise, as I and others explore here on the site, what it is to be human.



Information, ideas and inspiration


Within these therapeutic storytelling articles and videos we hope you will find useful information, ideas and inspiration. Follow further Diane Rook's exploration of the psychology of the healing story and the power of healing through storytelling in making sense of life and death. Discover how storyteller and humanitarian worker Gillian Huebner finds the blessing of story in the midst of violence and chaos. Consider Bobby Seigetsu Avstreih's case for finding the 'healing' of a story not in its content but in the quality of the 'telling'; and enjoy the more personal reflections on healing and story in the works of storytellers and writers such as Diane Calleson, Mary Summerlin and Mark Hyde. Finally, we aim to offer recommended stories (such as Aanand Chabukswar's retelling of a traditional Marathi tale from India) to our readers from storytellers who have found their telling therapeutic or healing in some way. In addition, a selection of healing storytelling videos featuring storytellers and stories will complement or challenge the ideas shared here on these pages.



Please contribute


I hope you enjoy the storytelling healing material presented here and find the contributions useful and entertaining. I also hope you'll contribute your own ideas and experiences of healing through storytelling so that we can create a community resource for all storytellers, therapists, healers and anyone interested in the healing aspects of story and storytelling. In the future we hope to offer contributions from such storytellers as Laura Simms, Noa Baum and Nancy Mellon. Please send your own articles, essays, reflections, stories (as attachments), videos (YouTube, etc. links) to me at Remember to include a short bio of yourself and, if possible, a small portrait photo. We want our readers to get to know you and your work and to share best practice with one another. Feel free too to take part in our 'Healing Stories' online forum where you can discuss and debate further on healing storytelling. And, if you have any ideas on how we might better serve you, please contact me.



I wish you all the best for 2009 and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Michael Williams, Editor of Therapeautic Storytelling



About the Author 


Michael Williams is the ATH Editor of Healing Stories. He's a storyteller, education consultant and peace educator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Michael is a member of the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Dirty Rascals Storytellers, a group whose primary interest is in therapeutic storytelling.


Michael Williams
Storyteller and Education Consultant
Edinburgh, Scotland


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