Beware of the stories you tell, you will be lived by them
Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. is an expert in the treatment of PTSD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and has been voted one of the 10 most influential psychotherapists of the Century. I’ve been to a number of his workshops and he is wonderful!
This article presents his ideas on how to create a healing story. It is based on the understanding that the stories we tell hold powerful sway over our memories, behaviors and even identities. He explains how traumatic narratives are over-generalized (lacking in detail) and intensify a person’s sense of hopelessness and impair problem-solving abilities. The traumatic narrative is inadequately integrated into one's autobiographical memories. Traumatic stories have an inflated sense of responsibility with accompanying excessive Guilt and Shame. In contrast healing narratives include in their story-telling examples of what the person did and how they coped and survived. They tell the rest of their story, not just the trauma. Such coherent stories create meaning out of stressful life experiences, are stories in which the person sees themselves as personal agents often with the assistance of others. They increase the survivor’s sense of control, reduce feelings of chaos and increase the sense that the world is predictable. They allow that survivor to feel that trauma is only one part of their life, rather than the defining aspect.
How To Create A Healing Story (Meichenbaum's Approach)
myPTSD Discussion Forum
Not sure if I'm putting this in the right place, it was either PTSD Discussion or here in Therapy. Was digging through some of what I have from Donald Meichenbaum... and have had the experience of being in on some live webnars with him. Much of his recent PTSD work is about "resilience".
Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. is a founder of Cognitive Behavioral Modification and has been voted one of the 10 most influential psychotherapists of the Century. Dr. Meichenbaum is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and maintains a private practice as a clinical psychologist and is an Expert in the treatment of PTSD. Below is from a presentation Road Map to Resilience: Ways to Bolster and Well-being by Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. and Lisa Firestone, Ph.D:
Beware of the stories you tell, you will be lived by them. We don’t just tell stories, stories tell us. The tales we tell hold powerful sway over our memories, behaviors and even identities. Stories are fundamental to our being.
To continue reading on this topic, please proceed to the myPTSD Discussion Forum here.
*Photo Credit: goodtherapy.org