Community StoryWork

StoryWork for Communities - An Introduction

I have been listening to and engaging in peoples personal stories for a very long time. There is a wealth of information, emotion, story, ideas and learning to be had from the lived experience of people, all people including ourselves.

The cause of all our inner turmoil is our inner dialogue the stories planted in us from birth. The solution to our inner turmoil is the retelling of our story whilst defeating and dissolving these parasitic templates of self hateful, negative "thoughts".

We, as humans generally operate throughout the day making very little conscious choices, or have very little conscious thought. not that we can't be fully awake and mindful of the reality of the day, of ourselves and of each other, it is just that we operate on an unconscious reactive basis. This can be changed through StoryWork.

StoryWork | International Photographer Karl Child talking about living after Tragic Loss & Grief

StoryWork | International Photographer Karl Child talking about living after Tragic Loss & Grief

StoryWork | Marian talking about identity and gender dysphoria

StoryWork | Marian talking about identity and gender dysphoria

Uncompleted Stories & False Narratives

The one thing I have learnt consistently when people share their story or organisations tell the story of their participants is that most organisations and people tell a very unbalanced story. These Stories are then projected out into the world painting a very broken picture of that person. But this is only one side of the personal story and is a fairly inaccurate perception, to begin with.

Most organisations I see sharing stories seem to do this with well meaning intent but in reality focus too heavily on the pain that a person feels, the tragedy that brought them to where they are in the hope of promoting two things:-

  • The wider awareness raising of the cause they stand for as an organisation.

  • The voice of the people they work with in a way that promotes their organisation's agenda but less focus is on the needs of the participant.

Complete Stories & Authentic Narratives

These stories are seldom in the best interest of the participant focusing on one particular issue of pain and at best just a little afterthought of the persons aims and hopes for the future. Don't get me wrong, these are all valid stories but they are not the person's whole story, they are not a reflective explored story, they are not complete. They do not reflect a bigger more complete truth.

Completed stories explore pain but also learning and hope. Completed stories come about through gentle challenging of the person self-perception, challenging their very thoughts. Completed stories change;-

  • The storyteller's perceptions of their self.

  • The Organisation's perceptions of the storyteller and the way the organisation interacts with them.

  • the collector of the stories perceptions of people in his community.

StoryWork for communities is a service that will discover, uncover a person's inner self. The process uses therapeutic processes to help the people of your community of interest to not only share the tragedies that have occurred but to then reflect, re-evaluate, process and redefine their story as one of learning, future planning and an authentic story of hope.

The purpose of any therapy is to help a person make sense of who they are in relation to the impacts and influences that life has pushed onto them. The purpose of StoryWork is to do the same. The process involves the creation of mutual trust and the telling, deconstruction and reconstruction of the story and thus the person can find their true authentic self.

It is important to immortalize a person's story (whether this is confidentially, privately or open and externally). It acts as a consistent real physical reminder to the storyteller of the best of who they are, of who they can be in the world. I do this by creating products with the Storytellers from books, films and many other things.

StoryWork | Brian Eaton living with Loss & Grief

StoryWork | Brian Eaton living with Loss & Grief

StoryWork | On Loss & Grief, a story created with an Older Adults Bereavement Group

StoryWork | On Loss & Grief, a story created with an Older Adults Bereavement Group

Good Feedback Loops

By truly focusing on reconstructing the Storytellers real, richer and fuller story, you, by default promote the good work of your organisation's support of the storyteller. Sharing someone's story should not have a primary focus of promoting ourselves, our organisations but rather to wake the storyteller up from their unconscious self-bias and self-defeating algorithms of inner life.

By focusing solely on this we do two extra things in the most beautiful and authentic way. The stories we project to the community are beautiful stories to raise awareness in inspiring often exciting and hopeful ways. They are road maps for others suffering to follow, lighthouses of passion, hope and learning that can help nudge others to think in new more prosperous ways about themselves, about each other. They change from a story of pain and misery to a story of overcoming, strength and change. they inspire the wider community rather than wince them with guilt and pain.

A third thing that happens quite naturally and authentically is the organisation, your organisation will benefit in a real, authentic honest way from the promotion of the story. You wouldn't need to think of how to use these people to promote what you do Instead your organisation will be promoted in the process of purely wanting to deliver something that helps people help themselves and as a by-product help other people too.

Final Words

Storywork is a process that can be done in a short space of time or more in-depth over a longer period of time. A good add on project to help build the voices of your community, provide a therapeutic base of change, bring communities together, raise awareness, be part of your promotional package, develop resilience resources, guides, and information, be productive and deliver physical products such as films, books, magazines, art projects and more

If you would like to discuss this further please get in touch which ever way best suites you. I am always up for a cup of tea and a piece of cake and a good old conversation maybe in a cafe somewhere.

StoryWork | Elephants & Anxiety, A Tool Kit created with Mental Health Peer support Group Group

StoryWork | Elephants & Anxiety, A Tool Kit created with Mental Health Peer support Group Group

Interested in finding out what your community, community of interest or workforce thinks, feels as well as see what genius ideas they hae to your problems?

Please contact me at your convinience