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The two boxes of mystery: on the nature and function of storytelling in psychotherapy

Date: Submitted June 2013

Title:

Date: Submitted 27 March 2013

Title:The two boxes of mystery: on the nature and function of storytelling in psychotherapy

Journal: Unpublished

Impact factor:

Abstract

For twenty years, both as a primary and a secondary English teacher, I knew that stories mattered. But this was unarticulated, intuitive knowledge. It wasn’t until I took time out from teaching, trained as a psychotherapist, and began working therapeutically with clients’ stories, that I was forced to think more rigorously about the nature and function of stories. Here I tell the story of how this came about and what I discovered. The client – Joseph – is a fiction, though the story he told me is, word for word, a story that one of my clients told me. The conversations are also partly fictions, though they’re based on real conversations I had with my supervisor, Giles Clark, as I struggled to make sense of the story that Joseph had told me. Stories, I discovered, do particular kinds of work in the world. They affect and have an effect. Stories induct; they initiate into the circle of community.  They engage and connect. They allow the unspoken worlds of the mysterious, the unconscious and the instinctual to have a voice in the ways we think and talk about the worlds to which we belong. :

 

© Steve Shann, all rights reserved

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