The power of story

Psychotherapy is also known as ‘the talking cure’.   However, people often ask ‘how can talking about something help?  It doesn’t actually change anything, does it?’


Well, actually, talking about what bothers us, what hurts, what is difficult to come to terms with, can help. It can help in that when we talk with someone who really listens, we are no longer alone with it, as we can share what is going on inside us without fear of being judged or being told what to do.

The value of being listened to in this way is not to be underestimated. Left alone, our thoughts may go round in ever decreasing circles that lead nowhere except stagnation and depression. But once we truly share what we think, feel and experience there is the possibility of the ‘new’ or, as it is sometimes called, ‘news of difference’. When this happens people may say ‘I’ve never thought of it like that before’. It means that we look at ourselves from a different angle and consequently find ourselves telling a different story.

We can change the stories we tell ourselves and thus change our lives.


For more on the power of story see this video of Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie:

To read more about ‘news of difference see Bateson, G (1972) Steps to an Ecology of Mind. London: Paladin.

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