Story Groups are an invitation to give weight to aspects of your story that you have dismissed rather than honored. They are designed to provide a safe and interactive space where you are taken seriously and your story is engaged with both kindness and courage. Because of this, Story Groups often become truly sacred spaces.
I will facilitate the group, and often begin with a brief teaching time to help participants learn to listen well and write a story with honesty and kindness. Each of the five participants writes a story of tragedy/harm/abuse and reads the story aloud to the group.
Story Groups are based on three underlying premises.
First, none of us reads our own story well. We need the sustained and kind pursuit of others to help us name what has been true of our lives. We need others to help us see ourselves and to name what is actually true of our stories. Participants are often surprised to see how other group members react to their story. It can be both surprising and freeing to see how others react to aspects of your story that you think are “no big deal.”
Second, you can gain a better understanding of the dynamics at play in your daily life by telling and engaging one particular story rather than talking in generalities about your overarching life story. There is a big difference between saying, “my parents divorced when I was seven…” and describing the experience of overhearing one of their fights or the brief conversation where you learned your parents were divorcing.
The third premise is that hearing the stories of others and observing how those stories are engaged can shed significant light on your own story. A lot can happen in your heart when it is “someone else’s turn” to tell their story.
In order to create and maintain a safe space for such a group, each participant will covenant to hold everything shared in the group in confidence. This means that you agree not to repeat anything you hear in the group to anyone else—including spouses, significant others, and friends.
Story Groups run for twelve sessions, with each session lasting two hours. Groups can either meet weekly for 12 weeks or be condensed into an intensive Friday/Saturday/Sunday format.