Counselling and Storytelling - How did we get here?


We are a species of story makers and story tellers. Stories are central to our development of self concept and identity and how we distinguish ourselves from others – a process central to our wellbeing.

Aboriginal people have long been telling stories in which they have created a sense of landscape, community and place. These stories hold a significance that stretches from the dawn of time, from the stories of the Dreamtime.

Our invitation to ‘World Dreaming’ states “The intention of psychotherapy has always been to find forms of communication, expression and understanding that allow non-violent resolution of conflicts and the emergence of the individual human spirit” – not so!

Central as stories may be to the human condition they were not valued in modern psychological theory or practice. Traditionally scientific knowledge was prized over narrative knowing. The growth of science and technology correlated directly with the loss in legitimacy of stories as a means of communicating truths about the world. Storytelling was abandoned in favour of paradigmatic knowing representing scientific modes of thought. This process had particularly severe repercussions for traditional peoples and their way of life.

This paper traces the effects of the ‘fall and rise’ of narrative methods for understanding and enhancing human behaviour.


Further information about the 6th World Congress for Psychotherapy may be accessed here

The Author:

Ms Suzanne Jenkins