Since I was little, I have loved stories of any kind. If I got into trouble, it was usually for reading, too much or at the wrong time. Reading in class, reading late into the night. It was all because I couldn’t get enough of the story. This is part of why I am a counselor – I love to hear people’s stories and enter into that story with them.
Stories have been used since the beginning of time to pass along history, to teach lessons, to inform where we are going, to dream, to connect. Centuries ago, the Israelites used stories to tell where they had been, where they were going, and how God was redeeming them. For the Israelites, storytelling was an oral art. After Christ, Christians used the stories in the same way, to tell where we had been and where we are going. Stories tell us that we are new, redeemed, covered in grace.
We see stories used in families. I am sure you can think of stories that are told in your family. They are stories from your childhood, stories of your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, stories about the children in your family, you might hear around the dinner table, or at a family gathering. “Remember when…” These stories are important to us too. They give us a sense of identity and inform our family culture. As therapists, understanding the story of your family helps us to see the patterns in your family, both good and bad. We all have them, the good and the bad. When a couple comes in for marriage counseling, therapists are always seeking to understand the story of the couple. We try to understand where they have been and where they hope to go. We recall together the good, and the bad.
Why is it important for you to tell your story? Because it is a part of processing your life. Learning your history, recognizing how it has shaped you, or informed your beliefs. Telling the story is important in trauma work as well, bringing the darkness into the light. Therapy is a safe place for those dark stories to be told. No matter what your story, it is yours, and yours alone. Your story is like your fingerprint, uniquely different. No one has your exact history, your perspective, your voice. Yours is a story that needs to be told, and you are the best person to tell it. As a therapist, I am happy to help you find your words, and embrace your story.