Exploring the Benefits of Storytelling for Women in the Therapeutic Relationship
Myers, Maedean Yvonne
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Various counselling interventions can help women navigate difficulties. However, storytelling in and of itself, may be uniquely useful as a process through which women understand themselves. Throughout time, people have used different kinds of storytelling from oral, written, and dramatic traditions to make sense of experience, connect, and heal. For example, both First Nations and African American communities have a tradition of oral storytelling as a curative experience. Talk therapy itself is based on the hypothesis that speaking with another person, un-silencing, has intrinsic therapeutic value. However, those whose stories do not fit in with the dominant narrative, a narrative that prizes speed, power, and external achievement, may feel pressured to conform. Consequently, such groups may experience silencing in the therapeutic process. "Storytelling has always held particular importance for women and other "silenced" minority groups who have had to rely on oral traditions to transmit knowledge, establish continuity, and share information, sometimes even dangerous or subversive information" (Goering, 1996p. 1 ). As counsellors are increasingly pressured to work under tight time and budgetary constraints the healing value of simply listening may be lost. This narrative literature review aims to increase counsellor’s knowledge by exploring benefits of female oral storytelling in the therapeutic relationship from a feminist perspective.