Back in 1980, I trained as a psychiatric social worker. I met Tom Rappaport, a psychologist who used storytelling in his work. He taught me how to do it, and I used it in my therapeutic practice. It was to be another 15 years before I met anyone else using storytelling in the same way. At the Storytelling in Health conference it was very moving to see how far the skill set had developed, and how many ways people were using storytelling- traditional, personal, made up - in their therapeutic work. From the “Relive “ group who worked with older people to tell the stories of their lives, to the young woman who experienced suicide in her family and storied her way through it. From Daniel Morden using traditional stories as a metaphor for his journey with cancer, to Jess Wilson accidentally discovering that a childhood tale could bring tranquillity to a psychiatric patient as an alternative to heavy medication. It was a joy and a pleasure to see the range and richness of experience out there, and how much more is in development.
There was so much to see and hear. So much to do. Three parallel sessions, including live performances of stories in health. I wanted to go to everything- and yet had to make selections. In the end, I made decisions based on convenience of getting to venues- tendonitis in my calf limited my mobility. The event was cast over several venues, and fortunately, most of them were close to each other. The morning opening events and closing events were in the delightful Waterfront Museum, but sadly some distance away from the rest. A shuttle service for the less mobile would have been helpful. The venue I mainly visited sometimes had speakers silhouetted against a sun filled window - for future conferences it would be helpful for organisers to check some stories of access issues! All in all, there was lots of opportunity for linking, networking and generally being inspired! Many thanks to the organisers and looking forward to the next one!