Sharing your story in the presence of an attuned person brings healing. We cannot change the events of our stories, but we can change the way we experience our stories. In a group focused on narrative therapy, you allow others to know you. You give them power to be affected by you and affect you as well. You must trust another with yourself. It is only through this process of being known that you come to know yourself and learn how to know others. To be known means that you allow your shame and guilt to be exposed in order to be healed.
The purpose of narrative therapy is to be asked questions and to be known in the midst of the vulnerability. And little by little, you find healing. Sharing your story in the presence of someone attuned to you heals those places in your story where you originally felt alone. When we confess the lies we have always told ourselves, shame is released from our bodies.
We make sense of who we are by creating stories. As our bodies and emotions become dysregulated, the words that we use to form a narrative about self can turn negative. Our narratives can trap us in a limited sense of self. Once activated, shame alters our sense of identity. We attempt to answer the question, “Why has my loved one withdrawn from me?” and the voice of shame offers a negative answer. Shame says, “They have left you because you are unlovable.” Shame carries with it a sense of worthlessness: “I am not worthy of connection.” Shame shapes a narrative that there is something deeply wrong with us. The story of shame is, “I am not enough, I am bad, or I don’t matter.” Shame fills us with fear of disconnection. We are scared of what our loved ones will think when they see our flaws. We are afraid that others will find us unworthy of their love. We seek connection, but when we feel ignored, misunderstood, and disconnected from the primary people in our lives, we feel threatened. So we hide.
Sharing our stories brings us out of hiding, into the light, and we are able to see the fullness of who we were created to be. As social creatures, we need to be seen and understood by others.
As we sit across from one another, attuning to the pain, we are able to embody the presence of love and acceptance for one another we have always longed for.
By Carmen Eby LPCA, Trauma-informed