What does a dragon, a fairy and a beautiful princess have to do with helping adults find peace, understanding and resolution within themselves? Therapeutic stories or stories based on metaphor give the reader or listener a way to find balance in a life that is out of kilter. Susan Perrow has been writing and telling metaphorical stories for more than 30 years and teaching others the skills to write these stories in Australia, Africa, Asia, China, Europe, USA and Canada. In June, 2017 I had the great pleasure of attending a two day course with Susan at the Sydney Centre for Creative Change.
While I had written a few metaphorical stories for my own benefit, I had no idea of how powerful these stories could be in changing challenging or out-of-balance behaviours in children and adults. The way Susan described the process, it was as if magic was at work. I certainly know that it is fruitless trying to bargain with a person, young or old who is unable to see a way out of their behaviour. Yet Susan had discovered that children and adults can find a new path out. She gave us easy to follow tips and strategies so that after 2 days we were all writing wonderful and engaging stories. I was so excited because I could see a gentle and creative way of helping people through story and it built on my own experience.
In 2010, my husband and I were selling our business. It was an emotional time as we had invested a lot of energy, love and devotion to the enterprise. We had twenty-six staff whom we regarded as family and many, many clients who appreciated the way we provided our service. The company was a group of hearing clinics and it was the right time for us to sell because of changes that were happening in the hearing aid business. Still we felt as though we were putting our family up for adoption.
We took a break in the process and went away for a week to rest and nurture ourselves. I spent some time looking online for a creative way to explore my feelings and manage my often overwhelming emotions. I read about people in business being invited to write their life story / positive or negative experience / challenge as a fairy tale. This appealed to me and I wrote a fairy tale called the King and Penelope. Writing the story helped me to put my choices into perspective and I did indeed find some inner peace.
After that experience I often chose to write a metaphorical story about my experience and I will be sharing some of these with you in coming blogs. On a couple of occasions, I gifted stories to friends who were going through tough times. But thanks to Susan Perrow, I am now looking forward to writing more stories for myself and for other people.