| Moments are portals to stories |
When I started translating Narrative Therapy ideas for organisational and communal work as a consultant and coach, the question in group work first sounded like: Tell me a story about your leadership (for example). I soon saw how people were terrified by the question. Many thought they did not have a story or that their story was not worth telling or they judged the potential story as not good enough even before it was told. Although we as human beings are meaning-makers and story-makers, it seems that we are not always aware of these amazing human capacities.
When I met Jeff Zimmerman in 2012, his neuro-narrative therapy ideas evolved my question in group work from “Tell me a story about…” to, “Tell me about a moment…” The smallest unit of a story is a moment. But later Jeff pointed out, that this question could still invite a telling without the experience really being felt. In one of my workshops he attended he then suggested that we ask: “Tell me about a heartfelt moment” which brought the body back as part of the answer.
Thanks to Griet Bouwen, the question, “Tell me about a moment…” evolved even further when she suggested that the invitation should rather be: “Take me to a moment”. Moments are portals to stories but it is important that we not only tell about the moment, but take people with us in the telling to the moment with all our senses and imagination. It is like watching a movie and being transported with the teller.
These questions will help you to take people with you to the moment:
Who was there? What happened? When did it happen? How long did the moment last? Was there any art present? Was nature present? Was beauty there? What did you taste or smell or touch? What was the sounds like? What happened in your body?
These kinds of questions will transport us with you to have a full experience of the moment!