The purpose of this study is to seek answer to the following question: Does participating in storytelling changes participants’ life experiences in their journey of recovery? The study explores participants’ experiences of engaging in a storytelling programme in a community mental health team in a large New Zealand city. The programme aims to provide a safe environment to support and increase participants’ engagement with services and the community. Currently, there is limited literature on consumer’s experiences of engaging in therapeutic storytelling programmes in the international or New Zealand context.
Following ethical approval, eight adult participants were recruited to the study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analysed using the six-phase process of thematic analysis, developed by Braun and Clarke.
Three main themes emerged from the data. The first theme, breaking barriers, was described by participants as to how they overcame barriers. The second theme, creating positive memories, uncovered the positive experiences that participants gained from the programme. The final theme, becoming a new person, described some of the transformative experiences that emerged through participation in the programme.
This is the first qualitative study in the New Zealand context that has explored the value of a storytelling programme from a consumer’s perspective. The findings suggest that participating in a storytelling programme can contribute to a participant’s journey of recovery; the use of myths, legends and group work is fundamental to those from collective cultures with oral traditions. The ongoing value of storytelling as a therapeutic tool requires further research and the development of a clearer evidence base to inform practice.
Aguilera, L., Reed, K. and Goulding, J. (2020), "Experiences of engaging in therapeutic storytelling", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 47-61. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-11-2018-0036Download as .RIS
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