Festival- DVDs and -CDs are now available in our shop!

The 2nd International Festival of Therapeutic Storytelling took place on October 5th to 7th, 2018, in Otterberg / Germany. The festival was organized by the Institute of Hypno-Systemic Consultation in Kaiserslautern (Stefan Hammel) and the Milton-Erickson-Institute Luxembourg (Marie-Jeanne Bremer). Congress languages were German, English and French.

Our thanks goes to the speakers, helpers and participants for this successful event.

Please find HERE recordings of selected lectures.

Put your Fear in the Cloakroom

Here is a little video called “Put your Fear in the Cloakroom” with English subtitles. It was filmed during a workshop on how to support the dying in their last hours. The workshop was part of a conference on Ericksonian hypnotherapy in Bad Kissingen, Germany. On the video I am explaining a narrative technique for reducing pain, breath problems, worry and fear with dying patients and to helpt them to let go of life.

Handbook of Therapeutic Storytelling

I’s out! On Saturday I held the first copy of the “Handbook of Theapeutic Storytelling” in my hands. The translation of the German book “Handbuch des Therapeutischen Erzählens” has been published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis group) in London. Its 306 pages cost 29.99 £ or 35 Euros (at shop.stefanhammel.de).

Here’s what colleagues say about it:

“Clients present the limitations of their stories. Effective change agents offer stories that speak to the heart and elicit adaptive realizations. Stefan Hammel provides a blueprint for bringing therapeutic stories to life.” —Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D., The Milton H. Erickson Foundation

“These days, it’s possible to learn all kinds of skills to communicate better with other people, but it’s rare to find a book that teaches us how to become better at communicating with ourselves. This book is a treasure for learning to speak to yourself in a language that your mind and body can understand.” —Ben Furman, psychiatrist, author and solution-focused psychotherapist, based in Helsinki, Finland. www.benfurman.com

“Hammel’s Handbook is a gardener’s guide for seeding and cultivating stories that encourage beneficial change towards well-being. He carefully scrutinizes the essential nutrients for stories that heal. He extensively samples their varieties and potential fruits. Then he carefully encourages us to explore own storytelling resources. This is a trove of inspiration for the minds of all who strive to be effective agents of health and care.” — Prof. Laurence Irwin Sugarman, MD, FAAP, Director, Center for Applied Psychophysiology and Self-regulation, Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, USA

“The book is like a string of universal pearls of wisdom; the string which unites them is a spiritual dimension of care. Among the pearls there are metaphors, parables, clinical cases, anecdotes, each of which awakens the readers’ emotional and cognitive resources. The book is a source of suggestions that therapists, counsellors, and coaches can integrate into their practice.” —Consuelo Casula, psychologist, psychotherapist and author, former President of the European Society of Hypnosis

“An old friend, a pueblo Indian named Steven Gallegos, refers to human beings as “the animal that tells stories.” Thank you Stefan, for giving us this horn of plenty; a great collection of stories, metaphors and similes. This is a true treasure chest, filled with sparkling gems with ability to light up the path for those who wander from desert to desert, and for those who find their way from oasis to oasis. Old wisdom about being alive together, body and soul, here provides an irrigation system of storytelling. The well-structured design of this book helps me as a therapist to find momentary inspiration; dwelling in the book replenishes my own soul…” —Inger Lundmark, drama teacher, psychotherapist, family therapist and certified hypnotherapist, Stockholm, Sweden

The publisher describes the book like this:

The Handbook of Therapeutic Storytelling enables people in the healing professions to utilise storytelling, pictures and metaphors as interventions to help their patients.

Communicating in parallel worlds and using simple images and solutions can help to generate positive attitudes, which can then be nurtured and enhanced to great effect. Following an “Introduction” to the therapeutic use of stories, which closes with helpful “Instructions for use”, the book is divided into two parts, both of which contain a series of easily accessible chapters. Part One includes stories with specific therapeutic applications linked to symptoms and situations. Part Two explains and investigates methods and offers a wide range of tools; these include trance inductions, adaptation hints, reframing, the use of metaphor and intervention techniques, how stories can be structured, and how to invent your own. The book also contains a detailed reference section with cross-referenced key words to help you find the story or tool that you need.

With clear guidance on how stories can be applied to encourage positive change in people, groups and organisations, the Handbook of Therapeutic Storytelling is an essential resource for psychotherapists and other professions of health and social care in a range of different settings, as well as coaches, supervisors and management professionals.



2nd International Festival of Therapeutic Storytelling in Germany (Oct 5-7, 2018)

On October 5th to 7th, 2018, the 2nd International Festival of Therapeutic Storytelling will be held in Otterberg / Germany. The festival is organized by the Institute of Hypno-Systemic Consultation in Kaiserslautern (Stefan Hammel) and the Milton-Erickson-Institute Luxembourg (Marie-Jeanne Bremer). Congress languages will be German, English and French. For further information in English or French click on the folder shown below:

English: festival2018_englisch

French: festivalflyer2018_franz

German: festival2018_deutsch

The festival is designed for people working in consulting, educational, medical or psychosocial professions. There will be guests from Algeria, Austria, France, Germany,  Luxembourg, Switzerland, USA and other countries. We will have an open stage for participants presenting their own short lectures or stories.

Fee: 360 €. Early booking prices : Until end of … September 17: 280 € / December 17: 300 € March 18: 320 € / June 18: 340 €. While early birds can save a lot, the cancellation fee (for cancellations till 3 weeks before the festival) is only 25 €.

Information will also be given on www.stefanhammel.de/festival.

For application or further information please use the contact form, write to stefan.hammel @ hsb-westpfalz.de or contact the Institute of Hypno-Systemic Consultation via 0049-631-3702093.


Presenters and topics on the Festival

The festival is designed for people working in consulting, educational, medical or psychosocial professions. There will be guests from Algeria, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA and other countries. We will also have an open stage for participants presenting their own short lectures or stories. As far as scheduled, these will be the main speakers and topics:

Aceval, Charles Naceur (DZ): Talk (free narrative): Breaking bread and sharing stories instead of waging wars & talk: Stories as remedies – encounters in a psychosomatic clinic

Audeguy, Karine (F): Workshop: Reframing the stories we tell ourselves!

Bartl, Reinhold (A): Workshop: “I need a change of scenery,” said the birch tree…. Stories about successful change processes and elegant ways of preserving the changes

Bevilacqua, Luisa (L): Film clip & talk: life experiences as stories: between storytelling, dance, music and film

Bremer, Marie-Jeanne (L): Talk: Encounter with stories – stories for encounters

Eberle, Thomas (D): Workshop: The magic of singing bowls and therapeutic storytelling

Furman, Ben (FIN): Workshop: A twist in the plot – How do you want your story to continue? The art of helping clients make their preferred future come true

Fürst, Annette (D): Workshop: Strong with Tulani: A multisensory and cross-media approach for children

Guilloux, Christine (F): Talk: A hypnotic journey in the Navaho Culture and the Hopi culture: Healing rituals and connection to the world & workshop: Hands-on experience of narrative medicine: Applications to personal awareness, team building, education groups

Hammel, Stefan (D): Talk: Greetings and other brief interventions for therapists working with trauma and depression sufferers & demonstration: Therapeutic storytelling and therapeutic modelling in couple therapy

Hürzeler, Adrian (CH): Workshop: What effect do I want to achieve when telling a story? (90 min.) & workshop: Impromptu storytelling – a playful test of courage

Lamprecht, Katharina (D): Reading: How the Bear Came to Dance & workshop: Is a story a story? German with English translation (90 min., together with Adrian Hürzeler)

Lindheim, Maren (N): Workshop: To be swallowed by a whale and the way out. A method of storytelling, positive imagery and hypnosis in treatment of children’s fears, nightmare, night terror and trauma.

Lundmark, Inger (S): Workshop: Playful hypnosis in family and couple therapy

Natter Cardoso Christin (D): Talk: The Bhagavad Gita as a resource for narrative therapy – practical and pragmatic wisdom for the self-development of therapist and client

Neumeyer, Annalisa (D): If only I could work magic – just a little bit of magic. The use of Therapeutic Magic with children, young people and families.

Niedermann, Martin (CH): Workshop: Experiencing the stories I tell – how stories develop  or: “I spy with my little eye”, and so the story begins…

Richard, Cathérine (L): Film clip & talk: life experiences as stories: between storytelling, dance, music and film (together with Cathérine Richard)

Schneider, Peter (D): Talk: Stories about research into the brain and hearing

Spitzbarth, Alexandra (D): Workshop: Celtic shamanism – healing as a journey across the boundaries between worlds

Sugarman, Lawrence (USA): Workshop: Our internal reflections: how stories come to mind & workshop: This Is How I Go When I Go Like This

Wilk, Daniel (D): Workshop: Listening to trance stories – opening the doors to spiritual wealth

Seminar in Mainz: Essentials of Transformational Coaching

Recommended! On January, 19th-21st 2018, Karine Audeguy (France) and Pernille Plantener (Denmark) offer a Seminar on Transformational Coaching in Mainz, about 20 minutes from Frankfurt Airport. The seminar is suitable for those who want to start a coaching business as well as for those who have already learnt a different coaching techniques and want to widen their spectrum of tools or learn new perspectives helpful in coaching. The methods you learn can be implemented into your consultation or coaching practise right away. Also, there is an option to take this seminar as a beginning for a more extensive training in Transformational Coaching. The seminar will be held in English, but German, French and Danish will also be understood.

For more information, send an e-mail to me or Karine or Pernille! (Their e-mail-adresses are shown in the seminar announcement below).

At Dying Beds

At dying beds I’ve experienced a lot of silence – which felt at times good, at times disturbing. Dying people will be almost always be in coma in their last hours (and, mostly, days). What hinders us from speaking with the dying?

  • As family members, we may be in a shock state, frozen or confused.
  • We may be insecure if they hear and understand us.
  • We may be insecure what is relevant and helpful for them.
  • We may feel insecure what the staff thinks of us if we behave unconventional.
But surely, if we find out what hinders us from speaking and acting, this can free us and widen the range of our possibilities, to the benefit of both ourselves and the patient.

Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to notice and interpret any nonverbal reactions of coma patients. In other cases we need to sharpen our senses. With no other body reactions left, often there are still reactions on our words, or on caressing, in the patients’ changing his of breath style and rhythm (unless on a breathing machine).
If we do find tiny nonverbal reactions or changes of the way of breathing, the questions are:

  • Does the patient show this behavior repeatedly (every time) when we bring up a certain topic or do something particular (or when a certain person is arriving or leaving or being mentioned)?
  • Do we rather see the reaction as one of stress or relief?

I would like to summarize a few things that I have learned from the Encounters I had with dying people.
1. Treat dying people as living people.                                                                              2. At a dying bed, get aware of what hinders you from acting and speaking free. Free yourself to get flexible.
3. Observe which tiny reactions (movements, mimics, breath) the dying person shows repeatedly on certain key words, persons, behavior. Are they reacions of stress, relief or interest? Which are the triggers?
4. Dying patients may be in coma, but they’re usually not deaf. Choose your words well. No catastrophic medical descriptions or burial talk.
5. Create rapport. Introduce yourself and tell your aim shortly. Use body contact, use your voice and breath pacing.
6. See a coma patient as someone who is already in trance. Create rapport. Interventions can start right away, without induction
7. The subconscious responds strongly to imagery. Speak in a dream language. Use metaphors, avoid abstract words.
8. Breath pacing and leading can regulate pain or breath problems (and can regulate breath down till it almost stops).
9. Breath, blood pressure and heart rate can also be regulated by metaphors (f. e. of a flying eagle, a pulsating jellyfish or a manta ray).
10. Speak about emotional content rather than about facts.
11. Express in metaphors or more directly that it is possible and good to let go – of live, of psychological problems of body problems.
12. Use metaphoric terms to speak about the good future.
13. Introduce thoughts like “You can love them from the other side”, “things will change, relations go on”.
14. Use negative terms only with a good reason. Except for pacing strong pain, don’t mention “pain” but “body sensations”. Teach this to the relatives.
15. People will rather die when they’re ready to go. What may help: Rituals, a bye-bye from family members, messages of “letting go”.