Story: “Good Morning Everyone!”

Promoting understanding – Understanding and misunderstanding

The story “Good Morning Everyone!” can be used to encourage the listener to adopt a creative approach to gossip. It demonstrates how a victim of gossip can take proactive steps against the “rumour mill” by spreading counter-rumours.

T: Gossip, rumour, self-confidence

I: Destabilisation through counter-rumours (example, positive model)

There was once a priest who lived in a small village far out in the countryside in Bavaria. He was a young and good-looking priest who lived alone, which made him a figure of enormous interest for the other villagers. One morning he got up, opened his window, hung out two sets of bedlinen to air – as was the custom in that land – and drank his coffee in peace. Good morning everyone! Now he had plenty of material for his next sermon…

Story: “Without Words”

Promoting understanding – Understanding and misunderstanding

The story “Without Words” offers examples of how body language can be interpreted. It can be used as therapeutic homework to provide young people with autism with a new way of interpreting other people’s behaviour, and to occupy highly gifted young people with observation tasks as a distraction from provocative or depressive behaviour.

T: Body language

I: Asperger syndrome/autism, giftedness, homework, increasing complexity, psychoeducation (example / positive model)

While I was driving home I approached a zebra crossing. A pedestrian was walking along the pavement, still a little way before the crossing. I stopped. It is possible to tell whether someone is going to cross the road several metres before they stop or look around, because they make a small turning motion with their body or head which foreshadows the planned movement. There are situations in which it can be useful to observe these minimal movements which anticipate actual movements. When the person leading a committee meeting or seminar asks for a volunteer, for example, a long pause often sets in while everyone waits to see if someone else is enthusiastic enough to volunteer first. And yet the individual who finally volunteers after lots of encouragement is always the one who moved immediately after the request was made – by leaning forwards slightly, by opening his or her mouth briefly, by uncrossing his or her legs, by sighing or by any other movement which might serve as a non-verbal introduction to a spoken contribution. If I want to circumvent this tedious process, I address a direct question to the person who moved first after I asked for a volunteer, enquiring whether he or she would like to take on the task. Experience shows that the answer is always yes.

The Cave Dwellers

What we perceive is determined more by our biology and biography than by objective facts, and the feedback effects from both our sensory perceptions and our interpretations largely drown out what is allegedly real about the world.

She asked her mother, “Mum, mum, mum, what is real, real, real?”

“What do you mean, what is real, real, real?”

“I mean without this echo, echo, echo.”

“Which echo, echo, echo?

Right here and now is real, real, real.”

“I see, see, see.”

And then she understood, understood, understood.

(From: Stefan Hammel: Handbook of Therapeutic Storytelling. Sories and Metaphors in Psychotherapy, Child and Family Therapy, Medical Treatment, Coaching and Supervision, Routledge 2019)

The Creation of the World

All thought systems – and therefore all human ways of interpreting the world – have been devised by humans. We often get the world we think up and believe in; at a personal level, this means that we become what we believe in and what we think, hope and fear.

This rule has far-reaching implications in terms of both our health and our psychological, material, financial and social conditions. We can of course share our individual worlds with others by communicating them verbally and non-verbally, and to a certain extent turn our environment into what we believe it to be. All reality is created on the basis of a communicated and therefore shared world.

Mohammed created a world. Freud created a world. Tolkien created a world. McKinsey created a world. The Aldi owners created a world. Bill Gates created a world. Can I too create a world?

A German sales company uses the advertising slogan, “Every week a new world”. New worlds are indeed created every week. Most of them are not very original; they swim in the wake of the established worlds and do not gain any traction.

What kind of a world have you created? A philosophical world? A spiritual world? A commercial world? A mathematical world? A social world? An aesthetic world? A material world? A communicative world? A world of fun? An ethical world?

You might be thinking to yourself, “But I haven’t created any world at all!” I don’t believe that for a second. As soon as you look at something – anything – and inadvertently think something new, you start to create a world.

(From: Stefan Hammel: Handbook of Therapeutic Storytelling. Sories and Metaphors in Psychotherapy, Child and Family Therapy, Medical Treatment, Coaching and Supervision, Routledge 2019)

Renewed Life

A number of researchers wanted to find out why salmon die after spawning, so they fished a number of specimens out of the river, fitted them with radio transmitters and placed them back into the sea. And what do you think happened? The animals stayed alive.

The story “Renewed Life” makes it clear that life plans and goals play a vital role in an individual’s happiness, health and life expectancy.

(Stefan Hammel, Handbook of Therapeutic Storytelling. Stories and Metaphors in Psychotherapy, Child and Family Therapy, Medical Treatment, Coaching and Supervision. Routledge 2019)

My Aim in Life

“My aim in life is to leave as much healing and joy in my wake as possible,” I said to a friend. “That’s a lofty goal,” he said. “I’m happy if I can avoid causing too much harm.”

The story “My Aim in Life” calls into question the absoluteness of existing life goals, and encourages the listener to formulate his or her own values.The story “Renewed Life” makes it clear that life plans and goals play a vital role in an individual’s happiness, health and life expectancy.

Sacrilege

When I visited the Pisa Baptistry close to the city’s cathedral, I thought to myself, ‘They’ve turned it into a temple to commerce!’ It raised my hackles to pay to enter a church and then find myself surrounded by hundreds of frantic tourists rushing around and taking photographs of everything. Many kept checking their watches, because a singer was paid to perform every hour in order to demonstrate the building’s wonderful acoustics. Should a church not be a place of prayer and devotion? After climbing up to the gallery, I thought, ‘Surely no one will object if I turn this temple to Mammon back into a house of God.’ It took me a while to screw up the courage, but finally I sang the opening line of a psalm loudly and clearly into the open space, ‘Laudate omnes gentes, laudate dominum.’ The acoustics really were superb. Everything went quiet in the church, and although everyone looked around to find out who was singing, the echoes made it difficult for them to locate me. The security staff searching frantically for the perpetrator also found had a hard task on their hands, but by the end of the verse one had spotted me. He waited for me to start singing again in order to catch me red-handed, since it would otherwise have been easy for me to deny my act of sacrilege. I looked around the building in a daze. “Thank you,” said a woman standing next to me. “That was wonderful.” I too felt better after having sung the psalm. When the last echo had faded away, I left the house of God, giving a sly grin to the security guard who was still watching me.

The story “Sacrilege” illustrates that standing up for your values represents a value in itself. In cases where these values are opposed to the interests of others, it is often necessary to find a balance between defending your ideals in public and taking a less conspicuous approach. The story can also be used to encourage clients not to hide their light under a bushel and to present a self-confident image during interactions with others.

3rd International Festival of Therapeutic Storytelling in Germany (Oct 15-18, 2020)

On October 15th to 18th, 2020, the 3rd 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:

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.


3 continents, 12 nations, more than 20 speakers… this little video may give you an idea of what to expect at the 3rd international festival of therapeutic storytelling on Oct.15-18, 2020 in Otterberg, Germany…

Fee: 460 €. Early booking prices : Until end of… July 2019: 350 €… November 2019: 390 €… March 2020: 430 € / June 20: 340 €. While early birds can save a lot, the cancellation fee (for cancellations till 4 weeks before the festival) is only 25 €.

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

For registration 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, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Scotland, 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)

Audeguy, Karine (F)

Bartl, Reinhold (A)

Bremer, Marie-Jeanne (L)

Eberle, Thomas (D)

Fretland, Ragnhild (N)

Guilloux, Christine (F)

Hammel, Stefan (D)

Hürzeler, Adrian (CH)

Lindheim, Maren (N)

Long, Kathleen (GB)

Lamprecht, Katharina (D)

Neumeyer, Annalisa (D)

Niedermann, Martin (CH)

Schneider, Peter (D)

Spitzbarth, Alexandra (D)

Sugarman, Lawrence (USA)

Vlamynck Astrid (D)

Weinspach, Claudia (D)

Wilk, Daniel (D)

Wessel, Sonja (D)

Story: “Gockle’s Good Luck”

Someone once told me, “When I was growing up my family kept hens and a cockerel named Gockle. The cockerel and the hens ran around in the yard together, scratching and pecking at grains. Once we decided to give Gockle a special treat, and so we picked him up and put him down right in the middle of the box where the grain was stored. That must have been heaven on earth to a chicken! Yet even though Gockle was now standing on thousands upon thousands of tasty grains, he simply looked at us with a surprised expression and did nothing. He did not eat a single grain. Finally we took him outside again, where he scratched and searched for grains like he had before.”

The story “Gockle’s Good Luck” reminds us that we cannot always recognise and accept happiness and that some people have reasons of their own for not improving their situation. It also reminds us that we need goals for which we fight and that unexpected success may overtax our capacities. In conversation with parents, for example, the story can be used to make it clear that children and teenagers should not be allowed to become accustomed to taking an affluent lifestyle for granted, and that they need to experience achieving success and possessions through their own efforts. The story can also be used to alert listeners to the fact that they are taking skills for granted and overlooking opportunities for action, even though – or perhaps because – they are present in abundance.

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.