Le loup de mer et le loup de terre

Un jour, le loup de mer reҫu la visite du loup de terre. Les deux se connaissaient déjà depuis l’école des loups. Le loup de mer avait parcouru le monde et vécut beaucoup d’aventures et il rentra chez lui riche de trésors et d’expériences. Le loup de terre était resté chez soi dans sa tannière. Il rencontra une louve de terre et eut des louveteaux de terre. Et maintenant, il a beaucoup de petits-louveteaux et des arrière-petits-louveteaux, et tous sont devenus de vrais, bons loups de terre.

«Parfois j’aimerais refaire ma vie», dit le loup de terre au loup de mer. «C’est la même chose pour moi», dit ce dernier. «Je ferais beaucoup de choses différemment», dit le loup de terre. «Oui, moi aussi», répondit le loup de mer. «Je naviguerais les océans», rêva le loup de terre. «Je me marierais», soupira le loup de mer. «Je vivrais des aventures», expliqua le loup de terre. «J’aurais des louveteaux», dit le loup de mer. «Je serais un loup de mer riche. J’aurais vécu des expériences  périlleuses et magnifiques, dont je pourrais raconter les histoires», dit le loup de terre avec enthousiasme. «Moi, j’aurais des petits-enfants et des arrière-petits-enfants qui m’aimeraient et qui s’occuperaient de moi quand je serais vieux et malade», assura le loup de mer.

«Et ce serait moi qui serait maintenant assis avec toi dans cette tannière de loup de mer», continua le loup de terre, « …et moi avec toi… », rajouta le loup de mer. Le loup de terre hocha la tête : «Et puis maintenant tu me dirais : “Parfois, j’aimerais bien refaire ma vie” et moi, je répondrais : “Oui, c’est la même chose pour moi.”»

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.


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.

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.