Greater Emotional Depth And Creative Problem Solving

As an existential therapist, my own internal process informs much of my work during sessions. Often this "primary process" occurs in images, auditory memories, and fantasy. At certain times in group treatment, I am prone to expressing these images to clients: sometimes relatively unfiltered feelings and more commonly in story or metaphor.

Therapist storytelling has been used in a variety of theoretical approaches. Erickson (1980) and Erickson, Rossi, and Rossi, 1976 for example, used stories to induce "informal" hypnotic states in clients. Techniques involved instigating a novel form of communication within therapy sessions. In the midst of the session, they altered their tone, word pacing, and often told a story that presumably had within it some clues for patient insight and/or behavior change.

Similarly, Honos-Webb, Sunwolf and Shapiro (2001; 2003) have indicated the salience of storytelling in therapy sessions in effecting alterations in behavior with or without an altered state on the part of the client. They define this healing power of stories in therapy as a method that may obviate some resistance by diverting clients' attention away from their anxiety and normative defense against any recommendations that promote change. Storytelling by a therapist has also been shown to help clients better handle crises, i.e., (Pennebaker, 1997) increase their connection to unconscious process (Sturm, 2000)

and expand their senses of the allowable. At the very least, therapist storytelling is useful in reducing client anxiety.

For existential therapists, there are two sources of anxiety: existential anxiety, which involves facing fears of the unknown and neurotic anxiety, which emerges from clients' attempts to avoid or defend against existential anxiety. In short, stories may help clients deal with existential anxiety by offering alternative expectations and projected outcomes and avoid neurotic anxiety by refocusing the clients' attention on the real challenge.

Getting to Know Anxiety

Getting to Know Anxiety

Stop Letting Anxiety Rule Your Life And Take Back The Control You Desire Right Now! You don't have to keep letting your anxiety disorder run your life. You can take back your inner power and change your life for the better starting today! In order to have control of a thing, you first must understand it. And that is what this handy little guide will help you do. Understand this illness for what it is. And, what it isn't.

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