Sunday, October 9, 2016

Telling Your Story - It's Therapeutic Value

My work with The Max Foundation involves a great deal of intervention with patients and their caregivers . The Support Group meetings we organise take me and my team to all corners of the country and sometimes to other countries in the South Asia region. Early this year, I began conducting Story Telling Workshops at these Support Group meetings.

There was a specific rationale behind this decision .

Most of our meetings always did have a segment where patients or caregivers would come up on the stage or podium and share their testimonials with the group. There was always the challenge of having to help patients make the best use of this opportunity to share. Sometimes , 
one or more than one speaker would take off on a tangent and go on for a very long time , meandering through various milestones , some pertinent to the focus of the meeting but most times not. The audience would then get restless and distracted and these sharings helped neither one of the them- the speaker nor the listener.

We knew how important these testimonials were and what a difference they made. But not the way they were being presented .

It was obvious that the rather unstructured and informal format needed to be taken in hand and all the energy channelized properly so that there was a purpose to it and positive outcomes for all. 

And the Story Telling Workshops took care of this need  . Our speakers and story tellers learnt how to present their testimonials within the structure provided to them . From being a monotonous and sometimes one dimensional narration , the story became focused and well defined. With a beginning that introduced the situation , with a middle that was weighed down with the challenges that was central to the story and with a conclusion that mirrored the whole experience of coming to terms and moving ahead . Of course there was a central character and others in supporting roles and a conflict that was recognized for what it was , and an outcome that was the result of the attitude with which the conflict was resolved.

it was interesting to see how cancer was never the villain but a supporting character in some and the vehicle of catharsis in another and maybe the real hero in yet another !!

In city after city and meeting after meeting we introduced this workshop and the results were amazing and heart warming . One after another , patients and caregivers came up with their offerings that had been worked upon and fine tuned and polished , ready to be served with style and panache.

We managed to get a few of them written down and translated too from the regional languages and will be sharing them all through this month on various platforms . This is our contribution to this year's Maximize Life Campaign . Telling Your Story - its Therapeutic Value  .

Creating awareness , building  courage , forging partnerships, bashing myths and destroying the stigma attached to cancer - what better way in which to honour the courage of Max and maximizing all those lives that has been touched by the interventions of Max.

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