Institute of Emerging Psychologies

Did you know that each and every one of us is a storyteller and that we tell stories every day? Our stories are chapters in our life narratives, and when we share them we enrich the lives of those who are listening as they relate it to their own narrative. Storytelling helps us recount and evaluate our life experiences and put our lives into a context. Our personal stories are the threads that together are woven together to illustrate our lives as they unfold.

Storytelling is an ancient, universal device to bring our experiences, legends, wisdom, dreams and values to life through narrative. All peoples of all times and cultures have told stories about themselves, their ancestors, their heroes and their deities. Storytelling is an amalgam of experience, imagination, cultural paradigms and mysticism. When we tell our stories we are creating explicit narratives that include action, characters, images and dialog. When we tell others of a dream or experience we become storytellers. Stories are the means by which we transmit our personal experiences as well as the wisdom, culture and beliefs that constitute our societal matrix. These provide the contextual lenses through which the events recounted in the story are made meaningful by the audience. The myths and legends that are passed down in families and societies are artifacts of that group’s story that are kept alive trans-generationally through the recounting. Members of cultures outside of the culture of origin interpret those stories through their own cultural lenses, frequently giving them meanings not envisioned by the original storytellers (Berger &, Luckmann, 1966; Geertz, 1973), as well as informing us of our own lenses and beliefs.

Storytelling is a part of our daily lives. Sharing narratives is a fundamental of human interaction. Stories bridge our inner worlds with our outer worlds and the mundane with the mystical. Good storytelling will always generate a sense of wonder in the listener, and for that reason storytelling has retained its popularity and relevance. The International Storytelling Center hosts an annual three-day festival every October in Jonesborough, TN. This event – which is usually packed – is an opportunity to enjoy master storytellers from all over the world while enjoying early autumn in a glorious Appalachian setting. (

The above is an excerpt from Finding the Phoenix: Seven Tools for Transformative Self-Discovery by Karel James Bouse, Ph.D/Ph.D coming in May, 2022 from Balboa/Hay House.