Many of us remember the old game of “Telephone,” where the sharing of a statement begets some very funny changes to it.
The person at the start of the telephone chain whispers, a statement such as, “I like being outside and playing at the park” into the ear of the person next to him. That person then whispers what she heard into the ear of the person next to her, and so on down the line until the end.
When the final statement is shared aloud it has turned into “I like eating beans and making loud farts.” It is a fun game that shows how ideas change as they are retold and shared.
As humans we rely upon stories to understand our individual and collective experiences, as well as sharing them with others. The game of “Telephone” is helpful in understanding the important role that stories can play in counselling, particularly from a post-structuralist perspective.
Post-structuralism views language as something that is built upon by culture and context. People build their realities, and understanding of reality, upon language. Words and definitions shift and change based upon the cultures in which they are used and, therefore, the perspectives people carry about their lives are different based on where a person is from and the language they use.
In other words, language is subjective and therefore so is each person’s understanding of reality.
So, what happens when you construct a story of your life that is not helpful and constructive? Do you have to continue living with a story where you are the victim of life and happenstance? Is there a way that you can make changes to the story without losing your personal truths?
SKATTLE has created a way of making these changes by combining narrative, solution-focused, and strength-based approaches. SKATTLE provides a space where your story can be heard and expressed, while alternative perspectives of the story can also be explored.
The hope is that in reconnecting you with your strengths, skills, and values you can re-author your story into one that empowers you. It’s a little like playing “Telephone” with yourself.
You start out with a set story and throughout the process of sharing and exploring it you make changes to it, and ultimately come out with something new and hopefully better!