How Stories Tap a Wellspring of Transformation, Wisdom and Meaning in Behavioral Health

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How Stories Tap a Wellspring of Transformation, Wisdom and Meaning in Behavioral Health

February 24 @ 1:00 pm 4:00 pm CST

Ancient storytellers claim that when the water of life first appeared to humans from an Artesian spring, it was pure and vibrant. Soon however, humans tried to study and improve upon it, then control it and sell it. As they did, the water was insulted, gradually lost its energy and ceased to flow, even as humans continued selling it. Then the water sprang up again in some unexpected place. Humans treated it the same way, with the same result. Some say it has always been this way and still is.

You could look at this story literally and find meaning. We have many actual water issues in our world as humans contribute to climate change. But what if we symbolize the story’s meaning as a reflection of our psyche or inner water that is in much the same tortured state as the actual? The idea is that there is a deep-flowing aquifer of consciousness, energy or imagination inside that wants to help and connect meaningfully to us and beyond. It is in deep trouble, too, ranging from individual depression and anxiety, to cultural nihilism and fundamentalism. In order to effectively reach it, however, we need to learn its wise, imagistic language and meet it halfway with respect, not reduce it to simple morals. This program will show how to play with stories to find the hidden seeds that want to nurture us toward wholeness in the moment, not simply clear us of bothersome symptoms. “The gift is near the wound” is an ancient example of such story wisdom.

The first hour of the program will introduce us to three distinct but overlapping faces of reality — literal, relational and ideal — and appreciate their revelations in stories. The second hour’s theme will be the relational — how manners and conflict in stories can bring transformation and meaning to individuals. The third hour will reflect cultural issues and connect with the third face of reality, the ideal or mythological background, and how this backdrop influences clients and our efforts with them. We will play/practice imaginative ways to diagnose and write goals and objectives in light of story patterns and search for stories that match client symptoms and goals.


Participants will be able to

  1. Discuss how manners and conflict in stories bring meaning and transformation to individuals
  2. Describe how this story will influence clients and efforts with them
  3. Demonstrate ways to diagnose, write goals and objectives to match client symptoms and goals


David Strabala, LCSW, is a therapist with 30 years’ experience as well as a storyteller and filmmaker who shares ancient stories and wisdom to help clients discover healing connections. He has told these tales of the heroes and tricksters for 23 years – currently as a counselor to troubled teens at the Clay County Juvenile Office. David directed an award-winning feature documentary in 2014, “What Is Synchronicity?” about C.G. Jung’s concept of meaningful coincidence in the stories of our lives