Finding your story
I knew I was going to like Rachel from the outset.
I’d already logged into to Zoom and was a few minutes early so got up from my desk to unpack the natty new light I’d just bought that’s supposed to make me look better for the videos I put up online. Reaching for the box, I lifted the flap and four individually wrapped items clattered to the floor. I stooped to pick them up and heard a peel of laughter coming from the computer. Rachel was early too and had stumbled upon a view of my upended behind.
This was Dr Rachel Cason, British by nationality and, freakily, after growing up overseas, now based in Lincoln, the nicest, nearest city to the place we have just bought a house in England.
I’d been keen to meet her for a while. Her name was becoming increasingly familiar as she kept popping up in some of the Facebook groups I frequent and I had become intrigued by the name of her business: Life Story Therapies.
As you will know, I’ve been teaching people to write life stories for over a decade now and my two programmes, The Life Story Jar and Write Your Life Stories, have been experienced by hundreds of people all over the world, online and in person. If I can learn anything more about how to excavate, interpret, understand and express your life experiences then I’m on it. I take the class. I buy the book and I meet the expert. Rachel is one of those experts.
Growing up overseas as what is known as a TCK (Third Culture Kid), Rachel is no stranger to the conundrum faced by global nomads when asked the question: “Where are you from?” She knows how many people wrestle with concepts such as home, identity and belonging and how transition and culture can impact a life. During her PhD research she realised how a client’s life story could be the perfect place to start a counselling journey.
“You have to know your own story in order to bring any kind of truth to your character,” she explains. “Often we all create a pre-prepared version of who we are that we churn out when we meet people, but, like a Russian doll, this is only on the outer layer.”
As she went on to share with me the kind of questions she asks her clients in a two-hour preliminary intake session, I realised how helpful such questions would be for anyone who wants to write their life story or memoir. For, once a question has been asked, Rachel goes on to ask how an experience made them feel, what happened next and a variety of other pertinent questions that can reveal so much. Such deep personal exploration can only help the writer to portray themselves in an authentic and plausible way.
I was so excited to hear what Rachel had to say that I wanted to share this wisdom with you, to connect you with her and to let you see what her wisdom could add to your writing. Right away I booked her for an In Conversation video interview with me.
If you want to know more about Rachel and Life Story Therapies you can visit her website at explorelifestory.com or you can visit my Virtual Events page and sign up to our In Conversation interview on 15th October at 1pm UK time. It’s free of charge and a recording will be put on my website and YouTube later. However, it is only by attending the live event that you will be able to take part in the Q and A.
I’m so glad I have met Rachel and can’t wait to introduce her to you too. Hopefully I will have sorted out how to use that light by then.
Jo Parfitt's Monthly Inspirer