STORY THERAPY: USING STORYCRAFT SOFTWARE/APPS TO REACH GOALS, HANDLE OBSTACLES, OVERCOME TRAUMA, AND REVEAL THE HERO IN YOU
Did you know that telling (and writing) stories is therapeutic — and the StoryCraft line of software/apps is perfectly designed for that use?
This article will explain how you can use StoryCraft to improve wellness and overcome challenges and trauma by re-writing the story of your challenge/situation/trauma but patterned after the universal story of the hero’s journey to help move you from victim perspective to hero perspective.
This is what we call Berent-Jarvis Story Therapy — named for the originators of StoryCraft Software , Irwin Berent and John Jarvis, and developed by Berent. And the stories you will write using this “story therapy” with StoryCraft Software will be tailored to your unique needs by giving you total freedom to re-invent the story of your challenge or trauma — making up characters (perhaps even removing you as the main character), choosing a different outcome, and re-writing your experiences in ways that are less threatening and easier to make sense of.
The Power of Story!
Story telling and writing stories taps into the way our brains are wired, growing through the process of establishing patterns, giving knowledge to us by the creation of patterns. Humans have an innate desire to make sense of things, to give meaning to things, to understand what happens in life; and stories are patterns of understanding, the closest thing we can get to understanding what life is and why we are here.
Our lives are in themselves confusing and haphazard, we long for patterns we can count on, reaching conclusions that we expect to happen — yet so often in life, things don’t work out, but in most stories things do ultimately work out. And even if they sometimes don’t reach the “happily ever after,” they at least give us a feeling of understanding why the result happened.
And it is the stories of heroes on a journey that capture our imaginations, and our brains, more than any other kind of story.
The Hero’s Journey Story is a Universal Pattern of the Heroic Life — and StoryCraft is the first and only software program to incorporate this pattern in the creation of EVERY kind of story!
The typical story of a hero found throughout history, dating back to the earliest stories and myths of all the great civilizations, follows a general pattern, identified by Joseph Campbell as the “Monomyth,” also known as the Hero’s Journey. It flows like a clock (moving clockwise in the graphic below), tracing a journey of a hero, starting in a familiar world, being called upon to meet a challenge, facing repeated trials, tribulations, and failures, and ultimately reaching re-birth and triumph in some sense.
Graphic by Beverly Glick, Globe Staff
In fact, every story — every life — is in some sense the story of a hero on a journey. And that pattern of story is repeatedly used in most every piece of fiction and nearly every movie (and not just in stories about superheroes). And it is utilized as the basis for every program in the StoryCraft line of software/apps. Indeed, StoryCraft was among the first to use the Hero’s Journey paradigm for the creation of every kind of story, no matter what genre, type, or plot. (And therein lies the key to why StoryCraft is so useful not just for writing but also for wellness and therapy. Read on…! )
The graphic below shows how the characters in movies about heroes on journeys are all similar. In fact, in all of our lives, we face such characters, helpers and roadblocks in one form or another, if not literally then figuratively.
Graphic by Patrick Garvin, Globe Staff
But the Hero’s Journey has superpowers far beyond mere entertaining — it can build a new way of thinking
So, to summarize thus far, the Hero’s Journey makes for entertaining movies (and novels) because such stories give us a deeper understanding of life and heroism, and they help us make sense of our world by tapping into our brain’s natural need for patterns of understanding… and they give us examples of heroes and heroism to emulate.
But it could be said that using the Hero’s Journey pattern in writing stories can give us superpowers far beyond that of normal men. That may sound like an exaggeration, or at least like Superman, but in fact the Hero’s Journey can be more than just a literal story of the journey of a hero, it can be the avenue to a way of thinking, of perceiving yourself, your life. It can give meaning to life even when it may be at its lowest, most confusing, most frightening, and most desperate.
All that is needed is to view ourselves, our experiences, in terms of the Hero’s Journey, as though we are on a hero’s journey of our own — and since 1996, StoryCraft Software has been pioneering and perfecting the use of the Hero’s Journey pattern in the creation of every kind of story. So we could, in effect, re-write our particular story — with our particular experience(s) — in the pattern of the hero’s journey.
There are, in fact, an endless number of experiences and situations to which you could apply the Hero’s Journey — not just to writing literal journeys of heroes. The following graphic, for instance, suggests how one might construct a story patterned after the hero’s journey in terms of going through the experience and challenges of cancer treatment.
Graphic by incrediblemarketing.com
Moving From Victim Thinking to Hero Thinking
When you see your situation in terms of the Hero’s Journey you are changing your perspective from that of victim to that of hero.
A victim lacks control, lacks purpose and direction, a clarity about who they really are and where their life is going, and instead allows the situation, or challenges, or roadblocks, or even tragedies, to control them and define them, to control their thinking, to control their attitude, even to depress them.
Yet a victim is what makes a hero. Arguably, heroism could be defined as being a victim…but moving on IN SPITE OF the situations that he or she has been a victim of. And that is the message that the Hero’s Journey can impart.
StoryCraft Software and Berent-Jarvis Story Therapy Allow You to Re-Write Your Story!
You can’t change history, but you can view it in a different way, many different ways. You can re-write your story in the pattern of the hero, as a hero’s journey. And with story therapy and StoryCraft you can do just that — and liberate yourself from the mindset of victimhood!
Whether you want to establish important goals for yourself, conquer a fear, or handle a challenge, disability, disease, trauma or PTSD, creating a story patterned after the Hero’s Journey paradigm can provide the solution (and as we shall see momentarily, StoryCraft makes that process much easier to accomplish).
This “story therapy” — Berent-Jarvis Story Therapy — involves creating a story that expresses your experience and/or goal. It is a story from your life, but not as a true story or biography but rather as fiction. For by making it fiction, it removes the sense that it is about you personally or perhaps even anything that resembles your situation. It is “just a story.” It gives you great flexibility in how you can tell the story. It doesn’t even have to be absolutely accurate. While the main character may be based on your life, it need not be exactly you. Indeed, it can be a person more like whom you want to be, or wish that you were more like. It could be your parent, or a superman/superwoman, or a favorite actor, or it could even be an animal, a cartoon. The point is that the characters in your story may resemble those in your life but they don’t have to. The only requirement is that they express at least the idea of what you have experienced or want to overcome, however vague or abstract the story might be.
And it allows you to create an outcome, a happily-ever-after ending, or whatever ending you would like to have or wish you had had — an outcome that you can embrace and strive for, or at least one that you can better understand. It defines and clarifies your goal and makes it more reachable, more tangible, more understandable, while making your fear and trauma a little less difficult to accept — or at least a little easier to face in some small way, even if just through the telling of a silly-seeming fictitious story.
While life events are often disconnected and difficult to make sense of, and we cannot easily see our life in a clear and concise way, stories can be seen in a total way, and in just a small amount of time and space (it just takes an hour to watch a movie or a few hours to read a novel). With the Hero’s Journey story pattern, a part of a life, or even the totality of a life, is condensed into an even more compact, digestible format.
When you have completed the story, you will have a re-telling of your experience/fear/challenge in a form that is less intimidating or traumatic to read than it would be if it were entirely accurate or if it resembled too closely your actual situation. It allows you to see your situation in a different way — and by using the story-writing guidance of StoryCraft Software , with its emphasis on the Hero’s Journey, it allows you to see it not so much as a trauma or fear but as a part of a journey of a hero!
And that is the ultimate point: that your story, your experience, your agonies, your triumphs, your failures, are all part of what makes you a hero — a hero on a journey or journeys!
StoryCraft Software : The Ideal Program for Self-Wellness and Self-Healing Through Story Writing
StoryCraft Software is a writing tool that uses the Hero’s Journey story pattern to guide people through the process of writing any kind of story. The story-development instructional process that it adopts is known as the Jarvis Method (developed by StoryCraft originator John Jarvis), a process that makes the program easy to use — whether the writer is a beginner or a professional — and perfect for whatever purpose — whether for wellness or therapy, for getting your writing published, or just for the pure fun and relaxation of writing.
For story therapy, StoryCraft is especially useful not only because the stories it helps you write are all based on the Hero’s Journey pattern but also because the Jarvis Method of story instruction that it adopts breaks down the entire process of developing and creating a story into clear, simple steps. And it dramatically simplifies the process of deciding what kind of story to write for your particular purpose.
Taken together, those steps carefully define the kind of story you want to write, the purpose of the story, the genre of the story, the Type of the story, the World and Characters of the story, the Plot of the story, and ultimately the individual Structure Steps of the actual story, each suggesting the kinds of things that should be happening at a particular stage of the story.
And at no point in developing and writing your story are you ever “left hanging.” Throughout the process, you receive constant guidance, including examples from A Christmas Carol, the classic by Charles Dickens, and other well-known works of fiction and movies, to ensure that you understand fully each step and have ample ideas for proceeding through your story.
The beauty of StoryCraft is that it allows you to think about the kind of story you’re going to be writing as though it is to be a novel or movie, therefore making it less intimidating than it might seem if it is thought of as “your life story” or a memoir of an event in your life. And with that perspective, you are given information about how to determine what type of story you should choose to write based upon your particular purpose, need, or goal.
Unique to StoryCraft , it offers a complete range of what the Jarvis Method calls Story Types to choose from. Different from genres, they are complete general plots, patterned after the Hero’s Journey. In addition, the Jarvis Method recognizes not just two general categories of stories, Action and Character, but a third and undoubtedly most significant: Theme or Myth. The Theme (later called Myth) Category comprises all those stories that have a larger message or theme or moral to the story. Yet no matter the Category, they can all serve therapeutic uses.
Within each Category of story, there are particular Story Types. For instance, a character-category story generally has only one of two story types: either Internal Transformation (which involves a character that, by story’s end, has dramatically changed a major set of beliefs), or Coming of Age (which involves a character that goes through an emotional change from childishness to maturity). The program also provides examples of actual stories and movies that fall under each Story Type. Forrest Gump, for example, is a Coming of Age story; and Schindler’s List, an Internal Transformation story. (Note: You don’t have to know all of this in order to use the software; it is all clearly explained within the program.)
Begin Your Heroic Writing Journey With StoryCraft Today!
Designed for any skill level, from wannabe beginner to professional writer, StoryCraft Software is a life-long tool for creating stories of any kind of fiction, based on the Hero’s Journey pattern. The software provides the guidance, organizing and word processing features needed to create complete, fully developed novels and screenplays… as you write. You can write stories with it that you can get published or produced — maybe you’ll write the next blockbuster movie or bestselling novel — or you may want to use it to re-write your personal experiences for story therapy, or just write whatever stories you feel like writing for your entertainment, inspiration, or intellectual stimulation. You might want to post a story on your internet site or on a blog, or just write stories for your eyes only. If using it for story therapy, your story can also help others who are facing similar challenges/traumas, etc.
Indeed, your only limit to what stories you can write with StoryCraft is your imagination. The journeys you write about, the journeys you create with it, can take you as far as you want to go…and beyond.
~ ~ ~
The StoryCraft line of writing software offers writers three different, but all excellent, tools for story creation: