“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” –Hopi American Indian proverb
I have been a psychologist for over 30 years. Carl Rogers was all the rage when I went to study for my graduate degrees at Harvard University in Developmental Psychology. The year was 1980. America had imprinted on our favorite therapist through the Bob Newhart Show, and it was the decade of the Rubik’s Cube, Cabbage Patch Kids and Bill Cosby. So, when it came to being a shrink, Carl Rodgers was a next great step forward from Sigmund Freud and the movie What About Bob.
What I took away from Carl was a process called “mirroring”. It goes something like this: “Oh, what I hear you saying is that you feel like throwing your cat out the window”. At that point the client throws the tissue box at me. This approach rapidly became a tool I tossed in the trash.
Then I became a bit obsessed with Fritz Perls. He was an unorthodox psychologist and I felt I would give him a try while my client was sobbing uncontrollably. The approach was an utter failure. Fritz not only believed in ruthless honesty, but also believed in disarming the facade of the client by eliciting a “spontaneous and uncensored response” through what amounted to insulting and antagonistic remarks, like, “You’re such a phony, in fact you’re a bitch”. The only place that took me was to the closet to get yet another box of tissues. I wrote a lot of apology notes during this time. Therapists aren’t perfect.
This approach proved equally as unhelpful in the process of doing therapy with a client who simply wanted the only thing that any client wants in the end: To be loved and feel lovable. My sacred job was to find out where the story of love was broken.
The One Story
After decades as a therapist I have found that there is only one story any person is recovering from and hoping to heal: A Love Story. Every client, every trauma and every impasse to healing is only about… Love: Self love, the love of a parent, falling in love, betrayal in love or the love of god. The ultimate longing is about feeling loved, feeling worthy, feeling enough. It didn’t matter if Dad was an abusive alcoholic, whether mom abandoned the family, a husband or wife cheated, a car accident left a young woman disfigured, whether someone was penniless and on the street or couldn’t hold down a job, it all led back to the most primal place in each human and the spiritual core of who we are: Feeling the certainty that we are unconditionally lovable and abundantly capable of giving and receiving love.
When I saw this truth embedded in the thousand stories that walked through the door of my office, Story became the only place I focused with each and every client. Their hoped for love story, their fractured love story, their mad-as-a-hatter-I-hate-the-world story of love gone wrong, of loves betrayal and their story of broken heartedness. Helping a full-throated version of their story emerge is the most powerful tool for healing I can offer.
Story as Medicine
As I helped clients dig down deep to the core of their own personal story I saw something begin to happen that was unexpected. People’s physical ailments, chronic health issues, cancer diagnosis and near death experiences turned on a dime toward healing, health and life. So, in 2003 I embarked on the study of how we hold our stories, like books, in the library of our neurology as jammed vibrational frequencies. And, I began to study Quantum Entanglement.
Quantum Entanglement is one of the central principles of Quantum Physics though it is also highly misunderstood. In short, quantum entanglement means that multiple particles which can be atoms, cells or people, are linked together in a way such that the measurement of one particle’s “quantum state” determines the possible quantum states of the other particles.
I was participating in Quantum Entanglement every time my client wrote and shared their story, chapter by chapter, with me or in a group. I was changed in the same ways as my client was in the movement of energy through the telling of story. And the movement of energy was initiated through the powerhouse of the heart, the largest electro-magnetic field in our body.
I then began a decade of using biofeedback to neutralize the imbalances in our neurology, which create those nasty “triggers” in life we just seem to respond to over and over again no matter how much therapy we do. We can all relate to having done a load of therapy, spent a pile of money on dealing with anger or fear and just when we think we are well beyond our issues, we hear a parent yelling at a child at the local mall and are instantly transported back in time to feel all the emotions we felt when we were yelled at as a child. We cannot help it. It just takes us over. Our neurology flips a switch and produces a full-blown regressive state. Most of us have dozens of repeating triggers that just don’t let go with regular therapy, because they are body memories. Energy cluttering up our electrical system.
I then started to work with soldiers who had returned from Iraq, broken and suffering from PTSD and only being given mind and soul numbing drugs as a solution to their pain. Working with how our physical bodies held the memories and the experience of trauma and then helping them to release these body memories through biofeedback was a monumental success.
In the process of watching my clients move how they held their stories in their cells, their neurology, their muscles and their minds it became even clearer that moving energy through the telling, the writing, the drawing, the dancing of our story had unlimited healing potential. Story has a vibrational frequency that goes with it and is shifted in the telling of story. Every word, name and emotion has a frequency as well.
There is agreement among science, medicine and metaphysics that certain frequencies can repel disease, and certain frequencies can destroy disease. Herein lies the link between frequency (vibration) and health. Everything in nature vibrates at different frequencies. In fact quantum physics describes the universe as nothing more than vibrating strings of energy! Scientific research has shown that different parts of our bodies have their own sonic signature. In other words, the sound of the cells of your heart differs from the sound of the cells of your Lungs
The awareness of Quantum Entanglement and the power of changing a person’s vibrational frequency changed my life and the lives of my clients. Therapy began to look like this: When one person fully shared the story they were born to live and tell, the experience of two or more people in a room sharing in the story changes each and every person in the room on a vibrational and cellular level. Cells began to spin differently and each individual was physically altered by the experience. New brain chemistry then takes over, hearts beat at a higher vibrational frequency with the presence of vulnerable emotions. In short, story heals and changes our physiology. And sharing a story in its fullness with those who are hearing you is simply an act of unconditional love. Now we have story as medicine.
So what does an M.D. have to say about story as medicine?
Lissa Rankin, MD is an OB/GYN physician, author, keynote speaker, consultant to health care visionaries, professional artist, and founder of the women’s health and wellness community OwningPink.com was discouraged by the broken, patriarchal health care system, she left her medical practice in 2007 only to realize that you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. She embarked on a radical path that has led to revelations about the power of story and how it can heal the body.
Lissa says, “Telling your story—while being witnessed with loving attention by others who care—may be the most powerful medicine on earth. Each us are a constantly unfolding narrative, a hero in a novel no one else can write. And, yet so many of us leave our stories untold, our songs unsung—and when this happens, we wind up feeling lonely, listless, out of touch with our life’s purpose, plagued with a chronic sense that something is out of alignment. We may even wind up sick.
Every time you tell your story and someone else who cares bears witness to it, you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins. Not only does this turn on the body’s innate self-repair mechanisms and function as preventative medicine—or treatment if you’re sick. It also relaxes your nervous system and helps heal your mind of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and feelings of disconnection.
When we tell our stories …a sense of disconnection eases and you start to glimpse the truth—that we are beings of vibrating energy, connected on the energy internet through processes like quantum entanglement, with overlapping consciousness that connects us to a divine source and to the inner pilot light of every being on this planet.”
As a psychologist and a writer I decided to embark on a path of therapy and healing that focuses on helping people unearth and tell their story, write their way to health and healing and share the uniqueness of who they were born to be and the story they had lived, with the world.
Countless people who have no idea that they are creative and have no intention to tell their story but instead, keep it under lock and key in their hearts, their bodies, their bottom drawer of a desk, have ventured to tell their stories unabridged, fully felt and fully disclosed only to find it was the most powerful choice they had ever made.
My spiritual belief is that we are the authors of each and every painful, exhilarating, mind-boggling story we have lived. Ultimately, we are not victims to a story. And as the only keeper of these stories, we incarnate on this planet to live the stories and learn, but to then share and teach. A story that is buried and that does not see the light of day in consciousness or in reality can create a toxic illness of the body and a stagnation of the soul.
It is my dedication at this juncture of my career as a writer, as a storyteller, as a therapist and as a teacher to help healing happen through the blissful, terrifying, passionate, challenging process of telling our stories to each other and the world. But, to ourselves first and foremost. Words are power and each one of them carries a vibrational signature that can alter reality.
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
― Nikola Tesla