Dr Eric Miller's notes
for his presentation on
in the Panel on
Self Discovery through Expressive Arts
for Human Resource Development
on 17 Feb 2017
at the Annual International
Expressive Arts Therapy Conference
at Women's Christian College, Chennai
Introductory words about working with stories in general --
1) Think, feel, visualise, and imagine the story.
2) Write the story.
3) Draw the story.
4) Tell the story (as narrator, and as characters) to one or more other people.
5) Sing and Chant the story (as narrator, and as characters), using rhythmical, melodic,
and other styles of speaking.
6) Move and Dance the story (as narrator, and as characters), using postures, gestures,
rhythm, and various styles of moving.
7) As a team, act-out the story.
Storytelling, telling stories, is a particular modality of behavior and performance; and of sharing and communicating a story. Telling involves primarily the use of one's body and voice to communicate a story.
However, story is used in many of the modalities of Expressive Arts Therapy.
In Storytelling, when one speaks as a character, one puts one's listeners in the position of the character one's character is addressing. This is a fantasy role-playing activity.
Who am I? What do I love to do? What am I good at? What is my mission?
For better understanding one's self, and for increased awareness of one's self and of the ways in which one likes to contribute: write, draw, and/or tell the story of one's life (one's life story).
What do you love to do? What are some of your unique interests, skills, and talents? What are you good at?
Tell us about the situations in which you first became aware of these interests. How have you developed these interests through education and how have you applied them through work?
List 3 possible professions in which you could apply these talents.
Tell us about famous historical figures who were also good at what you are good at.
Who are your heroes in this field? Who do you admire? Who do you look up to? Who do you seek to imitate? Who do you model yourself after? Whose footsteps do you seek to follow?
What are some famous instances of the identified activities and abilities? Give some case studies.
Famous individuals, incidents (situations, opportunities, discoveries, inventions, advancements in the field, break-throughs, etc).
Culture heroes. Who would you like to meet? Who would you like to talk to?
In one's imagination, one can interact with characters and objects that are related to what one loves to do.
Tell stories about people in your field who have made important contributions to your field.
Tell the stories of what they did.
Tell the stories of what they did -- from their points of view (first-person narration).
In your imagination, you could talk with these characters.
Where would you like to study? At what college? With what professors, scholars, and authors?
Dreams relating to what one loves to do: Actual dreams. Hopes, aspirations, and ambitions.
What community am I a member of? Where do I fit in? Communities of choice.
In what community would I be appreciated? In what community would my talents be appreciated and useful?
In an organisation, a team, each member should be in the right position, in his/her area of talent and ability, to contribute the optimum amount and to be happy.
Tell the story of one's Industry.
Tell the story of one's Company.
Tell the story of one's Department.
What has been one of your favorite projects? Why was it a favorite project?
What has been one of your least favorite projects? Why was it a least favorite project?
What is a dream project of yours?
A possible job interview question: How does your Life Story fit with the story of this Company? How could you contribute to the Company and be a valuable team member? Consider the cultural DNA of the company, and your own cultural DNA. You might tell about shared values and goals.
Thought by association. Gather associated stories and characters. Identify archetypal (typical) occurrences.
Gather, collect (remember, research to learn about, and/or create) 7 or 8 stories that relate to one's unique interests, skills, and talents.
Surround oneself with a collection of stories, characters, that are variations on a theme (things one loves to do). Including dreams, grandmother stories, and proverbs.
Contextualise one's self. Discover the context around one's self.
One is not alone (avoid senses of isolation and alienation).
One is part of a team effort to combat a challenge, problem.
One does not have to invent the wheel all over again.
Activate one's imagination -- as well as one's logical-rational mind -- in relation to who one is and what one loves to do and wants to do.