The Science, Sense & Soul of Stories

psychology storytelling Dec 27, 2023

Every person has a story to tell, a narrative woven into the very fabric of their being. Stories are not merely sequences of events; they are the heartbeats of our lives, pulsating with the power to connect, educate, inspire, entertain, influence, and shape our memories. This universal truth, evident from our childhood fairy tales to the epic sagas celebrated on the silver screen, underscores the omnipresence of stories in guiding us through life's labyrinth. They offer us a lens to understand the world and ourselves, bridging gaps between souls and across time.

My journey into the world of stories began unexpectedly in the aisles of a grocery store at the age of six. That day, drawn to a woman offering samples, I found more than just grape Kool-Aid and Chips Ahoy cookies. I discovered the essence of "story" in our simple yet profound interaction. This early encounter taught me the power of storytelling to forge genuine human connections, a lesson that has guided me throughout my life.

Stories became my constant companions, shaping my afternoons with tales from "Sesame Street" and "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." As I matured, so did my understanding of stories—not just as entertainment but as catalysts for empathy, change, and deep human connection. This realization led me to a career as a mental health clinician, transitioning from narrator to guardian of stories and eventually to questioning and rediscovering my narrative voice through a doctoral program focused on the psychology of media and storytelling.

In 2022, I embraced a new role as an active storyteller, stepping away from the sidelines to reclaim my voice. Now, as we venture into 2024, my commitment deepens. Through this series, I plan to immerse myself further in the world of stories, exploring the tales we tell and the intricate dynamics of our relationships with them. This journey goes beyond the act of telling; it's about unraveling the rich tapestry of human experience and understanding the nuances of who, when, where, and how we share our narratives.

As we venture into 2024, my commitment to deepening our collective understanding of storytelling only grows. I aim to dive into the myriad forms stories take—from the written word in books, the stories unfolding on TV screens, the live narratives shared at story festivals that connect us in real-time, and more. At each step, I'll bring you insights from the social sciences, psychology, and beyond to illuminate not just how stories are told but why they resonate so deeply with us because—this is how we story.