How can we use storytelling as a vehicle for healing and community building?

As part of the international literaturefestival berlin, we were delighted to welcome 60 people for a reading and discussion on storytelling and changemaking with expert and trauma psychotherapist Justine Hardy. The author read from her book, 'In the Valley of Mist', which is set in strife-torn Kashmir and explained her approach of using storytelling as a vehicle to build resilience and create healing.

She was joined by Zozan and Salman who have taken part in the 'storytelling for resilience' training led by Questscope and MeWe  at the Migration Hub Network the weeks before the event. Together, they shared their experiences of using storytelling as a technique to unravel their past stories in order to rewrite the future. Their words were kindly translated by Victoria Victoria Hugelsdorfer from Questscope.

“Storytelling is a way of communicating between human beings but also a way to dig deep in ourselves to have a better understanding of ourselves.” - Justine Hardy

“Our lives are a mixture of the stories that we hear from the outside, that we tell the outside about ourselves and that we tell ourselves about ourselves. And the last one is the one that has the loudest voice" Justine Hard (left) explained the basis of her approach of using storytelling. "Understanding the inner part of the story gives you the capacity to change yourself."
We were thrilled to hear from Salman who shared his process of learning German in a love story that entertained people while at the same time illustrated the sometimes frustrating process of learning a new language. When asked what role comedy played in his storytelling experience, Salman answered: “When you see someone smile you know your story has arrived. It’s much more difficult to make someone smile than make them cry with your story"
“Resilience is the understanding that you will move on from the heart. It’s the movement forward no matter what the outcome may be, the ability to absorb and to keep moving forward” explained Justine Hardy. She believes that understanding your inner story and being able to communicate it can help to build up resilience.