Doing Storywork With Your Past

Rachael Anne Clinton of the allender center

We are storied people. Rachael Anne Clinton helps us understand why discovering the stories that have shaped our past benefits our present and future. Find out why she believes everyone has known some heartache, but why you can’t enter the trauma olympics. Listen to her fascinating story…


Your Storied Past Does Inform Your Present and Future

Highlights from the interview:
  • We all need witnesses to our stories, especially formative stories where we’ve known heartache and harm. When we’re young, we don’t have the capacity to see the whole picture.
  • When other people read our stories with us, they help us see the story more fully and accurately because we make a lot of assumptions about ourselves and what happened based on our younger self and our body’s desire to survive.
  • Often we develop shame and judgment around what has happened and we interpret it to be our fault if we don’t tell our stories.
  • We are storied people. That’s why she invites people to start to tell their stories and discover the stories that have shaped who you are.
  • It’s important to know that in some ways no family is perfect so there will always be some absence of love in places that we need it. It involves heartbreak and loss.
  • Trauma is a distressing or threatening event that gives your body an experience of threat.
  • A child who observes domestic violence will experience the same traumatic response as a child who has domestic violence directed at them. Being in the presence of terror activates the limbic system.
  • Is losing a family pet as traumatic as refugee families fleeing for their lives? There is no trauma olympics.

Listen to the episode for the full story.



Lifestory Writing



Stacy’s Journal

Welcome to Stacy’s Journal! In this segment, I let you peek into my journal as I share my thoughts on a topic or resilience resource.

Rachael and I touched on a side topic of finding a good therapist or counselor. So many people feel they must be in crisis to go to a therapist or they think only “other” people do so. I’d like to propose a different way of looking at this. A counselor or therapist is a fantastic brainstorming partner. They are a neutral person, someone who doesn’t judge you for your thoughts and feelings in any way. And they don’t have authority over you, so you don’t have to enter into the conversation as a weaker party. If you approach a therapist as a great person to bounce ideas off of, a partner to collaborate with you, and as someone to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with to take a keen eye to life’s issues, then you will gain tremendous insights and make the most of your connection. Psychology today is a great resource for finding just the right fit. And like Rachael said, start by having an introductory conversation with several to see who you click with. If you find a great counselor, please drop me a line and let me know your favorite way to work with that professional.

Last episode, Dr. Dan Allender shared his thoughts on the trauma of shame and the agreements we make with ourselves to hide that shame, so if you know anyone who may have been silenced by shame, you might want to go back and have a listen. Next week, we’ll interview our third guest from the Allender Center, Jeannette White and we continue digging into healing from heartache.

I love interacting with our listeners on social media. We’re on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and just about anywhere you can hold a great virtual conversation. Plus, I answer all my emails personally, so feel free to email me: stacy{at}stacybrookman{dot}com.

100 Most Important Memoirs of the Past 200 Years

This week’s memoir is: Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreath

No growing pains have ever been more hilarious than those suffered by the riotous Gilbreth clan. What do you get when you put twelve lively kids together with a father (a famous efficiency expert who believes families can run like factories) and a mother who is his partner in everything except discipline? You get a hilarious tale of growing up making generations of kids and adults laugh along with the Gilbreaths.

blankClick on the graphic to learn about this memoir and all of the most important memoirs of the past 200 years…


Rachael anne clintonAbout: Rachael Anne Clinton

Rachael Anne Clinton is a pastor, theologian, teacher, and therapeutic practitioner. She is a Master of Divinity graduate of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology and was privileged to collaborate with Dr. Dan Allender as a research assistant on his book Sabbath, part of the “Ancient Practices” series edited by Phyllis Tickle. Rachael’s work with The Allender Center involves training therapists, pastors, leaders, and lay counselors to work thoughtfully, compassionately, and powerfully with survivors of trauma and abuse. Her teaching and research are centered on the impact of trauma and abuse with regard to spiritual formation and biblical imagination. She has a deep conviction that our stories shape the way in which we experience and participate in God’s unfolding story. While offering both sanctuary and call to action, Rachael engages the elements of our stories that distort and disorder as well as reveal and illuminate God’s story and our place within it. She hopes to equip others to do the same in ways that are closer to the healing and holistic gospel intrinsic to our faith.



Links: Write of Your Life, Life Story, Memoir




Why write a life story you never want to publish




Also published on Medium.

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