“Telling Your Story” through Guided Autobiography
Wednesday, September 20, 2023, 9:00 AM
To register, please contact the Rev. Cheryl Brainard at [email protected] by September 11th!
The cost is $45 (scholarships are available) and Space is limited.
Why Guided Autobiography?
Many adults would like to share the story of their lives, but don’t know where or how to begin. The Birren Method of Guided Autobiography offers a series of themes and unique resources to help participants recall, organize, and write their stories, just two pages at a time. After writing two pages at home, participants share one story each week in a small group committed to confidentiality.
Guided Autobiography was researched and developed by Dr. James Birren (USC). It has been used for more than 45 years as a method to help people recall and share their life stories. There are many benefits to those who take a seven-week Guided Autobiography class. People who write and share their stories often gain insights about themselves — insights that are not available from journaling or writing stories on their own. Based on James Birren’s research, we know that writing and telling stories is very stimulating for the brain. In fact, one researcher said that writing and sharing stories is “like chocolate” for the brain. As stories are shared, class members often discover a sense of connection with others while also gaining new perspectives on themselves and new appreciation of their lives. Sharing life stories with others is an ideal way to find new meaning in life and to put life events into perspective.
This class is for YOU if you want to write your stories, even if you have never thought of yourself as a “real” writer. For most participants, Guided Autobiography is an opportunity to connect with their own stories and identities in a new and meaningful way. Some people will be writing their stories for their own personal benefit. Others may hope that at least some of their stories might be legacy gift to hand down to their family.
Guided Autobiography is offered throughout the country and around the world. It is held at UNCW through the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) here in Wilmington, where it is very popular and classes are small, making it often hard to get in. Here at St. James, Mary McKnight, a retired Presbyterian pastor, will be offering Guided Autobiography for 7 weeks in the Fall. She has led many small groups, including writing groups and retreats. From experience, she knows that being in a Guided Autobiography group can be a rich and quite meaningful practice.