Hidden Gems and Dark Kingdoms

DAVID DRAKE, the psychologist, coach and writer on Narrative Coaching, talks about narrative coaching often discovering 'hidden gems' in a person's life, really interesting things about us, or connections that can bring a greater clarity about who we are, can remain hidden under the day-to-day activities we get involved with. But, when we take time to reflect, we can find them and using story it might be possible to discover or re-discover some of these 'gems' because of the way that narrative can help us to think outside of the box.

An illustration from a session with a client shows this well. I had given my client an exercise to think of their life as a film. They would write the script, produce the film in a genre of their choice and, as the Director, also choose which scenes to show and how they would be filmed.

My client created a film of their life in the style of Pan's Labrynth (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457430/) - a Spanish film with a small girl as the central character who is able to see supernatural creatures that influence the real world in a way that others do not. My client talked about their career and life in these terms bringing ogres, gremlins and ghosts into scenes causing my client to make mistakes at work, stay up late drinking too much and characters in their life and career so far began to take on a figurative form such as witches, wizards and other spectral forms.

In thinking about their life in this way it helped them to articulate the core issues that went on in certain difficult workplace relationships and to see things as they were for the first time. For example, when they realised that two difficult relationships were such because these were two witches in different dark kingdoms battling for my client's devotion and using them as a pawn in their kingdom building it helped them to see why certain situations had not worked well. It meant that it wasn't because my client was bad at their job or incompetent or a failure, but because the witches had created a no-win situation. This then had a free-ing affect on my client and they saw a move away from that organisation as an escape from these two wicked witches.

When I asked them how they felt now, they responded, ' it's like I have been under a spell but now I see things as they really were. Now that I am not in the dark kingdom ruled by the witches I can begin to see myself in a new light with growing confidence in my abilities.'