Richard Stone, President of Story Work Institute was the keynote speaker today at the National Associational of Therapeutic Schools and Programs conference in Orlando, FL this week. Rick demonstrated the value of storytelling for helping struggling teens to heal and move forward defining meaning and purpose in their lives.

With his interactive presentation to more than 475 attendees Rick took us all to new level of thinking: validating how storytelling can be a conduit for changing relationships and restructure our perspective of painful past experiences consequently directing the pain toward a path of healing. Rick says that storytelling is actually a lifeline for all types of relationships.

Each of us had the opportunity to share our earliest memory of fire. We began by closing our eyes, blocking out all distractions. This was difficult for some who were playing games and texting on their smart phones. Then, we paired up and allowed each other to tell our story uninterrupted. That’s right: no comments until the person had completed their story. This technique actually made the story you were listening to come alive. I could actually see the ember from the fire Beth Black’s father was tending float over the fence and in a flash ignite the field next door.

The whole experience brought to the foreground an opportunity for reassessment. What are you missing with gaming and surfing the web? Would it help your family relationship to turn off the television and spend a few hours a week providing stability for your children by relating stories of your family heritage? Rick says yes. Moreover, Rick identified benefits of storytelling with adolescents in therapeutic schools and wilderness programs and encouraged attendees to incorporate this into their therapeutic models.

Thank you, Rick Stone for bringing your expertise to this national event and allowing us to broaden our horizons.