Mental Fitness Coaching: Narrative Therapy for Recovery
“Mental Fitness Coaching: Narrative Therapy for Recovery. With advanced training in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, Ava Diamond brings her Narrative Therapy program to facilities that treat addiction and trauma. She can help you add this powerful modality for enhancing communication, developing insight, and fortifying the healing process by running workshops for both clients and staff.”
Many years back, I first learned of the power of one’s narrative through a unique and fascinating experience with a company called Narativ in NYC. That workshop sparked ideas about how to utilize such methods as part of the recovery from addiction and trauma. I took on formal education in Narrative Medicine through an intensive training program at Columbia University. I knew this would become part of my “signature” series of experiential workshops for a wide range of clients, from medical students to men in early recovery. I started a Narrative Therapy group with 12 men who shared the common ground of being emergency care workers (firefighters and police officers) AND dual-diagnosis that included addiction to alcohol or other mood-altering substances. While it was supposed to be a six week long group, the men kept “re-upping” (or asking for another six week session) because of the impact it was having in their reconnecting with parts of self that had gone dormant through PTSD and active addiction. They became poets; they shared deep emotion; they connected with each other and themselves with emotional intimacy that was foreign to them prior. The group went on for two years. Today, 9 out of 12 remain sober and in healthy, fulfilling relationships.
I bring Narrative Therapy and my specialized writing prompts that are customized to meet the needs of the group at the time (and often are spontaneously re-vamped when something comes to the forefront of the clinical community in the moment). I particularly find this an incredibly powerful modality for men (young and old….from teens through seniors) to find safer ways to “go deep” and share of themselves with others. Every week, I run this group in a couple of places and, I have to say, it never fails to move me…the rewards of witnessing such identification, expression, and mental fitness surpass my paycheck. Here is an example from earlier today…a young man who nearly died this past Summer responded to the prompt, “I am…” (which followed a carefully chosen motivational video clip:
“I am not just a mere drug addicted junkie. I am a complex human being with talents, strengths, shortcomings, feelings, successes, and failures, who happens to have an addiction problem.
I am not and will not be a victim of my circumstances. I am the culmination of every choice I have ever made, every feeling I have felt, every person I have met, every lesson I have learned, and every place I have been.
I am not too far gone, washed up, damaged goods, wasted potential, or a bad person. I am what I choose to be today. I am whatever I decide to be from this day forward. I am exactly the person I was meant to be.
I am under construction. I am a work in progress. I am in the process of recovering. I am fulfilling my destiny day by day. I am on the path to greatness. I am the author of the novel that is my life.
Today, I am a miracle, as long as I choose to, I am defying the odds.
I AM ME.”
I am…so proud of my client.