© 2020 by Mim Kempson

"Problems cannot always necessarily be eliminated, but we can certainly change our relationship with them to navigate them more seamlessly."
I've worked in storytelling for over ten years. I started out as a portrait photographer, documenting the lives of buddhist monks, social activists, artists, authors and musicians. Enamoured by the theatre-like essence of fashion photography, I moved from Perth to Melbourne to pursue a career in the industry.

Soon, I realised that my love in storytelling lay more in words than pictures, so I completed a Bachelor of Professional Communications and spent a year in Montreal where I trained as a journalist, writing for local publications. 

When I returned to Australia I freelanced for magazines like Vogue and Dumbo Feather, and later took on a corporate communications position at an international secretariat of the United Nations focusing on urban sustainable development. During this time I was also health blogging and competing in body building.

It wasn't until I burnt out and my health went into decline that I decided to use storytelling for therapeutic purposes. That's when I came across narrative therapy and completed a Masters in it. Read more about my story.

Cultivate greater emotional-, social- and self-awareness

We are surrounded by endless dominant narratives (otherwise known as social expectations) on how to be the 'best' kind of person - parent, partner, worker, woman and so on. If we, a) notice these narratives and the effect they have on our lives and, b) 'write' the narratives we'd prefer to live by into our realities, we set ourselves up to make positive changes in our lives more easily.

Diminish the intensity that problems have on your life

We cannot always eliminate problems, but we can definitely change the relationship we have with them. This is certainly true for people living with chronic illnesses, for example. In narrative-informed life coaching we do not use 'positive reframing' or 'mindset techniques' like we may expect from traditional life coaching. I take a more socially conscious approach to thinking about problems.

Enrich your relationships (including with yourself)

In narrative therapy identity is considered relational and performative. This means that we understand ourselves through the relationships we have with others. We 'perform' identity - it is fluid and varies from space to space. Keeping these ideas at the forefront of our minds and central in conversation, we gain more power and momentum in stepping into the person we'd like to be.

Gain clarity and confidence in decision making

Learn about what narratives and beliefs inform your decision making. Let's take a step back and consider how these are helping or hindering you. By building a greater understanding of our own values, skills and hopes, decision making comes easier.

Banish self-blame and inspire action

The person is not the problem - the problem is the problem. While accountability may be an important ingredient in taking action in our lives, we cannot say things like "hard work brings success" without acknowledging the fact that the gender pay gap exists and minorities face additional obstacles. The personal is often the political. Meaningful social and personal change comes when we notice these narratives around power then take action to change their effects.