Annotated Bib: “Healing the Past through Story”

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry analyzes an article by Judy Mullet, et al. who explore the concept of healing through revising personal life stories. You may view the full text here.

To be human is to have a story to tell. meme
To be human is to have a story to tell.

Annotated Bib Entry

Mullet, Judy H., Nels M. K. Akerson, and Allison Turman. “Healing the Past Through  Story.” Adult Learning 24.2 (2013): 72-78. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.

Psychologist Judy Mullet, Ph.D. et al discuss the personal “baggage” (72) that all students bring with them into the classroom and how asking adult students to rewrite their stories within the context of a personal narrative paper can lead to healing. The authors explore current research on narrative psychology – how individuals construct stories about their lives and “self” – and discuss ways to incorporate the research into the classroom. Their research focuses on teaching adult learners to recognize alternatives to their previous stories and look at them from a new, and in many cases, healthier perspective.

We cannot escape story because we live one. meme
We cannot escape story because we live one.

This article discusses attachment theories and the tendency of human beings to construct stories or personal narratives to make sense of their lives. Unfortunately, it is common for us humans to become “stuck” on the stories that we told ourselves as children about how the world works. Our early life experiences may continue to inform our views of the world long into adulthood. This can be problematic when those stories present as anxiety and other disorders. The authors of this article discuss how the facts of a person’s life may not change, but the individual’s interpretation of the facts can.

By bringing new meaning to old stories, adults may learn to create secure emotional attachments regardless of the quality of relationships with childhood caregivers, thus promoting individual growth rather than stagnation.


“Dominant life stories shape our past, present, and future (White, 1986). Every person carries painful stories into the learning context. When such stories become unhelpful, a critical lens can help us reconceptualize the source of power in our lives.” (74).

healthy stories meme


I enjoyed this article, especially because it covers a concept that I hope to expound upon in my final paper. What stories have you told yourself about life that could change your world if told from a healthier perspective? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

NOTE: I created the memes for this post using quotes pulled directly from the article. Please feel free to pin them on Pinterest or share them on any other social media.

If you enjoy my scholarly writing, you might also enjoy my new book, Papers: A Master Collection on the Art of Writing. Buy your copy on Kindle today for just 99 cents!

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