The Power of Stories: Moving Beyond "Them" and "Us"


What are the stories we hold most dear about ourselves? What stories do we tell about others, and how do those stories take shape? Research indicates that we make sense of the world through stories. But stories - particularly the ones we tell about other people - can sometimes deepen the rifts that come between us, creating a feared other; a caricatured "Them."

This workshop offers tools and structures for harnessing the power of stories to move beyond stereotypes and fear, bringing “Us” and “Them” into relationship through understanding.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore how stories can reinforce or erode stereotypes about “us” and “them.”
  • Understand how stories can shape perception, individual behavior, and group dynamics.
  • Explore the ways that telling stories in a facilitated conversation can foster new depths of understanding between people.
  • Experience the effects of telling and reflecting on some of your own stories.
  • Learn techniques for inviting fuller, more complex stories from others.
  • Enhance your ability to listen to and make sense of other people's stories.


As a result of this workshop, you will be equipped to:

  • Feel heard and understood, and able to listen more deeply to another’s perspectives.
  • Help groups feel more connected and grounded in one another’s experiences.
  • Create opportunities for opponents to be seen and understood; to see one another’s humanity, and rebuild their own by moving beyond assumptions.
  • Harness the power of story in a range of settings, including facilitated dialogues, presentations or lectures, meetings, and interpersonal interaction.

 Who might participate:

  • Educators engaging students in difficult conversations involving personal experiences or identity
  • Leaders and managers responsible for eliciting individual and shaping organizational stories
  • Civic leaders looking to encourage greater mutual understanding across political or ideological differences
  • Family therapists or mediators seeking to foster greater compassion between people in deep disagreement
  • Coaches, facilitators, or organizational consultants seeking to integrate story more intentionally into their practice.


We offer Continuing Education credits for this workshop. This workshop is approved for 6 clock hours for Massachusetts licensed social workers, marriage and family therapists, and New Hampshire pastoral psychotherapists. This program has been approved for 6 Social Work Continuing Education hours for relicensure, in accordance with 258 CMR. Collaborative of NASW and the Boston College and Simmons Schools of Social Work Authorization Number D 71160-3. Credits are accepted by the NH Board of Mental Health Practice for all licensed NH mental health professionals.

For more information, reach out to or 617-923-1216 ext. 10.

Workshop policies.

Upcoming Workshops

November 8, 2018
186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Suite 212, Cambridge, MA 02138
Regular fee
Early Bird Special:
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Personal Stories, Small Group Exercises, Active Listening, Reflection, Application through Case Studies


Incredibly impactful. I was surprised at how simple shifts in both speaking and listening can cultivate curiosity about one another and move beyond labels.

Workshop Participant

Stories can be healing, shaping vehicles for personal growth and development - not just to illustrate points.

Workshop Participant

The format demonstrated how to apply the tools to working with groups and helped to demonstrate what we were learning through active participation.

Workshop Participant