My Story Project
Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of being human. In fact, stories contribute to our identity and provide a lens through which we view ourselves. Stories are a way to make meaning out of traumatic events, such as in the case of having aphasia. However, people with aphasia are disadvantaged in participating in this meaning-making experience due to their reduced language capacity — a necessary tool in storytelling.
Story can be a product, but story is also a process. A crucial part of the process is the relationship between the storyteller (or the person with aphasia) and the story listener (the clinician) that sparks the power of this process. Speech-language pathologists (SLP) are particularly well suited for supporting identity renegotiation through narratives using their skills and expertise. Further, SLPs report having a role in supporting the renegotiation of identity in their clients with aphasia, yet also report not having the knowledge or skills to target such work directly.
Clinical tools for co-constructing personal narratives with persons with aphasia are emerging in the literature but limited. Therefore the ‘My Story’ Project was created as a way for clinicians to support their clients with aphasia in exploring and sharing a story about their life.
The premise of ‘My Story’ is that targeting communication and language through personal narratives about stroke and living with aphasia may impact identity in persons with aphasia, which may contribute positively to their adjustment to living with aphasia. The ‘My Story’ protocol was designed to co-construct and share a personal narrative about their life.
The narrative used the following framework:
Bronken B.A., Kirkevold M., Martinsen R., Kvigne K. (2012). The aphasia storyteller: Coconstructing stories to promote psychosocial well-being after stroke. Qual Health Res.; 22: 1303-1316.
Kirkevold, M., Martinsen, R., Bronken, B. A., & Kvigne, K. (2014). Promoting psychosocial wellbeing following stroke using narratives and guided self-determination: A feasibility study. BMC Psychology, 2(4),
Corsten, S., Schimpf, E. J., Konradi, J., Keilmann, A., & Hardering, F. (2015). The participants’ perspective: How biographic-narrative intervention influences identity negotiation and quality of life in aphasia. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 50(6), 788-800. https://doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12173
Shadden, B. B., & Agan, J. P. (2004). Renegotiation of identity: The social context of aphasia support groups. Topics in Language Disorders, 24(3), 174-186.
Strong, K., (2015). “Co-Construction of Personal Narratives in Supporting Identity and Communication in Adults with Aphasia: The ‘My Story’ Project”. Dissertations. 748.