Broken hearts, broken homes, and broken relationships: an exploration into the use of storytelling approach in the pastoral counselling of people in search of healing from painful memories.
Okeke, Joseph Arinze.
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The volatile nature of the numerous life crisis experienced in South Africa has a direct (or indirect) link to the chequered socio-political history of the country. For example, the years of repressive and violent Apartheid era have led to broken families, broken relationships and broken communities. Also, other forms of life crisis and pain can arise from years of sexual, emotional, psychological and physical abuse of a person either as a child, adolescent or adult. Some of the elements of such painful abusive past experiences are still recalled with sadness and may manifest to cause some crisis, even though they may have been blocked or suppressed from one’s mind. The consequences show in the forms of bitterness, hatred, depression, anger, violence, abuses, crimes, addictions, etc. necessitating that the person seek professional help in dealing with such a crisis. Considering that these people may be in search of healing (from painful memories) in South Africa, the researcher examines the contribution of pastoral counselling and healing workshops which adopt the storytelling method towards the healing and restoration of those with painful memories. The study is grounded on Louw’s life story (narrative) model and argues that storytelling can be utilised as a powerful tool of healing as the method offers a safe space for victims of abuse to tell their stories, be listened to and through the process reclaim themselves.