Write Experiment 5: Collect Story Seeds

Albert Bandura is one of my personal heroes.  He was a noted psychologist who concluded after a long academic life that psychologists were terrible at social diffusion of the useful ideas they produced.  In his later years, he turned his attention to fixing this problem by telling stories on radio and TV. The first three resources are about his serial dramas.

Basing stories on real people can make them vivid, but there are dangers of exposing information that may be personal or even confidential.  Asking permission covers some situations.  Making composite stories and changing identifying details can help.  I have included the APA Ethical Guideline concerning use of confidential information for didactic purposes as an example of a way to think about client stories.

  • Handelsman, Mitchell.  The Ethics of Sharing Client Stories.  Psychology Today Online.
  • American Psychological Association Ethical GuidelinesThe following passage is in section 4.07 Use of Confidential Information for Didactic or Other Purposes.

    Psychologists do not disclose in their writings, lectures, or other public media, confidential, personally identifiable information concerning their clients/patients, students, research participants, organizational clients, or other recipients of their services that they obtained during the course of their work, unless (1) they take reasonable steps to disguise the person or organization, (2) the person or organization has consented in writing, or (3) there is legal authorization for doing so.


One of the writers in my groups recommended this book about telling stories.

  • Dan McAdams, The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By. Oxford University Press, 2005.Sorry it’s about Americans, but I believe the concepts are probably generalizable, that we aren’t the only people in the world seeking “to transform our suffering into a positive emotional state, to move from pain and peril to redemption.” (from the Amazon book page)