Story Lab


The stories we live by

The stories we live by is an intervention that combines life review with narrative therapy. The intervention addresses depressive symptoms as well as feelings of well-being in middle-aged and older people. The method was first developed as a face-to-face group intervention. Later, an online-guided self-help course was developed and tested that also showed effects on depressive symptoms and well-being. The most recent version is an internet version that includes either online guidance by a counselor or a group-based form where participants guide each other.

The first study was carried out with a grant from ZonMw in cooperation with fourteen mental health institutes in the Netherlands.

The intervention is rated with good indications for effectivity at the Centre for Healthy Living.

Precious memories (Dierbare herrinneringen)

“Precious memories” is a training in autobiographical memory for older persons. Its goal is to decrease depressive complaints. In five sessions, participants are trained in recalling specific positive memories. These are unique positive memories that happened on a specific day in the life of the participant. The training can be implemented in care and social work. A unique feature is that trained volunteers provide the training to the participants. The products consist of a description of the intervention and its implementation, a manual and protocol for volunteers as well as a training and e-learning for volunteers.

Precious memories has been developed in cooperation with Zorggroep Sint Maarten and Zorgcentrum de Posten. The programme Vitalititeit ontmoet Kwetsbaarheid provided financial support.

The products are available at De Schrijverij.

Stories on hospital care (Sterke verhalen uit het ziekenhuis)

We collected over 100 written patient narratives on how they make sense of their involvement in hospital care. We identified 4 involvement patterns indicative of the dynamic interchange between patients, professionals and the health care system:

  1. Agreement between patient and professional about the kind and degree of involvement;
  2. Patients have higher involvement demands than expected by professionals;
  3. Patients have lower involvement demands than expected;
  4. Patient involvement is unarticulated or uncertain.

As these patterns are not fixed, staff and patients can be trained to reflexively steer toward patterns that result in higher quality and safety of care.

Stories on hospital care was developed in cooperation with the Rathenau Institute.

The product consists of a report and a scientific report.

Workshop Future Letters and scenarios

Sharing personal stories of the future can be an important building block for community building, team identity formation, personal growth, and social transformation. Speaking out your own dreams, wishes, desires and concerns can be very rewarding and transforming. Listening to those of others can be equally motivating, inspiring, and stimulating to reflect on one’s values and goals. In this workshop, participants write their own letters from the future and consequently share their letters with the other participants under the guidance of a trained moderator. Depending on the experiences, background, and goals of the group, the workshop can be modified to make an optimal fit.