Story Lab

Who am I? A life story intervention for persons with intellectual disabilities and psychiatric problems

Text: “Who am I?” is a life story intervention that was is developed for persons with intellectual disabilities and psychiatric problems. The intervention builds on insights from narrative therapy and life review therapy. A first evaluation has shown that the intervention is well accepted by clients and that their complaints reduce during the intervention. Further research will contribute to the theoretical foundation of the intervention and effects on positive functioning besides effects on psychiatric problems. Furthermore, qualitative analyses of course books as well as several n=1 studies are planned.

Years: 2013-2017

Funding Agency: GGNet

Partner: VGGNet

Contact: Janny Beernink

Machine-based mapping of innovation journeys

Commercial innovation is vital for the future of organisations. Especially to large and mature corporations, managing innovation has become a great challenge, involving large numbers of teams inside and outside organisational boundaries, operating in various timeframes. Our current understanding of innovation processes and how they can be managed does not adequately match today’s reality. In this study, we will develop new and more accurate complex innovation process models by exploiting advanced machine learning and data mining techniques, applied to the empirical textual data of a large number of cases over an extended period of time.

Funding Agency: Tech4People, University of Twente

Partners: Matthias Visser (TMS) , Gwenn Englebienne (HMI), Klaasjan Visscher (STePS)

Years: 2016-2017

Contact: Anneke Sools

PhD projects:

Developing a professional identity through autobiographical reflection with the use of persuasive technology

The profession of social worker is quickly changing now that it entails less the solution of clients but the support of autonomy, strengths and social contacts of clients. Reflection on core aspects of their first professional experiences helps students in social work to develop a professional identity. This project assesses whether adding autobiographical reflection in the sense of a review of one’s personal life strengthens the development of a professional identity. Furthermore, the study assesses whether a blended e-learning using persuasive technology supports the process.

Funding Agency: Saxion University of Applied Sciences <>

Partner: Saxion University of Applied Sciences <>

Years: 2015-2019

Supervisors: prof. dr. G.J. Westerhof, dr. S.M. Kelders and dr. K.M. Woudt

Contact: Monique Engelbertink

Life stories and personality disorder: an explorative study of life stories with implications for narrative interventions

In this research project several aspects of the relationship between life stories and personality disorders are being studied. In the first study, the clinicians view was used to develop a systematic evaluation method of life stories to support clinical decision-making on treatment assignment. In the second study, the patient perspective is studied in life stories, being personal narratives of patients that suffer from enduring dysfunctional patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner feelings they experience across many contexts. We value the patient perspective to learn more about this severe and often invaliding condition. Our interest lays especially in the meanings that are present in life stories of patients that seek help. In the third study, we conduct a study on relevant themes in life stories, and their change after intensive (day)clinical psychotherapeutic treatment. And in the fourth study, the implications are discussed of the last two studies for developing narrative interventions supporting patients in creating a healthy narrative that allows for personal growth.

Financier: GGNET <>

Partner: Scelta <>

Years: 2015-2020

Supervisors: Prof.dr. Ernst Bohlmeijer, Dr. Anneke Sools and Prof.Dr. Gerben Westerhof

Contact: Silvia Pol

Wonderful life: a novel, appreciative intervention to elicit meaning in life

Experiencing meaning in life is crucial to well-being. In this study, we focus on those extraordinary moments in life when meaning manifests itself spontaneously: when we suddenly feel a powerful, affirmative connection to existence. Narratives of these wonderful moments in life are collected by using a question derived from the Japanese movie ‘After Life’: ‘What if there is an afterlife. There, all your memories will be erased, except for one. Which memory do you choose to take with you to eternity?’. Insights from these narratives are used to develop an intervention that helps to establish our connection to meaning in daily life.

Years: 2015-2020

Supervisors: Prof.Dr. Gerben Westerhof , Dr. Anneke Sools and Prof.dr. Ernst Bohlmeijer

Contact: Jacky van de Goor

Images of recovery: a visual-narrative study exploring the concept of personal recovery in mental health.

Recovery oriented care has become a guiding principle within mental health. This qualitative research project focusses on the exploration of personal recovery on both people with lived experiences of mental illness and mental health professionals. The first group is often unheard and marginalized in society. A visual-narrative approach via PhotoVoice methodology is applied to empower their voice and make recovery tangible. Views on recovery by a second group of professionals are then compared to gain insight if both groups are speaking the same language when it comes to personal recovery and how this influences a recovery oriented mental health.

Years: 2014-2019

Financier: Brothers of Charity

Partner: Brothers of Charity, University of Antwerp

Supervisors: Prof.Dr. Gerben Westerhof and Dr. Anneke Sools

Contact: Tom Vansteenkiste

How professionals working in health care for people with intellectual disability make sense of becoming solution-focused

The PhD-project of Anne Marie focuses on the experiences of health care professionals adopting the solution-focused work approach. The solution-focused approach takes a point of departure in the belief that individuals have the strengths and resources to solve their own problems. So, rather than relying on clinical expertise, the solution-focused professional needs to coach the clients to use his/her strengths in the future. This means a fundamental shift in professionalism: coaching individuals rather than being the expert on a client’s life. The aim of this research is to explore the effects of adopting the solution-focused work approach on the professional identity and functioning of healthcare professionals.

More specifically, we study the processes through which teams and professionals make sense of and adopt solution-focused ways of working. To do this, we use data from ‘identity talk’—both first-person tellings in interviews and collectively composed team narratives—and the negotiation of identities through face-to-face encounters among professionals and between professional and client. Taking a performative view on identity, we are able to trace the accomplishment of professionalism and variations of identity work through communication.

Estimated PhD defense date: September 2016

Funding Agency: Avelijn

Partner: Avelijn

Supervisors: prof. dr. E. Bohlmeijer (promotor), Dr. Mark van Vuuren and Dr. Anneke Sools

Contact: Annemarie Lohuis