Laurie's Blog

Therapist meets Narrative Nonfiction

An Author website! I feel giggly, like an excited teenager equally delighted and embarrassed by my pleasure. For over thirty years I have been a practicing psychotherapist devoted to the craft I love. I have reached a moment in my career where I have the pleasure and privilege to mentor, teach and consult to other eager and talented therapists. I have acquired a modicum of confidence and mastery.

As a writer, my confidence is more transient and fleeting. Partially it is the nature of the craft. For the last six years, I have spent hours writing in assorted coffee shops. I have been locked in my study for hours with a less than friendly “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door. Some days are exhilarating; the muse is with me -while other days I am soaked in self-doubt.

I wrote to Dick Todd, a mentor/friend, to confess my fear of a diagnosis of writers’ manic-depressive disorder. I wondered if these mood swings with fleeting confidence and self doubt would improve or calm down over time.

Experienced, yet humble with years of success under his belt, my friend and mentor said, “Oh, Laurie that is how it is for all of us. I am sorry to say it does not get better.” Ironically, I found his words reassuring. I concluded that this emotional roller coaster is just part of the creative process. I discovered the quality I most needed to develop was perseverance.

I write what some call Creative Nonfiction and others call Narrative Non-fiction. My favorite way to explain the writing style narrative non-fiction is that it is nonfiction that pays careful attention to the art of writing. At its most basic level, narrative nonfiction uses the techniques of creative writing without sacrificing the accuracy of facts or the credibility necessary to earn trust.

Though I have published essays and written articles and book reviews for professional journals, I wanted more. Eight years ago, I decided to go back to school to complete an MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

Writing has taught me the importance of a story.

My clients who experience prolonged trauma are robbed of their stories. When they come to therapy their narratives are filled with holes from the impact of dissociation, being silenced and never seeing themselves as storytellers. The development of a narrative, the ability to find words to tell your untold story is crucial to healing. Stories are what make us human.

My skills as a trauma therapist helped me as a writer. Pacing is an essential part of the work with survivors of trauma – too much exposure to traumatic material is never good nor is the avoidance of difficult truths. Also true for the reader.

This blog will be about a journey with the insights, stories and perspectives I have come to as a writer, a therapist and a storyteller.

I hope you will join me.

2 Comment

    1. Thanks Sean……If you want to read more my book Baffled by Love is currently on Amazon.

      Laurie Kahn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *