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HEALING POWER OF STORY: Therapeutic storytelling, post traumatic growth and the hidden power of folktales (webinar)

Kim Billington, B.Ed; M. Couns.; M. Narrative therapy and Community Work.
One full day
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When a short folk tale is told in the sacred space of therapy, the story hero can become a blueprint for identity insight and development. Clients are often confronting serious, and what feels like insurmountable problems. Like the central character of many stories, our clients can experience strong feelings of fear, anger, loss and despair. The survival, success and resolution for the hero keeps alive the client’s hopes and revitalizes their own quest.

Story listening provides a safe emotional work-out: focus and imagination are activated, breathing slows down, and the nervous system is calmed as the story concludes. Story metaphors enable ideas to bypass the ‘logical watchdog’ of the conscious brain. Although a story enters the mind like the Trojan Horse, the listener’s imagination is far from passive.

Some examples of research and therapeutic change from this method will also be presented. These include the benefits of story therapy to manage pain and distress, instill a calm response and foster inspiration.

Story Medicine has many distinct aspects that will be covered in this interactive presentation: the art of selecting and telling the story, the open-ended implicit messages woven into the story, the listener’s emotional connections to the characters, the ‘turning over’ of the story in their mind, and sometimes the magical ‘ah-ha’ of a new understanding of how to address a problem.

The last stage of the method includes the use of questions shaped by Narrative Therapy and the Hero Journey map initially created by Joseph Campbell to make sense of the archetypal journey from problem to resolution, and renewed identity through suffering and being supported by helpers along the way.

There will be an opportunity to practice telling a very short story with a small group in breakout rooms, and then use the provided questions to unpack the therapeutic changes from the listener’s point of view. A discussion about this practical experience and how client changes might be explored will conclude the presentation.

A selection of three stories will be provided and a link to the Hero Journey Map.

Experiential learning activities include:

  • Reflection time for childhood story characters that may have influenced one’s identity
  • Listening to a therapeutic story told
  • Responding to the story told with a partner in breakout rooms using narrative Therapy questions provided
  • Using the Hero Journey Map to plot a personal (non-traumatic) COVID experience




Kim Billington, B.Ed; M. Couns.; M. Narrative therapy and Community Work.'s Profile

Kim Billington, B.Ed; M. Couns.; M. Narrative therapy and Community Work. Related seminars and products

Kim Billington - Counselling Conversations

Kim is the author of: ‘A Counsellor’s Companion: creative adventures for child counsellors, parents and teachers,’ (published 2021) as well as a writer of several published articles in the Counselling Australia Journal.

Kim’s passion is sharing creative therapeutic interventions that can bring people renewed hope and understandings about themselves, and fresh ideas about how they want to live in the world.

Kim has three adult children and is at her happiest in her roles as counsellor, clinical supervisor, workshop facilitator and playful grandma. Kim loves swimming in the bay near her home in Sandringham, Melbourne.

Kim’s current work (now mainly using Zoom online) includes counsellor training, child and family counselling, parent consultations, EAP work, clinical supervision, supervising Monash University’s Masters’ of Counselling students, and Carer’s counselling. Kim has been a regular counsellor training presenter with the Sydney Centre for Creative Change since 2013.

Methods and tools in Kim’s therapeutic toolbox include: Mindfulness, Narrative Therapy, ACT, CFT, Creative Expressive Arts, Existential Therapy, befriending emotions using metaphors and storytelling, Tree of Life work and creative timelines to understand the life-long emergence of identity.

Kim has previously worked with clients whose adversities include surviving: refugee trauma, family violence, divorce, out-of-home-care, bereavement, and carers of family members with mental health troubles. With three years spent responding to callers at Crisis Support Services such as 24/7 MensLine, Kim has also co-facilitated Men’s Behaviour Change Groups

Kim’s treasure chest of creativity has been overflowing, culminating in writing a book about child counselling, and another on its way about working with adults. Kim hopes to inspire others who are working to support children, young people and adults on their heroic journeys.

Kim’s published works:

Billington, K. (2014) Story Medicine with Children: Using stories after trauma to engage children and facilitate healing. Paper delivered at the Childhood Trauma Conference 4-8 August 2014 in Melbourne.

Billington, K. (2019) Identifying Stages of Change in Therapy: Identifying change can be a useful tool when helping a client recognise their journey. In Counselling Australia Journal. Vol 21, Number 1, p. 24.

Billington, K. (2020) Therapy as a Journey: Could the COVID-19 journey be our communal rite of passage? In Counselling Australia Journal. Vol 21, Number 2, p. 35.

Billington, K. (2020) Twenty new conversations around suicide: Existential crisis and end-of life palliative care discussions have some parallel paths. In Counselling Australia Journal. Vol 21, Number 3, p. 26.

Billington, K. (2021) A Counsellor’s Companion: Creative adventures for child counsellors, parents and teachers. Victoria: Ultimate World Publishing.

Registration Details

Live Interactive Webcast registration
Fees: $199 
Primary viewer (includes three month's access recording of the event.
           $99 Additional viewer (must watch on same device as primary viewer)

  • Your attendance certificate for 7 hours of live, interactive training can be retrieved on completion of the evaluation and quiz via your account. 
  • A soft copy of all resources will remain in your account indefinitely.
  • A recording of this event will be available in your account approximately three weeks after the live event and will remain available for a full three months.  You will receive an email notification when the recording becomes available for viewing. 
  • If for whatever reason, you are unable to join the live webcast on the day, you will be able to watch the recording, complete your evaluation and quiz and retrieve  your certificate at a later date before the end of the three month viewing period.

Reminders for all events are sent two weeks, one week, one day and one hour prior.


Learning objectives of this training:


  1. Aquire an overview of the storytelling therapy approach.
  2. Develop an appreciation of what happens when a client hears a story told in therapy, and what to do next to facilitate change conversations.
  3. Know when this tool might best be introduced into therapy.
  4. Experience the key after-story questions which unpack what the client was hearing and finding important for themselves
  5. Learn how to use Joseph Campbell’s The Hero Journey Map to promote new life meanings and open up discussions about post traumatic growth

The story denies universal defeat and so gives us a glimpse of ultimate joy." J.R.R. Tolkien.   

How will you benefit from attending this training?

  • Counsellors can use this method when a client becomes stuck, and motivation has failed them, or as a case closure tool to review survival through some arduous trauma.
  • How do people make meaning of life’s way of delivering unsolicited sufferings. Often both the client and the counsellor are in limbo, which parallels how the hero comes to a place of darkness and despair. The journey map allows for and strength-based way.
  • The participant will gain practical tools which include 8 after-story narrative questions, and a map of Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey framework. These support externalising of strong emotions and experiences in a safe way. They provide scaffolding and capture new perspectives of a person’s experiences, feelings, strengths, learnings and the purposes of their own journey.


Morning Session (includes a short break)

  • Even the simplest of old stories follow a heroic journey:
  • What are the archetypal story stages?
  • The original 12 stages from the seminal work of Joseph Campbell:
  • How to introduce a story:
  • What happens:

Afternoon Session (includes a short break)

  • After-Story Narrative Therapy Questions:
  • Research and benefits:
  • How to choose a story:
  • Cautionary use:
  • The Hero Journey Map:
  • Post traumatic growth:
  • Questions 


Target Audience

This seminar has been designed to extend the clinical knowledge and applied skill of Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Coaches, Psychologists, Hypnotherapists, Social Workers, Community Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Psychiatrists, teachers all working with adults and children.


Webcast Schedule

Morning Session
  9:00am - 12:45pm
  Includes a 15 minutes break at 10:45am

Lunch Break
  12:45pm - 1:45pm

Afternoon Session
  1:45pm - 5:00pm
  Includes a 15 minutes break at 3:15pm

Venue information

This Accor hotel has a fully implemented plan attending to the health and safety of all venue attendees.
You will be required to abide by the safety  measures current at the time and in line with public health orders. These will be advised in your pre-event reminder/information emails.
In the interest of everone's safety, the venue and PDP reserve the right to deny entry to any participant who chooses not to follow the current COVID safety plans. 

This venue offers wheelchair access from the street level. 

Conveniently located right by several bus routes and a 7-minute walk to Parliament Station.

Links to reasonable early-bird parking close to the venue:

All day tea, coffee and water are provided.
If you have pre-purchased lunch, hotel staff will have you selection ready for you.
The venue has a restaurant and is surrounded by cafes and restaurants should you choose to eat out.
Please note that lunch bought from outside providers cannot be eaten in the hotel.


The seminar venue is the Mantra on Russell Hotel which offers a discount on accommodation for the PDP community. Please quote the code RUSSELL2021

Quest on Lonsdale is a 6 minute walk from the venue.
Hotel Grand Chancellor is a 2 minute walk from the venue.

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