My Story Cards are an image based tool representing human needs, motivations, connection and adaptive behaviours. They are a relatively quick, efficient and sensitive way of identifying areas that are most important to us and explore their meaning. Visual images are more powerfully linked to emotions than words alone. My Story Cards can be used to start a conversation, in groups to explore and share perspectives on an area of interest, coaching and mentoring and to set goals. My Story Cards are unique because they are evidence informed, client centred and utilise visual, emotional and decision making areas of our brain. They:
- Helping clients express how they are feeling. My Story Cards are often used as a therapeutic tool to allow clients to express feelings in a non-direct way. A client may not yet be able to express a certain feeling directly, but they might be able to identify a concept and the emotion when viewed from an outside perspective.
- Explore themes and issues that relate to the clients life and experiences.Clients dealing with uncertainty or problems such as a health issues might interpret an image relating to their unique circumstances, allowing deeper exploration and reflection over the course of the discussion.
- Interviewers learn more about a client. It is a way of inquiring into the often unrecognised or unacknowledged memories, feelings and associations that people draw on to give meaning to their worlds. In this way, My Story Cards allow the client to set the scene, explaining why they chose an image and what it means to them
- Exploring sensitive issues with clients. My Story Cards can sometimes used as a tool to explore sensitive issues such as safety or trauma. Images trigger memories and associations and provide a platform to explore issues in their own words at their own pace. The process provides a focus and can be helpful for people with anxiety or competing thoughts.
- My Story Cards can be used in groups to explore different perspectives of an image or concept. For example ‘health or ‘the environment’ mean different things to different people. Exploring perspective using considered images gets people’s attention, provides a platform to focus and facilitates discussion and reflection
- My Story Cards as goal setting tool. Visuals utilise unconscious brain processes, including emotion and decision making areas. People identify priorities, reflect, see patterns and can ‘see’ their goals. Importantly, when people identify their goals they are more likely to think about a path to achieve them, move from vague to clarity and be more motivated to achieve them.
The interviewer administered cards use a strengths-based, client-centred approach to facilitate communication between counsellor and client. My Story Cards uncover areas that people are assist in developing emotional intelligence and skills development around prioritising and goal setting. They are effective in simplifying complex problems, explore meaning, target treatment or coaching.
How to use My Story Cards?
There are many ways to use the cards. One way is:
- Participants are asked to rate their overall quality of life (between 1 and 10) and think about the things that make their life good or challenging (Brief Life Assessment).
- The interviewer asks the participant to choose 5 cards that most affect their life in a positive or negative way. For example, focusing on past 1-4 weeks. (Participant nominated life areas)
- After selecting 5 cards the client is asked to place the cards on order from 1 to 5 with the first card being most important or relevant to their life at the moment.
- The client is asked to describe what each area life area means to them. (eg. “These cards may have different meanings to you than they do to me, can you tell me why you chose this card first”?) Responses are recorded. Standard facilitation or counselling techniques can be used to explore responses, identify strengths and set goals against identified areas. For example “what is good about this part of your life? What would you like to keep and what would you like to change?
- Assist participant to set simple, realistic goals.
- Repeat or review in next session.
Develop trust and ensure participant feels safe to express themselves