International Journal of Reminiscence and Life Review honors the father of Guided Autobiography
We’ve talked about Guided Autobiography here before, and we went even more in depth about reminiscence and life review in a recent podcast interview with Esther Gieschen. And, I’ve mentioned the usefulness of studying James Birren’s own personal history as an exercise in what a life story can look like (you can access his memoir for free). Now, the good people of IJRLR have dedicated their latest edition of the journal to James Birren and the work he did in the field of reminiscence and life review.
James Birren and Guided Autobiography…
Click on video below to hear Cheryl Svennson and James Birren:
It’s pretty clear that I’m a fan of the man; I look forward to one day taking a class in Guided Autobiography, but in the meantime, I was happy to find a video of James Birren at a presentation with Cheryl Svennson in 2010. It’s nearly two hours long; if you want to skip ahead, I recommend starting at minute 41:55, where the discussion turns to Guided Autobiography, its themes, and how it works. Birren at the time of this recording was 92 and, from the look of it, as sharp as ever. He was even leading Guided Autobiography groups at his continuing care residence. He died in 2016 at 97; he lived through most of the 20th century and a good chunk of the 21st. One can only imagine the stories someone like that can tell. Or, in his case—like with the people we help—one can actually read them.
The online journal is free to read.
What goes around, comes around…
One of the themes in the Guided Autobiography system is money; and why not? It’s a loaded concept for almost everyone, and none more so than for people like us, small business owners making their living off of creative work of a unique type. Go buy a car, and you have a pretty good idea of what you’ll have to pay. Ditto a vacation to an all-inclusive resort, or tuition for your kid at the state university. Heck, even a week’s stay at a luxury space hotel, due to open in 2022, has a specific cost: $9.5 million (and 22 reservations within the first month it was offered, according the Harper’s Index). But our products? Like everything else, they’re worth what clients are willing (and, if we’re doing our job right) and eager to pay. The trouble is that with an industry offering products and services unfamiliar to most, there’s little basis for comparison. And that can make it tough for clients and life story professionals alike.
Armed with the Guided Autobiography methodology, life story professional Sarah White is aiming to help us work through our fears and limiting beliefs about money and our relationship with it. Her new online course starts soon and has a limited number of spots. If you can’t get into the upcoming session, I recommend you get on her mailing list. She’s got a lot of wonderful insight to share.