Introduction: Narrative storytelling is a relational process. While interest in storytelling in brain injury rehabilitation is increasing, little attention has been directed to the interpersonal relationships experienced through storytelling. As part of a larger study exploring narrative storytelling, this paper reports on the intersection of experiences between those sharing their story and those listening to the story.
Method: A qualitative grounded theory approach informed all stages of the study. In-depth interviews were conducted with adult storytellers with severe acquired brain injury and facilitators of a storytelling advocacy programme.
Findings: Analysis of the intersection of data from 28 transcripts of interviews with eight storytellers and six facilitators was conducted. Two key relationships emerged to be central to the storytelling experience: (1) a collaborative partnership between the storytellers and the advocacy organisation, and (2) an intentional story-sharing relationship between the storytellers and facilitators. The advocacy context of helping others through story-sharing was central to the meaningfulness of the experience.
Conclusion: Narrative storytelling is a social relationship experience with much potential for building relationships in rehabilitation. Sharing stories of lived experience of disability presents an opportunity for meaningful occupational engagement, enabling social connectedness and contribution to society.