I never know where to begin when it’s time to write about Guided Autobiography. I always want to let you know that it’s not a writing class – even though each week you’ll be writing. And I always want to describe the impact Guided Autobiography has on those who join – but it’s difficult to find the words.
Guided Autobiography, I guess, is about processing. It’s about looking at the events of our lives. It’s about finding again those lost experiences that may have been the catalyst for profound change in our lives.
And it’s about sharing those moments. Which is the best thing about Guided Autobiography – the friendships that are deepened and made all the more rich as we learn from one another’s stories.
Our Guided Autobiography meetings follow the same format each week:
- We begin with a check-in – a casual chat about the successes and the struggles we endured or celebrated during our writing week. This typically involves howls of laughter.
- As our check-in winds down I introduce the writing theme for the following week. James Birrin developed his Guided Autobiography program around twelve life themes and the questions that accompany each theme as a means to stimulate our memory. When I was a fledgling GAB facilitator I followed those themes and questions to the letter. But as I gained confidence I did what most GAB facilitators do and developed my own themes and questions. Themes can run the gamut from how we developed trust in ourself or others, moments in our lives that became turning points, or the experiences we’ve had around failure or loss.
- After the theme is introduced I offer a five minute break but no one ever wants to take a break so we jump right into reading.
- The essays we write are about 800 words – two pages. And it’s important that we try our best to keep to this limit. Once read, as a group we don’t offer a critique of the writing. What we offer instead is encouragement and support. We might ask questions to know more details in the story. On more than one occasion tears have been shed by all of us.
- When we have finished our readings we close the class with a final discussion about the following week’s theme.
And that, for the curious, is Guided Autobiography in a nutshell.
Our next 6-week Guided Autobiography session begins Thursday, March 31st at 2:00 PM.
Tuition is on a sliding scale from $60-$120, payable through PayPal.
To register, a simple email will do.
Once I receive payment you’ll receive our Zoom invite.
Class size is small – no fewer than four, no more than eight.