"Working with life experience as story"
About this Resource
Stories from Experience is a learning resource designed to guide individuals who are recovering or have recovered from an eating disorder in writing their story. This resource includes interactive modules and learning content to help reflect on experience and craft purposeful stories.
Engaging with this resource will help you:
- Reflect on your experience
- Make decisions about safely sharing your experience with others
- Practice writing and speaking about your experience
- Listen and respond appropriately to the experiences and needs of others
- Construct purposeful stories to achieve specific goals
- Share evidence based information about eating disorders as well as personal experience
- Access information about consumer participation and consumer advocacy
Stories from Experience includes 12 interactive modules, each having a different focus. Although the modules are numbered in the slide-out menu, this is just a guide and there is no correct order for completing these. You can work through them in any order, at your own pace.
- Stories for Life: The meaning of story.
- Stories with Words: Crafting your story with words.
- Stories with Pictures: Putting experience into images.
- Sharing with Purpose: Steps for sharing your story with others.
- From Experience to Story: Giving your story structure.
- Powerful Myths: Dispelling myths through your story.
- Starting the Conversation: Exploring effective communication skills.
- Mutual Support: Understanding organised peer support.
- Raising Awareness – Speaking Out: Sharing your story with a public audience.
- Many Voices – Consumer Representation: Understanding consumer participation.
- Virtual Connections: Staying safe when sharing online.
- Behind the Scenes: The research behind Stories from Experience
What do we mean by ‘story’?
Stories from Experience introduces the concept of working with life experience through story. By ‘story’, we mean the accounts we give – to ourselves and others – of our personal experience. More than basic facts, stories explore feelings, lessons learned and hopes for the future.
Stories can be told and shared in different ways; through words, poetry, speaking and pictures just to name a few. This resource will help you discover which style is most suitable for you and your purpose.
Research: An Identified Need
“One of the hardest things to do is to put words to our feelings”
Research has shown that writing in a way that allows for expression of emotions and reflection on insights can improve psychological wellbeing (Baikie & Willhelm, 2005; Hoyt, Austenfeld & Stanton, 2014; NEDC, 2014).
The development of Stories from Experience was a response to existing research (Trowse, Cook & Clooney, 2012) and feedback from NEDC members with lived experience of an eating disorder and their families. The NEDC consulted with members through an online survey and semi-structured interviews, to identify their needs and interest in learning to share their personal story (refer to Module 12 Behind the Scenes for these findings). From this, it was found that 89% of participants had already shared their experience of an eating disorder (primarily with health professionals, friends or family members) and 92% wanted to learn how to share their story in a safe and purposeful way.
The primary reason for participants wanting to share their story was to help others, improve services and raise awareness about eating disorders. Some concerns were raised around stigma, self-criticism, social isolation and fear of negative evaluation by others.
The underpinning premise of Stories from Experience is that writing and strengthening connections with other people can be positive for personal wellbeing if approached in a constructive, safe and supported way. In addition it may enhance motivation for recovery in others and contribute to positive community awareness of eating disorders.
For further information, the ‘Behind the Scenes’ module goes into depth about the research that informed the development of Stories from Experience.
To learn more about how this resource works, read the information provided below.
How it works
Stories from Experience is designed to be user friendly and easily navigated to help users engage with content and build their story. To understand how this resource works, and can best be used, we have provided a brief description of the included pages and interactive features.
Stories from Experience includes 12 interactive modules. Each module includes readings, reflections and activities. The modules can be viewed and accessed in the slide out menu or your dashboard. You can see your progress of each module on your dashboard. This is helpful if you have not logged in to Stories from Experience for a while, and forget which modules you have completed, half-completed or not yet started.
There is no correct order for completing the modules, and users are encouraged to work at their own pace.
After logging in, you are taken to your dashboard. Your dashboard is like a personal home page. From here, you can access all modules, your notebook and your timeline. Your dashboard also gives you a snapshot of your progress on each module. If you get lost using Stories from Experience, always go back to your dashboard.
Your timeline is a log of your activity completion within the modules. When you complete an activity, this is automatically saved to your timeline as a ‘post’. No one can see your timeline, unless you choose to share them.
From your timeline you can share individual ‘posts’ or your complete timeline with another person. For more information on how to do this, see sharing below.
Your notebook is a log of the content that you have highlighted and saved in modules. You can access your notebook through the dashboard.
Need Help Button
A Need Help Button is situated at the bottom right hand corner of your screen and provides immediate access to helplines for support. You can access this button from any page. We encourage you to become familiar with this button and to contact support if they experience distress when engaging with module content and/ or reflecting on personal experience.
Activities are included in each module. These activities encourage users to reflect on the module content and their personal experience.
When completing an activity you can choose to ‘save for later’ or ‘submit’. Clicking save for later will allow your content to remain on the activity and be revisited later. If you click submit, your completed activity will be sent and saved to your timeline. Activities can be repeated.
This function is helpful if you wish to save or share key information. To highlight information within a module, hold and drag your cursor over content. Icons will then pop up that allow you to save this information to your notebook, comment on the information or share with someone.
You can share your whole timeline, individual ‘posts’ or content from a module with someone. You will need to enter in the person’s email address to do so. Once you have clicked share, an email will be sent to the person with a link and one-off password to gain access. 48 hours access is granted from the moment the link is activated. You can revoke your share if you change your mind (see Settings).
Click on your username to access your settings. Your settings page enables you to edit details and view and revoke shares.
Update your details, including username and password.
View past shares and revoke recent shares. If a share is ‘active’ or ‘pending’ it can be revoked. However, do keep in mind if a share is active, the person may have already seen the content, but after revoking they will no longer be able to.