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Telling the Stories of Life Through Guided Autobiography Groups [Hardcover]

James E. Birren , Kathryn N. Cochran
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 61.41 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

June 6 2001
Telling the Stories of Life through Guided Autobiography Groups, based on James Birren's 25 years of conducting autobiography groups, discusses all the topics an organizer faces while developing a program for adults who want to recall and write down their life histories. This book is ideal for adult education programs, church groups, social workers, psychologists, gerontologists, and others who work with adults who might be interested in exploring, recording, or sharing their personal histories. It helps professionals and trained workshop leaders at community centers, senior centers, schools and other settings guide group participants in exploring major themes of their lives so that they can organize and write their stories and share them in a group with others on the same journey. This exercise is rewarding for adults of any age in a period of transition or with interest in gaining insight from their own stories. Personal development and a feeling of connection t! o other participants and their stories is a natural outcome of this process. This book provides background material and detailed lesson plans for those who wish to develop and lead an autobiography group.

The authors explain the concept of guided autobiography, discuss the benefits to the group participants, and provide logistical information on how to plan, organize, and set up a group. An appendix provides exercises, handouts, and suggested adaptations for specific groups. The book also explains a systematic method of priming memories, including the history of family and of one's life work, the role of money, health and the body, and ideas about death.

At a time when rapid change has created a widespread yearning to write down and exchange personal accounts, sharing life stories can reveal a great deal about how we have come to be the persons we are. Telling the Stories of Life through Guided Autobiography Groups shows how to organize, record, and share life experiences through a proven and effective technique.

Product Details

Product Description


"The book is overflowing with voices of experience..." -- —Robert C. Atchley, PhD, Naropa University

About the Author

James E. Birren is associate director of the UCLA Center on Aging. He is the author of Guiding Autobiography Groups for Older Adults. Kathryn N. Cochran is an independent writer and editor who writes on a range of topics, including personal development, creativity, the family, education, and the arts and sciences. She also conducts guided autobiography workshops using the Birren method of guided autobiography.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Autobiography is a life history told by the person who lived it, a form of nonfiction writing that dates from the earliest recorded time. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
September 8, 2001
Book Review by Cheryl Svensson
Telling the Stories of Life Through Guided Autobiography Groups
James E. Birren and Kathryn Cochran
I have led Guided Autobiography groups using, Telling the Stories of Life Through Guided Autobiography Groups, as my guide. The manual has proven to be the ticket to success!.
Guided Autobiography is an ordered, logical process of sequential steps that assist in writing one's life story. Each of the ten week sessions focuses on a theme that explores the important aspects of life and provides sensitizing questions as a guide to uncover the true life story. The purpose is an exploration of one's own life in a meaningful way that is
self-enriching and can also be left as a legacy for family members. The group process supports this end and provides the security and encouragement for self-exploration.
James Birren and Kathryn Cochran have provided guidelines to lead groups from the initial steps of recruiting group members to the final wrap-up session and saying good bye. Complete lesson plans are included that cover every feature of the weekly session. Each of the ten-week sessions includes a specific checklist, e.g., reminders to bring name tags, roster sheet, paper, pens, etc. to ensure success. The sensitzing questions, one of the keys to the Guided Autobiography process, are
included for each life theme. Furthermore, there are additional
suggestions and techniques for each session to stimulate creative writing skills, use of metaphor, and prompts to prime memories among others.
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