Stories of Pain and Gain is a collection of help seeker stories compiled by the Mind-Life project. This is an incredibly helpful resource to use multiple ways including in team meetings or individual supervision.
The aim is to provoke reflection by trying to understand each character’s experiences and explore how we could respond differently.
💡 The key to this practice is empathy and curiosity.
One story, The Trap, relays how Tom was locked into a pattern of help by others that did not actually lend or show or help him discover a key to step out.
Every problem he had could be solved by a service response.
📕 “He was in a maze of support, everything in his life was locked in, there was no way out.
The support staff were the maze keepers, making sure there were never any holes in the maze, and a reward was at every turn, directing round again to the beginning, never getting out.
The maze was beautiful, green and fresh but just too high to see over or through, and no way to test ingenuity or ideas.
Both maze keeper and player were equally locked in”
This story challenges passive, controlling and benevolent welfare systems that rob people of their dreams, self-determination, creativity, and strong voice to live their best lives.
Lots of reflection questions are provided, for example:
👉🏻 What might have created this situation?
👉🏻 What role does power play in this story? Who was in the power role?
👉🏻 Is the support being offered sustainable? Will it always require a help provider? Or does it offer opportunities for the help seeker?
👉🏻 Is the help provider a springboard or a safety net? How could it be different?
👉🏻 How much support is required? Is it currently too much or too little? Or is it just, right?
👉🏻 How does this story resonate with me in my life?