Skillful Counselling 5: Developing a good story of your life so far

What is your life story?

Time line therapy is an offshoot of NLP and is designed (as I understand and use it) to clear emotional blockages that we can identify from experiences in our past. We are clearing out the road of our past life and then having done that we can have a much clearer idea of how we can proceed forward and be happier and more balanced in our day to day present.

A profound truth is captured by this time line metaphor and I have found it to be central to much of my client work. For so many who need help, the past is heavy and negative – which manifests as a burden which can neither be lifted nor even understood or explained.

And what is that truth?

It is that the burdens can only be lifted when the event is re-experienced in such a way that the lesson of the original burdensome event is finally understood … and so let go as the time line is smoothed out.

Luckily there are many ways to do this and these are some of them – those that I use and find helpful.

  1. As a physical exercise – of walking back through the time line to before the experience and then to move through it again – but this time forearmed and forewarned.
  2. As an imaginative exercise undertaken in light trance – going back in time along the “yellow brick” time line and seeing where the barriers, blockages and other obstructions are. In the first instance it is about seeing exactly what is there and then of course going back before each of the experiences and clearing them.
  3. A writing exercise can also be good way. Writing engages a more processing part of the brain. It can therefore be very illuminating to write down two stories of one’s life – what actually transpired and what might well have transpired. Both of these stories are then pared down to a sentence, phrase or even word. The better alternative life story, enriched by good reframes is then rehearsed in trance – where all the lessons are learned and the progression of life is clear and attractive.
  4. And a growing up exercise  We often remain that child and repeat the same childish strategies today. How would it be if we had spent our lives as the adult that we can now understand is better for us?


The man who could reset his past by seeing his parents as always supportive…
The woman who could accompany herself as that young child through her school years pointing out the dangers…
The young man who no longer needed to be cool in order to survive…
The middle aged man who realised that he would have been much better off without his twin brother sniping at him…
The young woman who realised that her childhood had been fine as she did not know then what she only later discovered about her parent’s life…
The older woman who realised that her childhood could have been so different and where friendships flourished…

The best Time Line resource I have found