“Who we are and what we do are influenced by the stories that we tell about ourselves. While we can’t always change the stories that others have about us, we can influence the stories we tell about ourselves and those we care about. And we can, rework or rewrite storylines of identity. “

“In all of our lives, there will be events that make us cringe, those that bring heartache, those that bring sorrow, those that bring shame. If those moments are all linked together into a storyline, we can feel truly hopeless about life. But in all of our lives, there will also be events or small moments of beauty, or kindness, or respite, or escape, or defiance. When these events are linked together to tell a story about us, then life becomes easier to live. “

….”It honors those special skills and personal qualities that make it possible for people to survive traumatic experiences… let us explore those survival skills that make it possible for people to “navigate through the dark hours of their lives and into the present” (White, 1995, p.85)[1]

“No child or adult is a passive recipient of trauma, regardless of the nature of this trauma. People always respond in some way. Among other things, people take action to minimize their exposure to trauma and to decrease their vulnerability to it. However, it is rare for people’s responses to the traumas of their lives to ever be acknowledged. It is more common for these responses to go unnoticed, or to be punished, ridiculed, and diminished within the trauma context. This makes it less likely that people will remember how they responded.  The actions they took to try to minimize harm to themselves or others become forgotten, invisible, erased.”

“So it can be necessary for us to help one another to acknowledge the special skills and the personal qualities that made it possible for us to navigate through the dark hours of life into the present.”

Free translation of excerpts of the book:

Retelling The Stories of Our Lives

David Denborough, 2014

[1] White, M. (1995): Naming abuse and breaking from its effects (C. McLean, Interviewer). In M. White, Re-authoring lives: Interviews and essays (pp. 82-111). Adelaide, Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.


“Collective Narrative Practices” are collective interventions based on theoretical assumptions of the Narrative Therapy that favor the recognition of people in face of adversity, and hence the perception of themselves as useful and socially responsible.

These practices work with the idea that Paulo Freire called ‘unity in diversity’. From the report of individual experiences, people connect their stories to the group, find common ground, recover the individual and collective strengths and, thus, can contribute to the lives of others who live situations of similar difficulty. Based on these principles, it is considered that anyone is able to replicate this practice, not only specialized professionals.

Its basic principles are:

  1. Consider that people always position themselves and react somehow to the problems experienced by them.

  2. Recognize that, throughout the history of a problem, there are two narratives: the one of the problem itself and the other of how the person reacted to it.

  3. Understand the stories of coping and overcoming of problems in people’s lives as a means of recognition of existing capabilities, strengths, skills, skills and values.

  4. Relate individual experiences to collective situations;

5. Build means for people to realize themselves as useful and socially responsible, able to contribute with their stories and actions to the life of other people who also experience difficult situations.


The “Narrative Methodologies” are reflective exercises that normally use metaphors to facilitate the conversation process. These metaphors are intended to enable those involved in the dynamic to build a territory of identity safe enough for them to talk about their experiences of difficulty or trauma, in a lighter and more pleasant way, without retraumatizing them.



A metodologia “O Time da Vida” foi criada por  David  Denborough  (PhD),  durante  uma experiência no Sudão, com jovens refugiados  e  ex-soldados  mirins.  Ele percebeu o poder que o esporte tinha na vida desses jovens ao observar que,  apesar  de  terem  vivenciado momentos  de   intensa  adversidade,  conseguiam se manter alegres durante todo o  jogo de futebol.




“O Tatame da Vida” é uma metodologia narrativa que começou a ser elaborada em 2012. É uma adaptação da metodologia “O Time da Vida”, criada por David Denborough.

Buscando atender a um pedido feito por Rodrigo Nogueira, a equipe do Reciclando Mentes iniciou o desenvolvimento do “O Tatame da Vida” como uma forma de conversar com crianças sobre suas vidas, suas habilidades e sonhos.


O Atleta da Vida é uma metodologia narrativa (um exercício), desenvolvida especialmente para o ano dos Jogos Olímpicos do Rio. Ela utiliza a metáfora do esporte para convidar jovens a pensar sobre suas vidas de uma forma diferente, refletir sobre suas escolhas e empreender ações para mudar o curso de sua história. Consequentemente, muitos jovens que se encontram em situação de risco poderão ter suas vidas modificadas.


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