I offer two levels of guided autobiography:
GAB1 is the basic level developed by the Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies in California and has a strong focus on life review. We explore themes like turning points, family, health and what we consider to be our life’s work. The first part of the roughly 2.5 hour session is devoted to activities to enhance self-awareness and writing skills; the second for sharing aloud the stories you have written at home in the preceding week. Workshop sessions run 6 weeks although I also offer one-time workshops for special occasions. The fee for a 6-week series of GAB Sessions is $230+GST.
GAB was originally designed to take place over 10 weeks but the people who take my workshops tend to have busy schedules, and GAB is easily adapted, so it works better to have a shorter workshop series.
For those who want more than six weeks (and most do), there are two options:
- A second GAB1 series, where we do different learning activities and explore different themes.
- Those who want a stronger writing focus can go onto GAB2.
GAB2 borrows from the curriculum developed by the Birren Center, but is intended for those who want to take their stories and writing to the next level. In GAB2 we spend the first part of the session learning the core elements of writing memoir and discuss things like story structure, developing strong characters, and what makes good dialogue. In the second part of the session, we tackle themes like love, finding independence, and gaining resilience–themes you will write about at home and then share aloud with your small group the following week. GAB2 takes place over 6 weeks and the fee is $240+GST.
You can be part of a guided autobiography (GAB) group in a private home, online, or in a class or meeting room.
GAB at HOME
We meet in my home in False Creek in Vancouver. It’s not fancy but it’s comfortable and, if you live in Vancouver, this may be your preferred way to do guided autobiography. Spaces are very limited for these sessions so please contact me if you want to know more or to have your name added to a waitlist.
Doing guided autobiography online provides an opportunity to be part of a GAB group for people who either can’t attend an in-person session, or prefer to participate from the comfort of their own home. All you need is a computer that has a built in mic and camera. The rest is easy.
And, although people sometimes think that an online group can’t achieve the same level of trust and mutual support as an in-person group, those who participate online would disagree. For a glimpse of what it means to participate in an online GAB workshop series, go here.
If you are interested in doing guided autobiography with others in an online group, or want to find out more, please write to me. People who participate online come from a variety of time zones so I build a waitlist and, when numbers warrant, we agree on a time that works best for all.
GAB in a Classroom: SFU
GAB is also offered through SFU’s Liberal Arts and 55+ Program. Look for the workshop series called “Story Catching: Learning From Life,” Sessions take place at the downtown campus at 515 West Hastings Street in Vancouver.
Unlike GAB at Home or GAB Online, where you are part of a smaller group, roughly 20 people participate in the SFU workshop series, but you still share your stories in a small group. I am unable to be part of the small groups, but that doesn’t preclude high levels of energy, fascinating stories, and mutual support.
The next SFU workshop series begins May 11 and runs to June 13. Registration for this summer session opens on April 16th and spaces fill up quickly so make sure you register early.
Occasionally I lead workshops for private organizations. like a seniors’ residence, or a library. Sometimes I spend an evening leading a workshop for a bookclub. These may be one-off workshops, lasting anywhere from 1.5 hours to a full day. I just tailor the GAB content to fit participant and organizational needs.
If you are interested in hosting, or organizing, a special GAB Sessions workshop, either contact me, or arrange this through the person who is the program coordinator for your residence/organization.
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