GAB Workshops

I offer three 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. In sessions held over six weeks, we explore themes like turning points in our life, family, health, and what we consider to be our life’s work. The first part of the roughly two-hour session is devoted to activities to enhance self-awareness, writing skills, and memory; the second for sharing aloud the stories you have written at home in the preceding week.

In GAB1, the story is key.  We learn to write from the heart, how to focus a story, and write within an overall structure. We talk about using sensory details and metaphors to help bring your scenes alive for others. Our primary focus, however, is on the experience being shared. We are active and supportive listeners; our feedback provides validation and demonstrates active listening.

Those who want to continue gaining benefits from life review and sharing their stories in a small group, but want a stronger focus on writing craft, 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 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.

Completing GAB1 is a prerequisite for GAB2.

GAB Writers

This is a new workshop series, a response to requests from those who have done GAB2 and want more writing opportunities, and they know they need a bit of structure and guidance to keep at it. So GAB writing is less about learning craft and more about doing it.

Completing GAB2 is a prerequisite for GAB Writers.

I offer GAB online (private and for SFU), and in my home.

I also offer short introductory workshops (no fee for these), and special all-day in-person workshops either at my home or in a public venue.

Make sure you are subscribed to my workshop updates newsletter to find out when and where I’m offering GAB.

GAB at (My) Home

This is a great way for women to do GAB, and Home groups have always been very popular. It’s a warm way to share. We gather around my dining room table. I make tea; people bring offerings. Friendships are made; follow-up groups are always in demand.

Now that I live in Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, I plan to offer GAB at Home in the new year. Because of other workshop commitments I’m not able to offer a GAB at Home until March. Please write to me if you want to be in one of these groups. I only accept six people.

The fee for GAB at Home is $239+GST.

GAB Online

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.

Some people think that an online group can’t achieve the same level of trust and mutual support as an in-person group, but those who participate online would disagree. This online course is live and highly interactive. 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 mePeople 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.

The fee for all online GAB is $229+GST (CAD).


GAB through SFU

GAB is also offered through SFU’s Liberal Arts and 55+ Program. Look for the workshop series in their catalogue called “Story Catching: Learning From Life.”

Unlike my regular classes, which are limited to 6 people, up to 12 people participate in the SFU online series, but you still share your stories in small groups of no more than 6 people.

The next SFU workshop series will not happen until January of 2020 (Registration opens November 20th, 10am), but a special all day in-person workshop is planned for this fall at SFU Harbourside in Vancouver. Make sure you are on the list for my workshop updates and/or  SFU’s list for their program updates. Spaces for these workshops fill very quickly so be sure you register as soon as registration opens (REGISTRATION OPENS 10am JULY 24th)


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