Guided Autobiography

“If you ever wondered how or where to start writing your own life story, try GAB. It will jump start the process and you will not want to stop”.

Rob L. Maryland

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Guided Autobiography or GAB has been researched and developed by Dr. James Birren over the past 40 years as a method for helping people document their life stories. You can read more about Dr. Birren and his lifetime work and legacy here……The Birren Centre for Autobiographical Studies

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Dr. Birren was the founding dean of the Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California (USC).  Over the ensuing years, he has written three books on GAB and conducted numerous research projects into the impact of GAB, all the while traveling worldwide to present and expand GAB.  Dr.Birren’s strong focus on life review and reminiscence emerged in educational and research activities to explore issues shaping adult development. The approach was powerful and the therapeutic results substantial as Birren documented in many research studies that he embarked on. GAB now 50 years young has evolved and is incorporated in many walks of life from holocaust survivors, prison inmates, hospice and end of life care workers,  survivors of violence, adoptive families, and nursing home residents.  Gab has evolved into a dynamic, flexible format used in lifelong learning, in counseling and psychotherapy and, for recording legacy life stories.

GAB shows how to organize, record, and share life experiences through a proven and effective technique.

As a trained and certified Guided Autobiography instructor, I  lead participants through themes that tackle the richest part of our history- themes such as family, our work, health, death and  forks in the road that changed our life direction. I use priming questions with each class that help unlock and illuminate memories of events once known but often filed away and seemingly forgotten. These two page memoirs and the building blocks to your Life Story Project. Each week these stories we have written outside of class are shared with the group.  This is one of the cornerstones of Gab’s  success. Writing and sharing life stories with others is an ideal way to find new meaning in life and to put life events into perspective. While connecting with one another on their journeys of self-discovery, participants feel enlivened by the group experience and gain a greater appreciation of their own lives and of the lives of others.

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