Applied Storytelling


Discovering the Power of Story in Contemporary Culture

"We are our stories. We compress years of experience, thought and emotion into a few compact narratives that we convey to others and tell to ourselves. Stories are important cognitive events for they encapsulate, in one package, information, knowledge, context and emotion."

- Business Writer and Commentator Daniel Pink
A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers will Rule the Future



The Certificate in Applied Storytelling focuses on the pervasive power of story as a tool for activating the imagination, stimulating the intellect and awakening the compassionate sensibility that lies at the heart of every successful human activity. Stories can be used to heal, to educate and to motivate both teller and listeners. Colleagues who enroll in this program will be guided as they become skillful storytellers and thoughtful story practitioners—using story as an agent for change in their chosen spheres of influence. This program combines the latest scholarship on narrative intelligence and oral tradition with the time-honored techniques of  oral storytelling to create a bold and audacious perspective on the role that story can play in creating a more just and sustainable world.

The Power of Story


As American Poet Muriel Rukeyser says, 
“The universe is made of stories, not atoms.”

Once we understand the power of story in shaping all of our perceptions of self and world, we glimpse the possibilities of becoming more than storytellers; we begin to see ourselves as story practitioners. This shift in perspective makes an enormous difference. Whether you are a teacher, a business leader, a community-builder or a creative artist; whether your goal is to make measurable social change or to feel more alive in your everyday life, the way of the storyteller can provide a clarity and vitality that few human activities can match. A story is the shortest distance between two people and the most effective method for exploring unseen parts of ourselves.

"Stories set the inner life in motion. This is particularly important when the inner life is frightened, wedged or cornered. Story greases the hoists and pulleys, it causes adrenaline to surge, shows us the way out, down, or up, and for our trouble, cuts for us fine wide doors in previously blank walls, openings that lead to the dreamland, that lead to love and learning, that lead us back to our real lives."

-Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes,
Traditional Hungarian/Latina Storyteller and Author of Women Who Run with the Wolves

Come join us as we set our inner and outer lives in motion through story…

Career Idea:

By taking the Certificate in Applied Storytelling in combination with the Transformative Coach Training program, you can specialize in Storytelling Coaching


Classes in Applied Storytelling meet monthly (Friday evening from 5 to 9pm, and Saturday 9am to 5pm) for a period of eleven months. In addition, each student completes a self-designed field research project which will allow them apply the principles of story creation, performance and application in real-world settings.

Courses and Descriptions (12 Credits):

OT 501: Oral Traditions: Medium and Inquiry - 3 credits

Throughout history, oral tradition has been the primary method for communicating information and transferring knowledge between individuals, across generations, and throughout cultures. This course introduces the emerging field of oral tradition and provides an examination of representative oral literature. Students assess the impact of oral traditions on the development of complex syntax and grammar structures and the emergence of written literature. Special attention is paid to the relationship between oral traditions and contemporary thought.

OT 508: Therapeutic Processes of Orality - 3 credits

How we envision and interpret the unfolding narrative of our lives has a tremendous impact on our personal sense of well-being and our relationship to society at large. This course investigates the therapeutic applications of writing and oral traditions – from the management of physical and psychological health, to the resolution of conflict in professional and social relationships, to the alleviation of discord within whole societies. Students learn to harness the power of the spoken and written word through affirmative, expressive, and transformative language, metaphors, and imagery.

OT 509: Cultural Diversity and Unity - 3 credits

The rich culture and heritage of ethnic communities are reflected in the scope and diversity of world literature and oral traditions. In this course, students are encouraged to use writing and oral tradition as mechanisms for cross-cultural understanding. The oral traditions of various African, Asian, European, Hispanic, Jewish and Native American groups are explored, with a focus on the significance of such traditions in an emerging multicultural society. Students are introduced to oral traditions that have been used to preserve cultural knowledge, subvert dominant or oppressive groups, and cultivate intercultural problem-solving.

OT 513: Field Research - 3 credits

This course provides an opportunity for personal, hands-on examination of contemporary applications of writing and the oral traditions and the issues surrounding the field. Through research, students learn to balance tradition and innovation in applied storytelling, and they discover the many ways that “performance arenas” function in everyday situations. An analytical research paper is required in which program participants describe the purpose of the research, delineate an extensive literature review, conduct an appropriate methodological procedure, collect and analyze data, and report all findings.

  Full course descriptions are available in our Catalog of Programs



The faculty for the Certificate in Applied Storytelling is comprised of award-winning writers, editors, oral specialists, and instructors from across the U.S. 

Lisa Worth Huber, PhD - Academic Director


Lisa Worth Huber, Ph.D., is a peacebuilder, consultant, facilitator, storyteller, and writer dedicated to creating compassionate communities and imagining new futures. A peace educator and participatory action researcher, Lisa focuses on narrative and storytelling as vital tools for empathy development. She works with a variety of organizations, and teaches in universities, K-12 classrooms, homeless shelters, safe houses, and with youth at-risk, incorporating the arts as a means to give voice to the silenced, address injustice, foster understanding, and nurture compassion. Lisa blends story in its myriad forms—theatre, poetry, prose, storytelling, comic books, and graphic novels—with social justice and environmental concerns to inspire the development of creative activism and ecological stewardship. Currently, Lisa serves as Chair for the Board of Directors of the National Peace Academy and on the Advisory Council for the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. She is a specialist in community peacebuilding and conflict resolution and is certified and trained in a variety of dialogue and peacebuilding practices from restorative justice to Kingian Nonviolence. Her doctorate is in Peace and Conflict Transformation from Lancaster University in the U.K. She is honored to be the first recipient of the Frank McCourt Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Robin Moore, MA - Program Coordinator


A professional performer, author, and workshop leader, Robin Moore was voted “Storyteller of the Year” by Storytelling Magazine and has shared his stories with more than one million people. Since 1981, he has presented more than 5,000 educational offerings that include storytelling performances, writing workshops, and family programs based on the rich folklore of Pennsylvania, where he grew up.  He was named Pennsylvania School Librarian’s “Author of the Year” and has taught his innovative approach to "Awakening the Hidden Storyteller" at many institutions, including The University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Omega Institute.  Author of several award winning books published by HarperCollins, Random House, and Simon & Schuster, Robin is best known for The Bread Sister of Sinking Creek, the first in a series of historical fiction novels about women on the PA frontier.  He holds a Master of Arts in Oral Traditions from The Graduate Institute.  “Robin’s ability to portray characters with the subtle use of voice and gesture as well as his talent for involving his audiences is second to none on the East Coast. He ranks with the best of today’s professional storytellers.”—Dr. Kenneth Goldstein, Chairman, Department of Folklore, University of Pennsylvania.  Visit his website at

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The Graduate Institute


Sixth Year Certificate

>Learning and Thinking

171 Amity Road

Bethany, CT 06524

United States

Phone: (203) 874-4252

Fax:      (203) 874-8070

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