Winter stories: Therapeutic conversations from the land of ice and snow — Julie Tilsen


People living in colder climates often diagnose themselves with ‘winter depression’ or ‘seasonal affective disorder’ when they experience sadness, low energy, fatigue and other difficulties that they attribute to the cold and dark days of winter. There are limitations to locating these problems only in bodily and medical discourses and ignoring the culture-bound ways these discourses are constructed and circulated through the kinds of stories we tell about winter. I use a narrative approach to these problems, inviting people to remember their childhood relationships with winter, and to situate their experiences in context, thus making new ways forward possible. When their childhood winter stories become available, people reconnect with a history that helps them construct preferred relationships with winter.