LIVING STORY                 

Juliet Bruce, PhD

About Me 

Writer, Healing Story Facilitator, Story Activist


I work with lost but openhearted souls ready to call upon their inner hero -- their highest and best self, their soul -- that will change a troubled life story for the better.

You too have this heroic self in your psyche.Whether you're rebuilding your life after loss or illness, are a professional whose anxiety cripples your dreams, a parent whose depression stifles your ability to love your child the way you want to, a target for prejudice, or yearn assume more agency and happiness in your life story, that audacious believer knows how the best in you can change your narrative -- and subsequently, your life circumstances.

Specifically, what I offer you is a process to transmute trauma and despair into a life-affirming and action-oriented adventure.


I was a born rebel, hungry to take on challenges beyond what was being asked of me. But underneath the bravado was a lonely, anxious, and conflicted girl who yearned to belong as much as to stand out. My father was my foundation and moral compass, and when he died just as I entered adulthood, I lost my moorings and stumbled blindly through my twenties and thirties. After my second divorce, I had almost lost all hope that I would ever create a life for myself that was meaningful and purposeful. Depression swallowed me like quicksand.

But something in my writing process -- my own audacious believer -- only an echo now of my father's voice, called me back to life. I imagined and wrote my way out of depression, using archetypal story plot as a road map. As a result, I was led to take on my most daring assignment yet: becoming a poetry therapy trainee in a maximum security unit for criminally insane men.

At first, the men regarded me with mild amusement. Men declared not guilty by reason of insanity for the crimes of killing, raping, maiming. Men with stories too dark to be told outside of a prison -- and not even there.

Once I understood the situation, I promptly changed the program from writing poetry to writing stories, backed up by their favorite R&B albums. Most important, a reporter still, I LISTENED TO THEM AND I BELIEVED THEM! I believed that their language was filled not with mad hallucinations but with metaphors aptly describing the emotional devastating reality of their plight. In the safety of the story sanctuary we created together, they wrote and performed a play, put out a monthly newsletter, and grew less symptomatic and more bonded as a community. As a result of the changes produced in that group, sixteen out of twenty men were transferred to medium and minimum security, where they could receive job training and weekends with their families to prepare them for transition to the community. I told ages-old stories, and they gained a future.

At the same time, I found a bolder and more inspired voice and began to trust my intuitive, arts-based, and improvisational facilitation style. I helped the men re-story their lives and in the process, restored my own.

Since that pivotal moment, I have helped hundreds of people and groups adopt my signature story paradigm to find their way out of their own crisis to a happier and more purposeful existence.

My clients include adults coping with depression and anxiety, the impact of childhood abuse, life-threatening illness, grief, workplace stress, violent social attitudes about their race, ethnicity, or age, and the collective trauma of living in these times. I am currently at work on a book that has grown out of my own life lessons and my Living Story practice.


  • In the wake of 9/11/2001, I founded Arts for Life, a non-profit organization that sent trained teams of storytellers, visual artists, dancers, actors, musicians, and expressive therapists into public venues to facilitate healing programs. In 2004, Arts for Life was named one of Washington, DC's outstanding emerging non-profits by the Agnes and Eugene Meyer Foundation. Arts for Life is now dissolved.
  • I have won numerous grants for my innovative story programs, and in 2004-2005 held a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Library of Congress. In 2007, I co-won the National Storytelling Foundation Brimstone Award for a program to address the needs of New York City firefighters continuing to suffer PTSD as a result of 9/11. I also serve as a workplace stress consultant and facilitator of healing story programs for community disaster recovery.
  • I have B.A. in Comparative Literature from Northwestern, an M.A. in Comp. Lit. from Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Expressive Arts Therapy and Transformational Education from the University of Hawaii International University for Professional Studies.
  • A National Storytelling Foundation Brimstone Aware enabled my story program to address the needs of New York City firefighters continuing to suffer PTSD as a result of 9/11.
  • After some health challenges, I'm fully back! now offer private resilience counseling and group Story Sanctuaries for individuals, families, and communities.

I invite you to have a complimentary exploration call with me on Skype, Zoom, or by phone to assess what you need and if this approach is right for you.

New York office:

  19 West 34th Street,
New York, NY 10001
(917) 432-4144

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