Biography Work

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Our lives are our own. Each one is different and unique.Observing and sharing our lives’ stories can help us find our roots, our unique task in life, and our strengths and struggles. It can also help us discover the archetypal patterns and rhythms we share with other human beings.

Biography work is a way to look at our life’s story line through the lens of distinct cycles of development. These seven year cycles form a kind of archetypal pattern on which our own personal life experiences unfold. The pattern of the seven year cycles thus offers a way of understanding some of our own individual questions, struggles, and crises as part of the archetypal human experience. They help us understand what impact our unique life experiences may have had on our personal growth and our understanding of our Self. They also offer us a foundation on which to start the process of integrating some of those experiences in order to let go of the past and create new insights and patterns for the future.

“Life is itself a path of initiation which becomes more meaningful when it is lived in full consciousness, in a way that can be achieved through working on one’s biography.”
Gudrun Burkhard, Biographical Work, The Anthroposophical Basis

There are many ways of working with biography:

  • exploratory groups
  • therapeutic groups
  • “formal” and structured biographical counselling
  • biography as a foundation for general psychotherapy

The more deeply we understand our human story, the more we study our own lives and listen to and read the stories of others, the greater our understanding and compassion for the ways of destiny, the finer our sensitivity for what a human life is.
Margli Matthews, Foreword to Biographical Work, The Anthroposophical Basis