THE Problem

Depleted energy or exhaustion; feelings of negativity or cynicism related to one's job; increased mental distance from work; reduced professional efficacy are pipelines to burnout.

This results in Stress, Exhaustion, Low Productivity, Absenteeism, Poor Staff Retention, Staff feeling unheard, unwell and discontent and poor work.

A work force that are not at the top of their game is poor for your business and if they burnout - a disaster for them and for you.

In today's environment there seems to be so many triggers for anxiety and depression and other emotional states, the team is not working as well as they can, communication is poor, problem formation is unsatisfactory and the brightest and best are working overtime to pick up the slack.

A perfect feeding ground for both physical and metal illness and slowly burning out.

Happiness, laughter, joy, being in awe, feeling alive, being inspired, grateful, curious, inquisitive, being courageous, adventure....are these words that are describing your staff?

It seems like there are more challenges than ever to find the right solutions for your staff.

The Wellbeing world has exploded and there is so much choice available. You have introduced various options but some may not be working, others take too much time, or you just don't know where to begin to find the correct solution.

Wellbeing is becoming the new cornerstone for ESG strategy and one has to find an comprehensive, efficient programme that that has efficacy at its core, and that is able to be tailored to individual needs.

A unique, personalised wellbeing programme that is easy to implement, cost effective, demands little time and has take aways that will support life long wellbeing.

Wellness Overload

The Sheer Volume of Wellness Practices Is Becoming Overwhelming

Is yoga not enough?

You have already squeezed yoga into your Wellbeing Programme as the practice of Yoga has proven to be very beneficial. However, it hasn't been as successful as you'd hope. Some people love it, finding it calming and relaxing. But for others who simply don't have the ability or the inclination - it is more a drama than a downward dog. It is one thing to implement it and another for engagement.

Will your meditation programme help your staff unlock the breakthroughs they need?

Buddhist monks spend hours a day in meditation. It is an excellent practice. However, to be very effective it needs patience and time which maybe problematic when you need your staff to get on with the job. And it is not for some people who find sitting still frustrating, no matter how they try. It is also so difficult to measure results.

Have you introduced nutrition as key to feeling motivated and productive?

Healthy eating is good for long term health and wellbeing. But often it can fill one with guilt. Sometimes you just have to have that slice of cake. And then the remorse, the trying to loose those extra calories, and those painful feelings of being weak and bad. Staff having these thoughts are not giving you their best. And really is this the role of a business?

The SOlution

Stories for Wellbeing is a Proven Way to Boost Staff Wellbeing

Stories for Wellbeing is an intellectual wellbeing programme aimed at bright sparks, rising stars and future leaders that uses the principles of bibliotherapy, mindfulness and the narrative to create micro shifts in the wiring of the brain which when combined, result in a breakthrough on the macrolevel and participants begin to see things in new ways and what was once buried or hidden is cracked open. This leads them to see life anew and to find a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in their life.

Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus: "Come, and take choice of all my library, And so beguile thy sorrow…"

"Reading literary fiction (rather than popular fiction or literary nonfiction) improved participants’ results on tests that measured social perception and empathy, which are crucial to “theory of mind”: the ability to guess with accuracy what another human being might be thinking or feeling" Science 2013.

"....for those of us interested in addressing the problem of global mental health, books may be an underestimated resource. The effectiveness of bibliotherapy for mental health is a remarkable fact, marking a crucial asymmetry between the treatment of mental health and other aspects of the global health burden." John T Maier Psychology Today

The research

Studies Have Shown That Focused, Mindful Reading, Combined with Targeted and Challenging Journalling as well as Meeting and Sharing One's Own Story

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Increases Empathy

Through rich characters and complex situations literature increases the understanding of other people's point of view and enables you to be more empathetic with others and their stories.

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Reduces Emotional Distress

Instead of direct confrontation with emotional issues, literature provides a less threatening way to face them by triggering imagination of the reader through the interaction with the story.

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Improves Problem Solving

These enable you to gain insight and empower you to resolve personal difficulties as you are provided with alternate options and other problem solving strategies.

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Increases Self-Awareness

The stories enable you to see yourself in relationships and the role that you play in the dynamics of your life.

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Improves Self-Image

Having better vocabulary and using words more accurately, you are able to communicate better with clearer explanations leading to better understanding and an improved self image.

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Reduces Feelings of Isolation

Identifying with character or situation relieves loneliness as you know you are not alone. It strengthens the desired connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours

The Listening Circle

The narrative impulse is a natural process

of socialisation the allows us to understand each other and enables us to work together cooperatively, which is essential for survival.

We need to tell our stories and we need someone to listen. This is what The Listening Circle is all about. It is a sharing of stories; mindful and deep listening; witnessing; and shared support. All in a confidential and non judgemental community. All participants must make a commitment of confidentiality.

Like the salons of the 17th and 18th century, like the gathering together under the healing tree, like the listening and sharing of community meetings - The Listening Circle is a place to explore, analyse, share, and learn.

The Listening Circle
Meet the Founder

I'm Cecile Trijssenaar

Burnout is very close to me. My friend Aisha collapsed one day at work and she simply could do nothing for the next ten months. I wanted to find out more and came to learn that burnout is becoming more common and millions of people are heading towards suffering this debilitating, yet avoidable, condition.

I had to do something. And so for the last three years I have been perfecting a programme that uses the latest neurological research to bring amazing and profound changes to avoid the stresses associated with poor occupational wellbeing.

The story has always been central to my work – from debriefing soldiers returning from the field, to my years of filmmaking, to my Masters in Medical Anthropology majoring in Shamanism, and to being a Bach Remedy practitioner. I knew that the story has the power to heal and that the brain has the power to rewire. When my research led me to bibliotherapy everything fell into place.

I am so proud to have created this wonderful programme and I look forward to taking you on a journey that will change your life!

Is this for you?

The Stories For Wellbeing Programme is Perfect For Your Staff If They...

  • They are Feeling Negative and Cynical Towards their Job - when your staff start to distance themselves from their job and work and react in negative ways towards it - they are heading for burnout.
  • They are Feeling Stressed but don't know What to Do - high achievers often don't see the warning signs as their eye is on the prize. They forge on ahead believing that they are invincible, they simply don't have time to do stuff to manage their time better.
  • They are Tired, Tired, Tired - arriving at work exhausted, spending all day exhausted and leaving exhausted. Everything is too difficult and they simply do not have the energy.
  • They Have Potential but Get Bogged Down with Emotional Angst - Nothing prevents someone achieving their potential better then inner conflict. If one is expected to achieve and yet doesn't believe in oneself - this is a recipe for overwhelm and then anxiety, depression and burning out.
  • They Want to be More Productive - and work to the best of their ability but simply cannot. The bucket is empty as they say. They need a complete break from life as they know it and do something radically different.
  • They Want to Improve Their Relationships with Others - they have great talent but struggle a bit with creating and maintaining good positive relationships especially if there a different values. They need more empathy and understanding of the others point of view. 
  • They Do not Feel Things are Fair - they may feel there is a lack of trust, openness and respect between workers and management. empathy and more understanding of the others point of view. 
  • Breakdown of Community – they feel that there is no longer a safe community to be part of - the workplace is not psychologically safe. They need to connect be free to speak.
  • They're Ready To Learn How To Unlock Their Inner Potential - and become the person they know they really are. They want to feel alive and excited, be strong, happy, resilient and in charge of their own life. Feeling secure and confident in their abilities and and able to achieve knowing they have the power to drive life in the direction they and you want.

What's Included?

Mindful Reading Material, Imagination Challenges, Inspiring Journal, Space to Talk and Listen

From literaure's most superior books, novels and short stories to the world's most celebrated poems we bring you powerful works that have stood the test of time. They are complex, rich with characters and plot lines. They resonate and are relatable as they feature archetypes, being profoundly human and they impart deep meaning and insight.

This is slow mindful reading. Taking time each day to mindfully read these texts will start to shift your mindset in the most minute and subtle ways.

Prompted journal writing enables you to explore and examine your values, ideas, and motivations, creating clarity of thought and principles, understanding and awareness.

Telling of your story is vital part of the breakthrough, as the sharing of our narrative is a powerful tool to becoming an authentic person, acknowledged and accepted.

And it all operates in a community where connection is the key, where we hold witness to the narrative of others and in this way we honour and contribute to who they are and where they are at.

Frequently Asked Questions

More About Stories for Wellbeing

Who is this for? 

Bright Sparks

Future Leaders


Decision Makers

Rising Stars

Line Managers

Why is it needed?

Burnout is real, it is totally debilitating and is expensive for you and your employee. It needs to be avoided at all costs and as they say 'nipped in the bud' at at the first signs before it becomes too late.

What programmes do you have?

We have three programmes:

3 Month Programme which will enable your staff to get a taste of our programme and will start to give them some benefits to manage their wellbeing.

6 Month Programme which will enable your staff to get their teeth into the programme, will prevent burnout and your employees will start to see some positive results.

12 Month Programme where your staff will definitely avoid burn out, they will see and feel the positive benefits and will have made some real change for the better.

What is needed?

Commitment of only one and a half hours a week,

Access to internet,

Accessible from mobile and desktop,

Access to Zoom,

Desire to become emotionally and psychologically robust,

Quiet spot.

What is included?

Full access to over 50 titles of the world's greatest literature.

Videos of most of the books being read out loud.

Each segment in roughly twenty minutes of reading sections

Challenging and through provoking imagination questions

Downloadable journal to fill in

Weekly one hour The Listening Circle to connect and tell your story

How many titles are on the platform?

We are continually growing adding new stories, books and poems from the world's best literature every month. So there is always something new to explore. Our wide range means that there is something for everyone - including children's books to share with family members.

What's the take away?

Prevent Burnout

Skills for life.

Improved vocabulary.

More empathy.

Better understanding of relationships.

Better problem solving skills as can see things from other perspectives.

Erudite, enriched, edified.

More Satisfied and content staff.

Ability to manage one's own wellbeing.

Extensive knowledge of world literature.

Do you have an App?

The App for Stories for Wellbeing will be coming soon but it is accessible on your mobile if you have WiFi.

How does the Listening Circle work?

Each week at a specified time that is agreed upon your staff join The Listening Circle of 20 participants who after a brief introduction, are given 12 minutes to take the floor and talk about anything they want without interruption. They can ask if they want Help or a Hug before hand.

What's my ROI?

Avoiding one member of staff from Burnout will save you thousands.

Other intangibles are hard to measure - engagement, inclusion, morale, wellbeing over time have significant impacts in retention and productivity rates and thus the bottom line.

Wellbeing is an investment in your people, but where we are different from others - is we educate at the same time. Stories for Wellbeing give your staff a wide general knowledge, life long feelings of positive self esteem, a solution orientated mindset and good communication skills - increasing the value for your entire organisation.

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"She weaves you along on this merry dance, where you feel enlightened, you feel charmed, you feel invisibly nourished by the process. You emerge thinking 'Ha! I'm in touch with emotions I have forgotten about.'"

I have battled my own prejudice my whole life and I imagined Jane Austen as some sort of girly romance author who I could not even think of reading. But when when I read it, I realised it is a journey of self discovery. Jane Austen does this in such a wonderful way, she has a very light touch and she leads one along in this dance. She attunes you to the music of her language. It’s wonderful and once you hear her music, she takes you gently along on this journey, where she exposes the foibles and the strengths, the joys and the wonders of her heros and heroines. She put me back in contact with emotions I had forgotten about. And I feel like a completely different person now.

– Chris K

Stories for Wellbeing Member

"It is so gentle, and relaxing and I did not even know anything was happening."

I became totally involved in Peter and Wendy, which I know is supposed to be a kids book. But it took me on such an incredible journey of discovery that I kept on thinking about parts of it - like looking in the draws of the children's minds and tidying them up whilst they are sleeping. And how Tinkerbell just seemed to be me and my negative thoughts. Very powerful, as I now think a little different and have become very curious about all sorts of things.

– Carolina G

Stories for Wellbeing Member

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Hear From Some of the Researchers On The Benefits of Bibliotherapy

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"...those who believe that flowers grow in vases

don’t understand anything about literature. The library has now become her first-aid kit, and she’s going to give the children a little of the medicine that helped her recover her smile when she thought she’d lost it forever.”

- Antonio Iturbe - Liberian of Auschwitz

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A 2011 study published in the Annual Review of Psychology,

fMRI brain scans of people reading about an experienced, display stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through that experience themselves. We draw on the same brain networks when we’re reading stories and when we’re trying to guess at another person’s feelings.

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Psychology Today August 2022

"...bibliotherapy is thought to be effective because it provides an additional outlet for patients to work through problems and can help an individual recognize that they are not alone in their struggles."

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A 2015 article in The New Yorker

"Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers."

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University of Toronto 2011

"Literary art can improve social abilities, how it can move us emotionally, and can prompt changes of selfhood.”

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"Our findings showed that through bibliotherapy,

patients developed several capacities, including the re-signification of their own activities through a new outlook of their moral horizon....values such as autonomy and justice were closely linked with positive results in bibliotherapy. This implies that bibliotherapy has the potential to have a positive impact in different settings

-D Monroy-Fraustro - National Institute of Health


Twice weekly inspirational quotes and powerful passages from literature sent directly to inbox.

Optional Community App

Imagination Prompted Journal

Imagination Prompted Journal

"IMAGINATION is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there will ever be to know and understand." Albert Einstein

“Why, of course!” cried Biddy, with an exultant face. “Don’t you see? It’s him!”

What do you feel? Could Orlick be guilty even though there is no evidence to connect him to the crime?

Each chapter has a prompted question based on the contents for you to explore and use your knowledge, experience and imagination.

Dr. James W. Pennebaker, chair of the psychology department at the University of Texas has conducted much research on the health benefits of expressive writing. In one study 46 healthy college students wrote about either personally traumatic life events or trivial topics for 15 minutes on four consecutive days. For six months following the experiment, students who wrote about traumatic events visited the campus health center less often, and used a pain reliever less frequently, than those who wrote about inconsequential matters.