THE Problem

Feeling 'Stuck' Damages Our Health, Wellness & Productivity

Are you living the life that you were born to?

You may be living a life that is OK, with nothing to complain about, but it doesn't feel satisfying or fill you with pride or joy.

Sometimes we are living a life that our parents planned for us, or a life that landed on our lap. We go through the motions, waking up at the same time, doing the same thing, day in and day out.

When this happens, we are in effect, stuck in that proverbial rut.

Slowly, slowly our sense of self begins to erode and without having real meaning and purpose (bliss) we just 'do our job', neither excelling or doing badly. Not dead, but not alive either.

Bored and boring.

A perfect feeding ground for illness both physical and mental.

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

And it feels like there are more stresses than ever getting us stuck. 

Stress, stress and more stress. It seems that there are so many things that set our heart rate rising and adrenaline coursing though the veins.

  • The state of the world
  • The demands of family
  • Work pressures
  • Difficult relationships
  • The uncertain future
  • No one to talk to
  • No one who understands

We need to escape but we are stuck! Crippled with not knowing which way to move. Uncertain of the right steps to make. And then one thing adds onto the next, and then the next. And before you know it you are feeling out of control, unable to manage, scared and suffering. You don't want to talk to anyone as you feel embarrassed and ashamed, and yet you are not coping. So you keep quiet, but you cannot pretend something that you are not, so people know something is not quite right, but they don't know what. It is a vicious circle that affects your sense of self and your wellbeing.

Wellness Overload

Even the Sheer Volume of Wellness Practices Can Be Overwhelming

Should you try to squeeze some yoga into your schedule?

The practice of Yoga has proven to be very beneficial, and some people love it, they find 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.

Will meditation unlock the breakthroughs you 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 if you are short of both. And it is not for some people who find sitting still frustrating, and no matter how they try, they cannot calm their mind.

Is healthy eating the key to feeling motivated and productive?

Healthy eating is good for your long term health and wellbeing. But often it just fills you with guilt. Sometimes you just have to have that slice of cake. And then the remorse, the trying to make up for the extra calories, and those painful feeling so feeling weak and bad.

The SOlution

Bibliotherapy is a Proven Way to Boost Wellbeing

Stories for Wellbeing is a programme based on bibliotherapy where the reading of literature creates micro shifts in 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. Rameses II had a collection of books that was protected under an archway engraved with "A Place of Healing".

"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." Frontiers in Public Health March 2021.

"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.

"Literary art can improve social abilities, how it can move us emotionally, and can prompt changes of selfhood,” University of Toronto 2011

"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." New Yorker 2015

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

The research

Studies Have Shown That a Focused, Guided Reading Habit...

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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

Meet the Founder

Hi, I'm Cecile Trijssenaar

From a very early age, I always found a sense of safety and belonging in literature—from rushing home as a child to listen to stories on the radio, to burying my nose in a books to distract from turbulent times as a teenager.

Books were my favourite things and they helped me survive the complex and difficult times in my life.

I soon found my way into to a Masters degree in Medical Anthropology, fascinated by the healing aspects of stories both listening to them and the power of ones own narrative which I had experienced first-hand.

Looking further I discovered bibliotherapy and the science behind it. There is evidence that literature can have an impact at the neurological level—and there is empirical evidence of the healing of telling one's own story. Now I'm on a mission to help other stressed, stuck, and overwhelmed people discover the wonderful healing power of stories.

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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 you read it, you realise 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 you 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 puts you back in contact with emotions you have forgotten about.

– Chris K

Stories for Wellbeing Member

What's Included?

68+ Books And Stories To Enjoy, With More Added Every Month

From literature's most profound books, poems, novels, to England's favourite children's books we bring you a wide variety of engaging and empowering stories from across the world. These books have stood the test of time as they relate to what it is to be profoundly human and you can find resonance in the characters, the plots and the meaning.

Each book is divided into chapters of roughly 20 mins. Each has:

  • Video of it being read out loud by our talented readers.
  • A multiple choice quiz,
  • a dictionary of unfamiliar words and expressions
  • a Use Your Imagination section for you to imagine according to your own experiences
  • A comments section to write your thoughts

Reading of these stories will start to shift your mindset and you might want to explore this and you can do this with your personal My Story for Wellness, a 120 page journal which will be sent to you. In the journal you will write what comes to you, follow up on new words, explore connections and relationships, evaluate situations, what and how you would do things differently. And of course fill in the Imagine section asked at the end of every chapter, to get your creative juices flowing.

And to connect with others and to share your story and share your feelings we have our weekly The Listening Circle. Check in and have a listen to others and and put your name down for your turn to talk. We are here every week same time. Drop in or become a regular. It is for you, to share and be part of the community.

And we are always on hand to help and support you with anything you need on your path to unlocking that which has been holding you back - so you will be free to reach your true potential.

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens


by Robert Louis Stevenson

Peter and Wendy

by J. M Barrie

The Water-Babies

by Charles Kingsley

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

by Robert Louis Stephenson

Series of Short Stories

of Oscar Wilde

Black Beauty

by Anna Sewell

Winnie the Pooh

by A A Milne

My Favourite Fairy Tales

as told by Edric Vredenburg

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

Wind in the Willow

by Kenneth Graham

The Prophet

by Kahlil Gibran

The Velveteen Rabbit

by Margery Williams Bianco

The Little Prince

by Antoine de Saint-Exupery


by Shelly, Wandsworth,

Mother Goose or Old Nursery Rhymes


The Yellow Wallpaper

by Charlotte Perkins Stetson

The Secret Garden

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

by Arthur Conan Doyle

Treasure Island

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Alice in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

All books of Tales of Peter Rabbit

by Beatrix Potter

Just So Stories

by Rudyard Kipling


Plus Join Our Weekly The Listening Circle & Supportive Community

The narrative impulse is a natural process of socialization that allows us to understand each other and enables us to work together cooperatively, which is essential for survival.

The Listening Circle

We need to tell our stories and we need someone to listen. This is what the Indaba is all about. Inspired by the stories it is a safe space to meet others and to share our narrative and to listen and learn from others.

Come join us via Zoom every week at the same time, on the same day, where a member will select a story or character or words which has some specific meaning to them and we listen as they tell us their narrative.

In the telling of your story you are able to:

  • Unburden that which is keeping you back
  • Explore what meaning a passage or a character has for you
  • Create understandings of life
  • Observe the sentiments of others
  • Talk in a safe environment
  • Challenge ideas of knowledge
  • Share experiences
  • Co-create new narratives
  • Unlock buried emotions

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 safe place to explore, analyse, share, and learn who you are in a supportive and caring environment.


Plus My Wellness Story Journal

"There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write." - Thackery

Journalling has been long proven to be beneficial in releasing thoughts and emotions that otherwise swirl around one's head and heart. Often though, it is difficult to know what to write or how to keep up with it.

This is why we have created My Wellness Story Journal that is guided by the Stories for Wellbeing reading. At the end of each chapter we ask you to imagine something that is related to what you have just read. Here is your opportunity to take a minute and to write your thoughts, feelings, imaginings. There is no right or wrong - it is for you to explore all of who you are, and all of who you want to be.

Frequently Asked Questions

8 Questions Our Members Ask Before Joining Stories For Wellness

When does the course start and finish? 

The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - as a member you decide when you start and when you finish.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, as a member you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like, across any and all devices you own.  And as each month there is a new book or story for you to read and enjoy

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! Please contact us within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. No questions asked.

Can I have a trial period?

Yes of course, we offer everyone a 7 day free trial to see if it is for you.

How many books are on the platform?

We add new stories, books and poems from the world's best literature continually. So there is always something new to explore. From children's books to long novels, something for everyone. At present there is over 100 hours of videos.

How do I get entry to the Indaba?

Once you become a member, we ask you which day and time suits you for this 1 hour meeting and we send you details to join.

Do you have an App?

We have a community App and when you become a member you will have access to this App where you can engage with the Indaba community. The App for Stories for Wellbeing will be coming soon.

What if you don't have a book that I want to read?

Please just tell us what you would like to read, and we will do our best to bring it to you.


Hear From Some of Our Satisfied Members

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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.

- ARP 2011

I love it, I genuinely love it.

It is a very novel idea. You can really dive into it a lot. It definitely has got bones. Corporate people will love it."

It is a very novel idea. You can really dive into it a lot. It definitely has got bones. Corporate people will love it

- Elaine H

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A 2013 study published in Science

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

testimonial headshot
"Reading has been shown to

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."

- C Dovey

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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

-D Monroy-Fraustro

Is this for you?

The Stories For Wellbeing Membership is Perfect For You If...

  • Feel Stuck. Your life is changing and you need to transition and you don't know what or how. You feel you are in a rut in your in your career, you feel depressed in your relationship, or you are unhappy in your life but don't know what to do about it, change has been trust upon you, maybe from bereavement and you don't know what to do. Things you tried in the past are no longer working for you.
  • You Want to Move forward with your Life - You can visualize where you want to go. You see yourself confident and happy and relaxed surrounded by like minded people. In the job you desire and with the partner of your dreams.
  • You're Ready To Learn How To Unlock your inner Bliss - and become the person you know you really are. You want to feel alive and excited again, you want to be strong and happy and in charge of your own life. You want to feel secure and confident in your abilities and to feel that you have the power to drive your life in the direction you want.

Choose a Pricing Option

"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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