After an education in psychology and a career in theater, Linda Sussman has developed healing storytelling workshops. When we met at The Beanery, she described her evolution from theater to the medium of storytelling.
LS: I think I was always connected to theater in my soul. I was writing plays in the third-grade. I think it’s a world and an art form that deeply belongs to me. After I left the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, I took acting training at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. I was immediately intrigued with the healing potential of theater work more than I was with putting on plays. There were classes where you could cathart, where you had permission to express emotion. There were some very profound experiences that I had during that time. But even then I was filled with a fervor to help and heal the world.
I was intensely involved in theater, but I knew if my shattered ideals regarding psychology were ever going to be reconstituted, it would have to come from a different direction that I had seen at the School of Social Welfare. Jungian psychology became of interest to me. My interest evolved from theater itself into theater in a healing context. About that time I saw Robert Bly. I was already tuned in to fairy tales through Jungian psychology, but what Robert was doing with them, the healing that was coming through the stories in his telling of them and his commentaries, just moved me. I wanted to find more about that, but I didn’t know how to do it.