The Lonely Ape that Told Himself Stories: The Necessity of Stories for Human Survival

Mooli Lahad, Ph.D.
Full Professor of Psychology and Dramatherapy, Tel Hai College and the Community Stress Prevention Center, Israel

Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY031000


Volume 10

Issue 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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The Lonely Ape that Told Himself Stories is a book that tries to explore the fact that humans are the only animals on this planet that tell stories. Its main argument is that people need to tell stories as a basic need and that without stories, we could not survive as a species. The author explores the origins dating back to the times of cavemen and, through myths, legends and fairytales, touches upon issues such as grief and bereavement, hope and pessimism, male and female dominance, and equality.

A significant part is dedicated to the use of stories and narratives in the healing of trauma, as well as how stories act as a modern treatment for PTSD. Lastly, the book explores the future of stories, the flourishing of social media, the issue of internet shaming, the movement towards e-books, and the need for meaning in the post-humanism era. Each chapter ends with experiential activities using stories, story making and other creative methods, including relaxation methods and a collection of stories. The author has been using these methods with clients for over three decades. These activities and processes can be used by an individual or by people in multiple professions to explore and reflect on the topics that are raised in these chapters.

The book is a combination of scientific research in psychology, archeology, arts, mythology, culture, neurology, neuroimaging and the modern media, and includes practical psychotherapeutic methods to work in many “impossible situations”. (Imprint: Nova)



Chapter 1. The Lonely Ape Encounters Darkness

Chapter 2. Do Stories Meet a Basic Need?

Chapter 3. Male and Female He Created Them

Chapter 4. Hope, or How to Manage a Sense of Continuity in Crisis

Chapter 5. Playfulness and Stress

Chapter 6. Fantasy, Dissociation, Daydreaming, and Fantastic Reality

Chapter 7. Transcending into Fantastic Reality: Story-Making with Adolescents in Crisis

Chapter 8. The Story You Need to Hear Now

Chapter 9. When Living Hurts: Fantastic Reality and Imagination in Bereavement

Chapter 10. Healing Stories: My Bag of Treasures



Author's Contact Information


“The author introduces new concepts that are relevant both to trauma researchers and to those who investigate culture, stories and our deepest need for narratives for our survival. The book is unquestionably innovative and well written, coherent and a pleasure to full of hand-on exercises that are helping the reader to experiment with the topics of each chapter, thus making the book not only extremely interesting but also tangible.” - Daphna Slonim, M.D. Psychiatrist, Director of DSA Clinic Los Angeles

"The content of this book is extremely valuable and integrates theory and philosophy from several perspectives. This book would be new in the field and would pave the way forward n new ideas and concepts. It takes a novel approach to the subject and challenges us to think again, about what might be dismissed as 'just a story'." - Sue Jennings PhD, Professor, University of Derby, UK, Founder of Dramatherapy Federation, Social Anthropologist, Specialist in Neuro-Dramatic-Play


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Audience: Psychologists: clinical and school psychologists, trauma expert psychologists.
Social works who work with groups or with traumatized individuals.
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General public, interested in interdisciplinary writing in particular the field of myth, psychology anthropology and brain.

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