This article is an attempt to explain why the stories of those who suffer from affective disorder have gone unspoken, and to describe how the Preventive Intervention Project (PIP) helps to elaborate a narrative process within families. The PIP is a short-term, psychoeducational intervention focused on enhancing family understanding of affective disorder, and on building resiliency in children. Detailed descriptions of interventions with two families are used to demonstrate how the PIP works with parents and children: to move the narrative process from private to shared meaning. We discuss how cultural "canons" regarding affective illness reinforce a tendency to keep that experience private. We then show how the PIP provides an alternative, "schematic base" of understanding that facilitates a family's ability to begin a dialogue about their illness. We hope to demonstrate how this modernist, psychoeducational framework can be integrated with a more open-ended, postmodern construction of meaning.