Posted in Aesop's fabes, co-operation, creative arts, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, Story sacks, Storytelling, Storytelling in the Early years, Storytelling techniques, Therapeutic Story, Therapeutic writing

Therapeutic Writing-Stories

IMG_0278Basics:
• Everyone has learnt a lesson for a story.
• A story is metaphorical when used to communicate something more than the events itself.
• Symbols are the smallest units of metaphor.
• The story is a metaphor for the ideas it expresses.
• The Importance of fantasy.

The Importance of Fantasy:
Fantasy is the inner world of the child.

Two types of play:
• Imitative – follow the leader, cook like a mother
• Fantasy or symbolic play – a chair becomes a rocket.

How therapeutic stories can help with coping methods

Options about what to do when presented difficult issues
• New possibilities, creative solutions for overcoming problems
• Ways to dealing more effectively with emotional difficulties
• Options for new ways of reacting to situations.

Metaphorical Images:

• Allows the child to stay longer in the situation.
• Provides the means for the child to stay look at his powerful feelings from a distance.

Unknown Thought (Bollas, 1987):

• “ I know this exactly but I have not ever thought it” (Margot Sunderland, 2007)
• When an unknown thought can be named, then it can be thought through and felt through.
• Children need emotional education and therapeutic story help achieve this education.

The Child and the therapeutic story:

• Must be aptly chosen
• Must identify with the main character
• Must suffer the defeats, obstacles and courage of the main character
• Must feel the character’s joys and relief in coming through conflict and crisis to resolution.
• Must be indirect – this where safety lies.

When to tell a T. Story:
When the child is
– Giving full attention
– Being receptive
– Not distracted
– Before they go to sleep.

Important things to remember:
Story can be
-Fantastical,
-Absurd,
-Do not put irrelevant character or side plots into the story,
-Symbolic and not literal,
-Can be interactive.

Therapeutic Story Making:

• Identify a list of emotional issues that children may experience.

Starting:

• Set a therapeutic objective
• What would you like to change?
• Think of a strategy to achieve this change.

Develop a framework:

• Put the issues into a different metaphorical context ……to which the child can relate.
• Borrow ideas from stories you know.
• Start at the end a work backwards.
• Present the main character as experience the same emotional problem as the child- Metaphorical conflict.
• Show the main character using similar methods to deal with the problem as those used by the child – personify unconscious processes and potential in the form of heroes/helpers and villains or obstructions.

Further Development:

• Show how these methods lead your character problems which lead to failure –metaphorical crisis.
• The story so far should have captured the whole context of how that character came to that moment of crisis in their life.

Resolution:

Move towards the solution – vital part of the journey-someone in the story appears to help the character change direction and to move on to a better coping mechanism which makes them feel a lot better.
• Don’t move too quick – story becomes unbelievable.
• Show the journey from crisis to positive solution – new
sense of identification
• Culminates with a celebration in which the protagonist’s special worth is acknowledged.

Symbols:

A symbol – a word or image which implies one thing but means something else.
• Sunset
• Sunrise
• Locked door
• Tornado/hurricane/storm
• Light
• Witch
• Hole in the heart
• Mirror
• Burned.

Metaphors:

Metaphors – using language to talk about one thing while meaning something else.
• Watching paint dry.
• Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
• Give me the bottom line.
• Don’t put your eggs in one basket.

The Ugly Duckling (An example of a Therpeutic Story)

• Metaphorical Conflict – Birth of funny looking duckling.

• Unconscious processes and potentials – Mother defends him, cites positive qualities, gets a first look at swans.

• Parallel learning situations – Learning to swim, take care of himself and fly.

• Metaphorical crisis – Attack in the marsh, cold winter in the pond.

• New identification – Beholds beautiful new image in the water.

• Celebration – The old swans are in awe of him.

• In groups think of a fairytale that could be used as a therapeutic story. Put it into the above framework.
The Magic Forest


Once upon a time there was a young child called Matilda. Matilda’s parents were the king and queen of the magic forest. The king, Matilda’s father was very ……………….. and the queen, Matilda’s mother was always ……………….. Matilda was the kind of child who never …………………… but always ………. Sometimes the king, the queen and Matilda would ………………… but they never ……………… All of them would sometimes go …………and Matilda would feel ……….. One day while walking in the magic forest, Matilda lost her way. She tried and tried to see if she could get back home to the castle. Matilda became ……….. After a while a wizard came hobbling along the path and told Matilda ………………… The wizard also gave …………. The first thing that Matilda did was ………. and she ……………

Finally, after wandering around for a long time, Matilda recognised the path back to the castle. She hurried towards it but suddenly she came across a …………… Now she felt ………… As the sun was setting Matilda trudged through the castle gates and into the castle where the king and queen were very, very, very, ………….. Her father the King told Matilda ………… Matilda felt …………. So told the king and queen……………… It had been a very tiring day for Matilda and she fell asleep. The king and queen watched Matilda as she slept and thought ……………
The next morning Matilda woke up and said to her self “………………………………………………………………………”

In groups, full in the blanks. Read your story out to the rest of the class. Devise an improvisation based around your story.

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This is a resource site for Early Education and Primary school educators. The blog shares ideas for teaching creative drama/ drama in education to children.

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