Therapeutic Life Story
For children who have been removed from the care of their birth family and suffered placement breakdowns or transitions, their life history can be extremely fragmented, leaving the young person feeling lost and with no sense of belonging (Perry, 2012). This can impact hugely on their well-being and make the young person very vulnerable in their present and future.
Therapeutic Life Story Work empowers a young person’s voice and provides them with a safe space to feel and express their thoughts and emotions when making sense of past experiences and the relationship these have to their current thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
When a Therapeutic Life Story approach is conducted with care, thought and sensitivity, it offers a space for children and young people to start rebuilding the pieces of their lives that have been discarded, lost or damaged. It offers a therapeutic space to give children a voice in their world and have it respected and valued.
Involving adoptive parents is crucial in building upon their attachment, allowing them to share their trauma experiences in a safe way with a carer who is able to show acceptance of both the young person’s inner world, and external reality.
Therapeutic Life Story Work isn’t just about identity, it is about meaning. If a young person understands why, they are where they are, then they have more chance of changing their behaviour and creating more robust, mature, independent personalities and becoming more socially competent.
This approach allows for a creative approach that is sensitive to the child’s needs, without overwhelming them and gives the child opportunity to respond and process as the work progresses.
Some children find it difficult to express their emotions about their past experiences, so this approach allows children to use different ways to express themselves, using Art, Sand and other creative methods. Play is a valuable method of communication and uses symbolic means of communication and how we relate to the people and world around us and can be helpful for children who are stuck or find expressing emotions challenging. A range of Art & Creative Therapy techniques will be used to aid the engagement and process of the interaction and methods to communicate emotions.