What is Creative Life Story Work?

Creative Life Story Work is a trauma-informed approach to helping care-experienced children and young people understand their own life stories. It’s based on the Rose Model of Therapeutic Life Story Work.

Many young people leave care with unanswered questions about their lives. 

Creative Life Story Work uses creative approaches – developed by artists who are experts in working with care-experienced children and young people – to help children find answers to these questions, make sense of their past, and move on to a better future.

More in-depth work is then led by a trained Therapeutic Life Story Worker, so children and young people can process an often difficult and complex past in a safe, therapeutic environment.

“[the programme has] made me realise my worth.” (Young person)

A short film about Creative Life Story Work

The impact of Creative Life Story Work

Coram and Ipsos Mori evaluated Creative Life Story Work and found that: 

  • It is higher quality and more collaborative than traditional life story work
  • It helps to develop and strengthen relationships between care-experienced children and young people and their carers.

Read more about the evaluation of Creative Life Story Work.

The structure of Creative Life Story Work

Creative Life Story Work is a three-tier approach, giving a robust framework practitioners can follow:

1) All about Me (direct work or group work): All About Me is the entry point into Creative Life Story Work for children and young people. It’s a six-week process, facilitated by a social worker or foster carer, which gives children and young people the opportunity to explore who they are today, what is happening right now, and express their hopes and dreams for the future in a safe, creative space.

All About Me can take place as direct work, a 1:1 between a carer or social worker or a foster carer and a child. This direct work is informed by creative activities developed by our Associate Artists – take a look at these Creative Life Story Work resources for some examples. Or, it can take place in a group setting, as an All About Me Creative Experience, facilitated by an Artist and a Pastoral Support Worker.

Find out more about All About Me.

 

2) More About Me: The next stage of Creative Life Story Work is More About Me. This is a 12-week process facilitated by a trained Therapeutic Life Story Worker. It supports the child or young person to explore why they are where they are, and offers them the opportunity to consider their journey from their birth family to where they are currently living.

Read more about More About Me.

 

3) Therapeutic Life Story Work: The most in-depth tier of Creative Life Story Work is a nine-to-12-month process and is facilitated by a trained Therapeutic Life Story Worker. This aims to support a child who is ‘stuck’ in processing an often difficult and complex past, which has featured trauma for them.

Learn more about Therapeutic Life Story Work.

The team behind Creative Life Story Work

Creative Life Story Work is led by Blue Cabin, a North East-based charity which transforms outcomes for care-experienced children and young people.

The approach was developed alongside South Tyneside Council; Professor Richard Rose of Therapeutic Life Story Work International, who is an internationally respected authority on Life Story Work; and Blue Cabin’s team of Associate Artists.

Creative Life Story Work was piloted between 2018 and 2020. In 2021 a wider roll-out of the approach was funded by What Work Centre for Children’s Social Care.

Get started with Creative Life Story Work

If you’d like to use Creative Life Story Work in your practice, here’s how to get started:

All proceeds from training and membership are used to support more work with care-experienced children and young people.