Many children grow up in families that are emotionally warm and where emotional conversations are an everyday experience. The children and young people that often require support, intervention, or care, or who have additional needs, may not have had these essential experiences at home.
They are more likely to struggle in school and could find independence too challenging. They may also struggle with friendships and be unable to handle social situations.
We are, all of us, stories of our past, and so storytelling is crucial to our cognitive, emotional, and physical development. Narration is the bedrock of who we are; when we talk about us, we talk about our past. Sharing stories of the past between adults and children can lead to intimacy whilst building and maintaining healthy relationships.
In simple words – sharing lives through sharing stories leads to love, acceptance, and bonding.
The resources available on the Creative Life Story Work website can support you to facilitate All About Me direct work and contain lots of ideas and templates to encourage story making, story writing and story sharing through creativity and play.
Play is our first language and by playing we can express feelings, emotions and begin to learn.
Some children and young people play through roleplaying, drama and imagination, others through serious examination and learning, but all of us play to relate and communicate.
When everyone is engaged in play, and therapeutic communication is modelled by the adult throughout, then learning about ourselves and those who we meet can lead to more healthy relationships.
In helping children and young people to make sense of their world, we can support them to explore their thinking, their emotional self, and their internal view. Therapeutic communication is about sending out the right messages so that children, who may previously have internalised a sense of worthlessness, come to see themselves as worthy, capable, and valuable individuals.
All About Me is the way to engage children and young people in the first steps towards their Creative Life Story Work journey.
There are lots of tools here to help you get started and to guide you through the All About Me direct work approach.
Bringing a creative approach, through direct work, to Creative Life Story Work offers children an accessible and reflective route to their story, and you will be able to identify what further work children need around their life story and what questions they have.
These tools support the voice of the child or young person and allow them to hear you. By writing down, or voicing something and being listened to, the hurts and worries of children and young people can be externalised, shared, and reframed.
This is a chance for you to engage in enjoyable activities and to develop personally as well as having a positive impact on the rest of the child or young person’s life.
So, welcome to this treasure chest of tools created with you in mind. Even with all these tools and ideas, the key to successful communication and a successful All About Me approach is YOU.
We therefore ask that throughout this All About Me journey with your child or young person, that you are curious, warm, open, and understanding. Every child is different and there is no right or wrong way to deliver these activities. Good luck and have fun.
Professor Richard Rose
Therapeutic Life Story Work International
This post featured as part of the All About Me Direct Work toolkit, designed and produced by TLSWi, Blue Cabin and South Tyneside Council.