In brief

12th March 2004 at 00:00
Therapeutic Stories: writing stories to help troubled and troubling children

By Gillian Shotton

Positive Behaviour Management pound;8.65 inc pamp;p from 7 Quinton Close, Ainsdale, Merseyside PR8 2TD. Tel: 01704 575441

The other day I was badly cut up by two hooligan drivers. I couldn't wait to tell the story. Two days later, as I write this, I've told it four times, and I still have several more audiences in mind. Telling it confirms my status as a wronged and righteous citizen.

As adults we take therapeutic stories for granted; we tell them to each other, we listen to them on lovey-dovey radio programmes and we read them in agony columns. So why don't we pay more attention to the value of storytelling as a way of helping children with problems? As this book explains, one advantage is the ability to distance the issue from the child. For example, an anxious little boy who scratches himself until he bleeds hears a story about Jeremy, a friendly dragon who is also anxious:

"The problem is that when Jeremy worries about something, the worry starts off quite little but gets bigger and bigger." Sounds obvious? Of course it does, but when was the last time you tried it?

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