Children and young people who have been separated from their birth families are often denied the opportunity to explore and discuss their feelings about their past. Life story work is one of the key therapeutic approaches in working with adopted or looked after children as they make sense of belonging to both the birth and adoptive/foster families.
Counselling Solutions offers Creative Life Story work through the use of play and creative art activities to help the child express themselves in the media of their choice within a safe way.
Although the sessions are not specifically therapy, they are led by the therapist so that emotional responses and difficult reactions of the child/young person can be contained and managed safely. Parents/Carers are included in all sessions and are actively encouraged to join in, which provides opportunity for the child to share their experiences and feelings.
The aim of Creative Life Story work is to construct a concrete sequential narrative of the child’s history to the present day, because their sense of time and sequencing can become muddled, due to their sense of self and internal working model from which they view all relationships and environments, which can be distorted as a result of developmental trauma. In Creative Life Story work, activities which are relational, repetitive, relevant and rewarding can help the child to recover from trauma by increasing regulation of stress response systems in the brain (Bruce Perry, 2006).
It is important that Creative Life Story work is not seen in isolation as there may be a need for continued support after, including therapy sessions and consultations for the parents/carers to prevent destabilization or a sense of abandonment.
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