Therapeutic Life Story Work
We cannot change the past, but what we can change is our understanding of the past and the perception of ourselves in relation to it. For children and young people who have experienced early childhood trauma, exploring and processing the past can help them make meaning and lead to a more positive present and future possibilities. Amicus Foster Care places high value on Life Story Work, providing carer and staff training and consultation, Therapeutic Life Story Work with children and young people, individualised therapeutic story books, memory boxes and memory books.
Therapeutic Life Story Work involves direct work sessions with the child or young person and their primary carer/s which provide an opportunity to reflect on what has happened. We look together at how our brain can be shaped by early experiences, linking these to current feelings, actions and behaviours. In this way the child can gain greater understanding and awareness of how their history may be negatively impacting on their present, and can serve to reduce shame and increase possibilities for significant change instead of destructive repetitions. Increases can also be seen in identity, self-worth, trust, and ability to make and deepen attachments. The work includes interventions such as family trees, wallpaper work, and scaling. It is based on concepts of attachment, trauma and loss, relevant brain science, magical thinking, identity and meaning.
It is not just the who, what, where, when, why and how, but how a painful past, if not reflected on and worked through, can negatively affect present and future. ‘understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery’ JK Rowling
Thanks for the memories – memory books & boxes
When you look back on your life what are the memories you treasure? What are the things that are precious to you, that remind you of important people, places and events?
A child may share your lives for a few days, weeks, years or the rest of their childhood and beyond. With you they may experience their first loving relationship, of being held in mind, cared for, having fun, learning to swim, swimming in the sea, developing confidence to try new things and having the freedom to enjoy life.
Memories are special moments that tell our story. Keeping photographs, cards, letters, ticket stubs etc., is an important part of preserving positive memories for the children and young people who come into your lives.
Memories can be preserved by keeping a collection of photos on a (password protected) USB memory stick, creating albums (memory book) which can include thoughts and feelings alongside the photo’s, and encouraging your young person to keep a diary to record events, thoughts and feelings which they can share with you.
By creating and keeping a ‘Memory Box’ and ‘Memory Book’ with or for a child, in whatever form it takes, you are helping todays little moments become tomorrows precious memories. Thank you for all you do.