Life Story Work is a therapeutic intervention which helps children to understand their past and make sense of who they are
Life Story Work
Life Story Work is a therapeutic intervention which helps children to understand their past and make sense of who they are; we are all shaped by the stories we tell ourselves and others about our lives. Children in care or who have been adopted might not have key information about their past and where they came from, vital to their sense of self and identity. Life Story Work helps children to learn about and understand their past, providing a space to process thoughts and feelings in relation to their personal history. It is therefore essential the work starts when the timing is right for the child/young person.
Life Story Work Sessions
Before working directly with the child, information is gathered about the child’s life from Children’s Services as well as current and past carers or families, depending on individual circumstances. The Life Story Work develops a timeline of life events, information about birth history, significant moves, significant people, and stories or anecdotes about the child.
Sessions take place on a regular basis (weekly in the early stages), and at the same time and place. Life Story Work is child-led; building rapport and creating a sense of safety is the focus of the first few sessions. Play and creative approaches are used to help children and young people express their thoughts; the process integrates the child’s feelings about their life as well as the facts.
Life Story Work takes the child through Present Þ Past Þ Present Þ Future. The structure begins with the present as it is important for the child to understand and feel safe in the present before moving towards the past. Age appropriate information is shared dependent on the child’s development, it is a unique and individual process.
Life Story Work helps children understand their history whilst creating a narrative for thinking about the future. It helps build resilience and increase self-worth and self-esteem. A Life Story Book is created with the child/young person as part of the work but often it is the process rather than the end product which is of great importance.