Narrative therapy is where your child understands their own story and sees problems and challenges as outside influences – not as part of who they are. Using Narrative Therapy techniques a counsellor enables problems in their story to become separate from them. The child’s challenges become something which can be managed rather than a part of who they are. Narrative Therapy for children helps them to identify, discuss and deal with issues which would otherwise become part of who they are.
The Narrative Therapy technique explained
The principle of narrative therapy is about dealing with issues through discussion and narrating one’s life then using this as a premise for feeling secure and comfortable with a life story.
In a practical sense, using the principles of narrative therapy for your young children could be to create a photobook of your child’s life story. Doing this not only initiates a conversation with your child about the past, present and future, it also makes them aware of their routine, the adults in their life and the people and objects that make them feel safe and secure.
What should you put in the photobook?
Include photos of your child’s daily activities and routine, as well as any learning and developmental milestones that will help them celebrate and realise their growth as an individual. Photos of family, day care and extra-curricular activities will help your child have a sense of belonging and structure. Building an annual photobook creates a whole childhood narrative.
How can you use the photobook?
The photobook can be used as part of a bedtime routine or any other time of day. Let your child lead the discussion as they look at the photos. If any negative feelings or anxieties arise, such as going to child care or kindergarten, then remind them of the positive aspects by pointing out photos of the fun activities and their achievements that have taken place there. Some childhood events are traumatic. Family separations for example can create anxieties and feelings of blame in your child. Use your photobook to open discussions around the separation and to illustrate that both parents still love the child. You can talk about when you were happy before and how you’re still enjoying happy times separately. You can also use it show that the “separation event” was an external occurrence, beyond your child’s control and in no way caused by the child.
What other narrative therapy techniques can be used?
Photobooks can be used in conjunction with drama, art, and play activities. If your child is anxious about going to day care, you might like to use a photo of them engaging in a fun activity and then use it as a base for roleplay, drawing or free play. While they are participating in the activity, you can play too! Keep it a light and fun activity and talk about ways they can deal with their anxiety while focusing on being encouraging and optimistic.
If you’re looking for a safe and secure way to store your child’s life story, JourneyTree provides the perfect platform for your Early Childhood Centre to communicate your child’s progress and provide images of them engaging in learning activities. It also has fully integrated photobook software and a cloud storage area for you to upload your own images. Find out more and contact JourneyTree today.