The use of story making in therapy enables clients to express, explore and communicate conscious and unconscious ideas within the safety of a story frame or structure.
The idea is that the story reveals themes, relationships, problems and coping strategies which tell us something about the clients’ inner life.
Dramatherapists will often make use of existing stories, myths and legends or will encourage clients to create or co-create a new fictional story using a structure such as the 6 part story method.
Tell me more about the 6 part story method.
It has its roots in the early 20th century study of fairy tales. Marie von Franz, famous of course for her interpretation of fairy tales and psychoanalysis, identified six basic archetypal building blocks which are contained within stories.
This was further developed by two Israeli therapists Ofra Ayalon and Mooli Lahad who used these elements as a skeleton around which clients can synthesise their stories, including : the main character, a setting, a task or mission and helpful or obstructing factors.
Yorkshire dramatherapist Dr Kim Dent-Brown has further developed the 6 part method as a tool for the assessment of personality disorders but I tend to use story making structures as a tool in the therapeutic process.
What do you like most about story making?
I think it is the paradox of story work as an under-distancing technique enabling clients to make powerful connections and insights whilst providing a safer more distanced structure which allows clients to express painful and difficult stories without becoming overwhelmed.
And of course I love listening to the stories, each one is unique, even with a familiar story stem as a starting point, I never know how it is going to end and that’s exciting.
Author: Alison Gilmour - Psychotherapist, Dramatherapist, Author
If you would like to find out more about therapeutic story making , come along to my workshop on Saturday 27th April 2013, 10am to 4pm @ krysallis, 104 Station Parade, Harrogate HG1 1HQ. Cost £80 including lunch and refreshments. You can book online and find out more here.