Stories for Specific and General Behaviours

As the years have rolled by, I have become more and more interested in using ‘medicinal’ stories in my teaching. At first, when I started on my ‘Story Doctor’ journey, I experienced the use of story in healing relatively common behaviour challenges – for example, encouraging groups of children to use the bins and not throw litter in the school grounds (Grandmother and the Donkey); and helping some very restless 4 year olds learn to enjoy being sometimes still! (Little Red Pony)

Then I experimented with writing stories for specific behaviours - for example, working with metaphor, repetition and rhyme for a 5 year old who was still soiling his pants (a story about ‘Farmer Just Right’ with his repeated slogan – ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’); helping the smallest child in a kindergarten group feel important for being the smallest (The Littlest Bubble); helping a child understand and cope with a recent fire at home where he watched his own bedroom burn to the ground (Mother Rabbit and the Bushfire) ; using metaphor and story for both a child and mother suffering from separation anxiety (Baby Bear Koala).

These stories and many more (80 stories in total) can be found in my first book, Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour, along with a framework for therapeutic storywriting and many tips on storytelling and storymaking.

Note – ‘Stories for healing’ is not a new concept, as cultures world-wide have used (and still use) the power of storytelling in the social and moral education and rearing of their children. In many traditional cultures, supporting the capacity of children through the realms of imagination has been understood and shared as a community responsibility. Adults (teachers, parents and grandparents) have naturally used stories and imaginative strategies in their role as mentors and guides for the children in their community. Refer to my online paper, Therapeutic Storytelling, (PDF Version for full document) for more on this subject ....