Finished story no 26 last week - my A- Z Collection of Behaviour Tales is complete!! Now working on the editing and intro - soon plan to upload it as an e-book - watch this space - will be announcing the title soon!! Family members putting invaluable artistic support into the cover design - thank you Marika (and Jamie)!

China Tour - October 2012

Back from China - great tour - 4 cities in 3 weeks - and books selling like hotcakes! Many new stories created at workshops - what a privilege to be doing this work!

I also had a chance to tell some of my favourite stories to groups in bookshops - here is a pic of me telling the Star Apple to 200 people in Guangzhou ....


Project for Japan

I have been both honoured and humbled by a request to work with a Japanese translator on a collection of stories for the tsunami survivors - I am working on some creative impulses for this now - this continues on from my attempt to write stories for national and global crisis   - I include two examples here:

 For a copy of 'The Shadow Giant' (a story for the global crisis) click here 

For a copy of 'The Sparkling River' (a story written after the Brisbane floods) click here

Book launch - 27th July 2012

Thanks for all the thoughts and well-wishes for the Australian launch of my 101 Therapeutic Stories book - it was a wonderful wonderful evening - and a special thank you to Amber Greene for her enthusiastic 'launch' speech and Jamie Perrow for his charismatic MC role ...


Tales from the 'Story Doctor'

Stories can be a very effective tool today in addressing specific and general behaviour challenges in children, and there seems to be more and more need for such tools in our complex modern lives. I have worked with this tool in a two year contract with the Australian Government from 2001 to 2003, piloting Creative Parent Support Programs. This work often involved home visits to families where I observed difficult situations and then wrote a story (often feeling like a ‘story doctor’) to help heal the difficult behaviour. The work then extended into running Creative Discipline Courses for parents and teachers where the participants were encouraged to use imaginative approaches (songs, poems, stories ….) to handle discipline challenges – see table of documented story outcomes in the listed conference papers. The home visits plus the workshops has produced some very successful results, confirming for me, the parents and the teachers the place for metaphor and story in child-rearing practices. (Refer to my first posting for some examples of stories for specific and general behaviours).

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 ....