Each group will have its own dynamic and much of the teacher’s task is to be aware of this and contain behaviour within clear boundaries. Many children with EBDs are fractious and easily upset by the comments or behaviour of other children.

Seating arrangements and providing each child with the amount of space they need are important. Establishing a clear structure for the sessions helps contain some of this anxiety as does the opportunity to channel emotional issues into story writing.

Sometimes group interactions are explicitly referred to within the children’s stories. For example, in one group, the fractious relationship that had existed for a number of weeks between two boys changed dramatically after one of them introduced the other into his adventure story.

This was followed by the other boy doing likewise and introducing his former ‘enemy’ into his story as a general who changed onto his side in his battle scene. For the next few weeks the two boys shared the reading out of their stories with each child reading their lines in the other’s story. They then chose to sit next to each other and their relationship improved dramatically.

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Therapeutic Story Writing book coverTherapeutic Storywriting – A Practical Guide to Developing Emotional Literacy.

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