Therapeutic Storywriting is an innovative and creative way for SEN teachers to support children whose emotional difficulties are getting in the way of their academic learning.
By working with the metaphor in stories – written both by the child and the teacher – emotional issues are addressed in a way that does not overwhelm the child.
- A 10-week SEN intervention for children with BESDs
- A therapeutic teaching approach which uses story metaphor as a means to explore aspects of the self
- Evidence-base shows it supports both emotional literacy and develops writing skills
- Aims to provide an emotionally containing environment in which to support the thinking process
- Implemented by educational professionals with training in therapeutic storywriting
- Particularly appropriate for use with pupils aged 7-13 yrs
Addressing the ‘E’ in ‘SEBD’
Therapeutic Storywriting addresses the need to consider the ‘emotional’ as well as the ‘behavioural’ aspect of Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.
The approach is integrative, drawing on person-centred, psychosynthesis and psychodynamic models. It is complementary to a positive behavioural approach and acknowledges the systemic nature of the school learning environment.
Therapeutic Storywriting Groups consist of 4-6 children require an hour and run weekly for 10 weeks.
The group intervention is suitable for pupils aged 7-13 years.
- understanding of the relationship between emotional and cognitive development in the child
- understanding significance of story metaphor
- ability to empathise
- ability to reflect on own feelings engendered by the child
- experience of teaching literacy
- ability to model through own storywriting
- ability to establish secure boundaries for a group
Therapeutic Storywriting Groups was considered the most effective intervention for supporting vulnerable pupils by the schools in our area.Educational Psychologist, Medway
The course was extremely useful & the website was an added bonus. It was great to train and set up a groups at the same time.Learning Mentor
The groups are good for pupils who may have had a few difficulties. You can write stories and talk about problems but don’t have to say it is you.Year 6 pupil
It’s helped me to release my anger in small portions. Now it goes into my pencil and into stories. I can make a story around how I feel.Year 5 boy
Therapeutic Storywriting is a therapeutic teaching model that uses the educational curriculum as a therapeutic context. It does not require educational professionals to become therapists but rather to bring psychological-mindedness to their work in supporting pupils with severe behavioural emotional and social difficulties.
The aims of the Therapeutic Storywriting group intervention are to help pupils:
- process difficult emotion using story metaphor
- develop their motivation and engagement with the writing process
- to develop emotional vocabulary
- to improve social skills
Pupils will generally be on the SEN register for Behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESDs). They are selected because emotional anxiety is getting in the way of their learning. Pupils may or may not have literacy levels below that of their peers.
Therapeutic Storywriting Groups are designed to be implemented by SENCos, SEN teachers, HLTAs, Learning Mentors, Educational Psychologists, and other professionals supporting pupils with behavioural, emotional or social difficulties.