As mentioned in Chapter 3 and discussed further in Chapter 15, it may be helpful to (a) listen to the metaphors children use, (b) involve them in the storytelling process, and (c) set homework exercises for them to create an outcome-focused story. This has the advantage of actively engaging the child in the therapeutic process as well as having the child searching for the means to reach the desired outcome. In addition, the stories told by one child may be adaptable for use with another child seeking a similar outcome.
This chapter illustrates these points by using children's own stories. The first, Story 91, was the handwritten tale of a friend's son that I found on a bedside table when staying at their home. Story 92 comes from a collection of stories by students at the John Curtin College of the Arts, Western Australia (Covich, 2003). The other stories come from a project that I undertook with the very generous assistance of a nonclinical group ofYear Seven students (around 12 years of age) at Helena College in Western Australia. As a homework exercise (along the lines that I would assign in therapy) the students each wrote a problem-solving/healing story. Some of these stories, with the permission of the children, their parents, and the college, are reproduced below. Further discussion of this project and its clinical applications can be found in the section "Metaphors Built on a Child's Own Story" in Chapter 15.
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