Step Plan the Story

It is said that every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. For healing stories I refer to the beginning as the Problem, the middle as the Resources, and the end as the Outcome—something I call the PRO-Approach. When planning a story, I find it easiest to begin at the end, finding the Outcome first, as I suggested in Step 1. Next you need to ask, what is the middle? What skills, progression of steps, or Resources does the character need to reach its goal? Third, what is the beginning of the story? What Problem or challenge does the character need to overcome? Fourth, who is the character? What sort of character will help communicate the story's message? If you want a warm, fuzzy, cuddly ending to the story, you may choose a teddy bear or one of your child's pets. If the story is communicating a message of strength, a character like an elephant or a superhero might be a better choice.

(In working with a parent, it helps at this point to plan an actual story with her or him that can be taken home and told to the child between therapy sessions. In the follow-up session you may want to know how the child responded to the story, how the parent felt in telling it, what they noticed about the parent-child relationship, and how they might continue or build on this experience.)

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