The book is divided into four parts to allow ready referencing of the sections you may want to revisit for story ideas when working with a particular child in therapy. Part One, "Effective Storytelling for Kids and Teens," examines the magic of metaphor to inform, educate, teach values, discipline, build experience, facilitate problem solving, change, and heal. There are guidelines for effectively telling stories and using the storyteller's voice. The last chapter of this section discusses useful tools, techniques, and vehicles for communicating therapeutic messages metaphorically. How do you use books, drama, videos, puppets, toys, play, humor, collaborative tales, and other media in metaphor therapy?
Part Two, "Healing Stories, Teaching Stories," is divided into ten chapters, each containing ten stories (except for Chap. 4, which contains 9) relevant to the therapeutic-outcome theme of that chapter. Each chapter is prefaced with a brief description of the nature of the outcome theme and concludes with an exercise to record and develop your own story ideas for that particular outcome goal.
The topics around which the stories of each chapter are woven represent a common therapeutic goal. These topics are not meant to be all-inclusive or totally definitive of pediatric therapeutic goals. They are derived from experience in my own clinical practice, from discussions with other clinical, educational, pediatric, and developmental psychologists, and from the results of an unpublished study I conducted of congress attendants in which they were asked to list what they saw as the ten most common therapeutic goals. The outcome goals I have used just happen to be a convenient framework for me to structure my healing stories. I hope they will provide a guide on which you can develop metaphor ideas ofyour own—but I want to offer the caution that they are not the only therapeutic outcomes and may not be relevant for you or your young clients. If they are helpful, please feel free to use them but, if not, do not limit your stories—or therapy—to what happens to be a convenient structure for someone else.
The stories in Chapter 13 are an exception to the general format of this section, as they are stories by children rather than stories by an adult for children. They mainly come from a project with a school in which children were asked to write their own healing stories.
Part Three, "Creating Your Own Healing Stories for Kids," guides you through the processes for developing your own outcome-oriented stories. It discusses some of the pitfalls to avoid in structuring metaphors, and some of the pathways that may be helpful to follow. You will be introduced to various sources from which you can build metaphors, and offered simple, how-to-do-it procedures for creating, structuring, and presenting effective therapeutic metaphors. The final chapter is devoted to how to teach parents to use metaphors as a way of enhancing the efficacy of these therapeutic interventions for their children.
The emphasis ofthis book is on the pragmatics ofhow to tell stories, how to find metaphor ideas, and how to structure your own therapeutic tales, rather than on the reiteration of the research underlying metaphor therapy. As both the art and science of metaphor therapy are important, I have provided a detailed resources section at the end of the book that will enable interested readers to further explore the nature of metaphors as a language form, the research into their efficacy, and the variety of their therapeutic applications. It will also help you to find further therapeutic story material in a variety of sources, from children's books and traditional folktales to Internet Web sites.
An additional reference feature of the book is that the major sections have shaded tabs on the pages' leading edges to enable rapid accessing of the outcome-oriented chapters and other information you may wish to revisit. By structuring the book in this way, I hope it will provide a source of readily available ideas for working with the child sitting in your office with you at any given time. Writing it and structuring it in this way has also posed me with a dilemma. I have wanted 101 Healing Stories for Kids and Teens to be clear, practical, and accessible without being, or even seeming to be, too prescriptive. I hope to communicate that for a metaphor to be relevant it needs to be personal, it is best developed collaboratively with the individual child, and it needs to take into account that child's character, problem, resources, and desired outcome. I hope you enjoy your journey into children's metaphors as much as I have enjoyed writing about them.
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