Life story work is one of the key therapeutic approaches to working with adopted or fostered children. While it sounds simple, there is much more to this work than producing photo albums or memory boxes for children.
This accessible book is full of tried and tested activities and creative ideas for professionals, parents and carers who may have little time and few resources, but who need to carry out life story work that works for children. The authors describe the optimum conditions in which to carry out life story work and feature activities to accompany each of the necessary stages: creating a sense of safety, emotional literacy, building resilience, exploring identity, sharing information and looking to the future.
This book will be a vital tool for social workers, foster carers, adopters, students and any frontline practitioners involved in working with traumatised children.
Katie Wrench is a qualified therapeutic social worker, art psychotherapist and foster carer. Lesley Naylor is also an experienced therapeutic social worker and play therapist who facilitates a life story consultation clinic. Both authors work with children and young people who are fostered or adopted, provide specialist consultation and training to frontline social care practitioners and foster carers around life story work and are based in Leeds, UK.
This book is an excellent, practical, way of getting started on the complex but vital task of providing life story work for looked after children...They provide activities that can be used with
children to help them come to an understanding of why they are in care... Perhaps most valuable is that the authors set life story work in a context, with chapters devoted to helping the child build a sense of safety, emotional literacy, resilience and identity as an integral part of sharing the information about their life with them... This is an excellent book and the exercises described have uses in working with and caring for children beyond the life story work field.
Foster Care Magazine
The authors have thoughtfully sifted and collated the numerous different activities and methodology that have worked well in practice as a way of encouraging practitioners, foster carers and adoptive parents to begin doing life story work with children. In so doing, they allow those three groups in a child's life - practitioners, foster carers and adoptive parents - to do direct work with children and give them an opportunity to explore their own creative and communication skills.
Young Minds Magazine
The book is easily readable, written in a heartfelt way by people who a) clearly care deeply about the subject matter and b) have real and robust experience in carrying out Life Story Work themselves... This book is split into bite-size chunks that give real and concrete activities split into what the facilitator will need, how to complete the activity and 'handy hints' about how to develop or shape the work to fit with the developmental stage of the child... It was really useful to have read this book and would recommend it as a useful addition to material for those working in this vital area.
Clinical Nurse Specialist