What would your life look like if it were a story? Who would the main characters be? Where would it take place? What happens in the story?
Thanks to pioneers like Dan Siegal, author of the popular books The Whole Brain Child and Mindsight, we are learning just how important it is to help children and teens tell their stories. Being able to put a cohesive narrative together of what we have experienced, and be able to tell someone else, is an incredibly powerful healing phenomenon.
When we create stories, we are making sense of what has happened. When young child tell stories, they are actually connecting two sides of their brain in the process, the emotional side and the logical side (Siegal & Bryson, 2012). When we can be a supportive adult in this process, we can help children and teens get unstuck in their narrative process.
In many cases, children or teens may be too overwhelmed with directly telling their own story. They may become dysregulated, feel incredibly uncomfortable, or have a difficult time piecing together their own story in front of someone else. We can still use the power of storytelling to support these kids and teens, in a way where we offer aesthetic distance (learn more about this with Adam Davis as he talks about the power of Dungeons and Dragons on this episode!)
Aesthetic distance gives us the space to feel more comfortable with processing experiences that are difficult. Essentially, aesthetic distance is a gap that is created between a client’s reality and the fictional reality that occurs within play, theater, and other creative modalities. This fictional reality is a space to work on difficult themes, emotions, and experiences but a place that is safe enough for a client to not feel overwhelmed too.
So, all of that to say…
I created some storytelling prompts and visuals to help my clients navigate storytelling in a safe, aesthetically distant way. I found that I needed a way to get clients started on the creative journey of telling stories – whether it was directly about them or just a story.
The Tell Me A Story set of prompts includes 90 storytelling prompts as well as ten blank prompt cards to create your own! The set includes written prompts, picture prompts, and symbol prompts as well as two pages dedicated to ideas on how to structure and expand the stories to include other creative mediums such as art, theater, sandtray, and songwriting.
Always feel free to reach out