Healing stories

Stories can be used for healing in many ways. You can find helpful healing stories for yourself, for example in the simple moral tales in fairy tales or in contemporary children’s literature, including in stories for very young children, like Henry’s Bed  and Henry’s Bath  both by Margaret Perversi and Ron Brooks,  delightful little stories for helping to get small Henry into his own bed and into his bath.

Or you can make stories up yourself, an even more powerful way to do it, because these stories arise out of the specific need of your individual child. Your stories can be literal descriptions of events which create an imaginative pathway into what your child is facing– a visit to the doctor or hospital, parental separation, first day at kindergarten or child care. Moving house is one such story. They can be stories which re-frame a situation for a child to help them cope, such as The little boy and the fox or Ben, Billyo and the new car. Or they can be stories which use metaphors for feelings, like courage and generosity, a little more removed from the child to work on a more unconscious level, like The Butterflies and The story of the princess, the sea horse and the stone.

Here then are some guidelines for writing a story yourself and some stories for examples. Many more short but specific healing stories and advice on writing them can be found in the books of Susan Perrow like Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour