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Therapeutic Life Story Work – Richard Rose’s Model

For younger young people (10-12) or those with additional needs who find processing difficult, we are now able to offer this Therapeutic Life Story Work Model.  (This model may be also used with older young people if appropriate).


Therapeutic Life Story Work, using this model is an in-depth process, facilitated by a trained Therapeutic Life Story Worker, working with a young person and their primary caregiver(s) (eg adoptive parent/foster parent or kinship carer). The process aims to support a child who is ‘stuck’ in processing an often difficult and complex past, which has featured trauma for them.


Therapeutic Life Story Work is a nine-to-12-month process. Young people who this intervention may be suitable for are:


• A young person asking for more information about their birth/life story and questions about their birth family.
• Young people who are displaying behaviours linked to unresolved past traumas or the uncertainty they feel about their birth/life story eg difficult relationship with adoptive/foster/kinship parents, self-harm, aggression, low self-esteem or depression.


Therapeutic Life Story Work has three stages:


Stage 1 - Information Bank
This  is the gathering of information on the birth family, life story and current presentation of the child, developmental stage and how they are likely to engage in the therapeutic process.  Information can be gathered from social care/adoption team/school/home.  This would inform the practitioner of the child’s internal working model of relationships ie their attachment strategy.


Stage 2 - Internalisation

This stage firstly helps the practitioner understand what the child knows of their story, their wishes and feelings, and how they express them.  The second part of Internalisation, is the practitioner sharing the facts of the young person’s life story and helping the child integrate these with what they know and to give them a sense of a more integrated sense of self, helping them understand negative or untrue thoughts and have a more positive sense of self for the future.  Attachment work with the primary caregiver is a key part of this work.


Stage 3 – Life Story Book

A life story book of the work undertaken can be produced in order to give the child their record of what happened during the therapeutic work and the life story work book would be produced with the child to include what they wish or do not wish to be in it.


To read more about this model – please read a blog by Professor Richard Rose.

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