Helping Children Cope Using Therapeutic Storytelling


Children's Books and Therapeutic Storytelling

Helping Children Smile Again

Childhood is supposed to be a time of fun, enjoyment and living through the early years of life without a care or concern, well that is what we would wish for our children but is not always the case.

Sadly for many children their early years will be marred from some external influence which is out of their control, like the break up of the family unit or the lack of one. Then there is bullying at school and living in poverty, which sadly is becoming alarmingly more frequent now than at any other time in recent years.
All of these factors which we as parents can control to a certain amount the influence they put on our children, some things we can not, especially when it comes to someone close dying.
We can not prevent the death but we can help the child affected by it to come to terms with their beareavment but where does one start to help the child in question.

This is what Author and Clinical Director at Helping Children Smile Again Amanda Seyderhelm excels at through her work as an Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills with Play Therapy UK.
Where she not only helps children through loss and bereavement, and cancer care, but also give talks and trains Practitioners, Social Workers, teaching staff and parents on this subject.
She has a particular interest in the role of therapeutic storytelling in play therapy which led her to writing her own book to assist young children through the bereavment process.

Isaac and the Red Jumper by Amanda Seyderhelm

Is a picture book for 5-12 years about child bereavement. To be read by a parent, counsellor, teacher to a bereaved child. It has full colour illustrations, and a list of questions at the back of the book to help children heal their grief process using creative activities. Isaac is heartbroken when his best friend Freddie dies. His house freezes, and his red jumper turns grey with grief. His friends try to console him but it's only after Isaac receives a special visit from Freddie that he understands love and friendship last forever, and are alive in spirit. Isaac and the Red Jumper will appeal to anyone who is bereaved, and is looking for a creative way to heal.
Amazon UK Isaac and the Red Jumper

Amanda explains how therapeutic storytelling helps a bereaved child in her Guest blog Therapeutic storytelling in early years bereavement from Sue Ryder charity.
quoted from her guest blog
Have you noticed how a child reacts if you ask them directly, ‘How do you feel about Granny dying?’ Most likely they will look away from you, change the subject, or just shrug and say, ‘Don’t know’. These are typical reactions from children whose cognitive capacity has not yet developed to the stage where they can understand and verbally articulate their feelings, like adults.

The risk, therefore, is that children will feel isolated and lost in their grief if no-one is speaking in their language. Children’s natural language is play, and they relate more directly to metaphor, which is why we need to consider introducing a different approach to childhood loss and bereavement, if children are to feel heard in their grief.

Therapeutic storytelling is one such approach, which uses metaphor to help bring about healing change in traumatic circumstances such as loss and bereavement. Therapeutic stories create sufficient coherence to facilitate talk about felt confusion or misunderstanding. (Gersie: 1997).


Apart From Children's Book, How Else To Help A Child?

Some of the advice that Amanda has to share is that we should read Therapeutic Stories to them because children will relate to their feelings through the story’s metaphor.

That we should learn how to play their games with them, allowing them to take the lead, she says we should listen and not judge or interpret what they are doing, this way we may learn more about them and they will hear you.

Also by creating a memory box and filling it with photographs, letters, poems, and treasures will help the child learn memories don't die but they live on in us and in our hearts.

For more advice you should check out Amanda's guest post How To Help A Bereaved Child Through Christmas from Lisa Cherry's website.

Amanda Seyderhelm Amanda a trained and Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills with Play Therapy UK. She works with children and parents in the East Midlands region within Schools, Childrens' Centres & Hospitals offering them one-to-one and group sessions.
You can find out more about Amanda via:

Visit Amanda's Website Helping Children Smile Again
Linkedin Amanda Seyderhelm
Facebook fan page for Isaac And The Red Jumper
Amanda's Twitter Profile
Amanda's Isaac And The Red Jumper Blogspot

This article was written by Gary Jones at ReadersGazette.Com after talking to Amanda via email and highlights the important work Amanda does and where to find more information about her. Amanda did not write it and any mistakes should be pointed out to Gary, so that he can rectify them. Gary Jones


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