Helping us heal; how creative life story work supports individuals and organisations to recover from trauma

Booth, Rebecca (2022) Helping us heal; how creative life story work supports individuals and organisations to recover from trauma. Journal of Social Work Practice . ISSN 0265-0533

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Abstract

This article discusses the implementation of a new creative life story work project within a statutory children’s services department of a UK Local Authority. The project looks to strengthen the use of life story work within statutory children’s social work teams, involving the introduction of a model developed by Professor Richard Rose. Staff training is provided, and creative life story groups with care experienced young people are led jointly by professional artists and children’s social care staff. As a social worker, I support the implementation of the project and offer any additional therapeutic support children attending the groups might need, including more in-depth individual therapeutic life story work. I explore here the dynamic nature of life story work in children’s social work, including a critical analysis of the use of self, and consider theoretical application and wider critiques of the model. I discuss some of the (often contested) literature in relation to trauma, before employing a psychosocial approach that draws on systemic and psychoanalytic theory in order to understand how creative life story work supports individuals and organisations in recovery from trauma and provides the potential to invite bigger questions in relation to how to reignite creativity and social pedagogy in social work practice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Clare Winnicott Award 2021 Winning Essay
Uncontrolled Keywords: Organisational Trauma, Social Work, Life Story Work, Trauma, Looked After Children
Subjects: Groups & Organisations > Group Processes/Group Dynamics
Groups & Organisations > Groups/Institutions/Organisations
Human Psychological Processes > Stress
Social Welfare > Social Work
Department/People: Research Students
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2590

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