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The therapeutic use of books

If your child is having a tough time… read her a therapeutic story

Stories have a way of telling certain things in a gentle way. This goes handy particularly with children who go through tough times, such as the parents getting a divorce or having a new baby in the family (YES, this counts as a “tough time” for some kids too).
This unprecedented pandemic and the measures that followed have affected nearly every parent in the world. I personally don’t know anybody who hasn’t complained of spinning way too many plates during these last couple of weeks or hasn’t worried about their health or their loved ones. It’s one of the reasons I absolutely love books and their therapeutic effect.

Let me introduce you to this concept. “Therapeutic story”.

I recently launched a crowdfunding campaign called “Stories can Heal” and it has been a real success. We managed to raise money so that we can publish healing stories for a variety of issues children frequently face AND illustrate two of them so we can donate 100 copies to the charity. It has been an amazing experience! And, in the light of everything that is happening in the world, it couldn’t have been a better time to talk about therapeutic stories.

“Books can be a good and non-threatening platform in which to discuss difficult subjects,” Wayne Fleisig, a clinical psychologist said, in an article for The Washington Post. Nonthreatening platform. What a powerful definition is this!

Children feel safe when they are introduced to a world, similar to theirs, where they get to be the heroes, the ones who eventually make it to the other side. So either they are becoming a big brother or sister or they have suddenly lost one of their parents – books that are relevant to that specific situation can work miracles.

There are multiple studies that outline the benefits of using storytelling as a tool in psychotherapy, and this is beneficial for children in particular. Their brains are just not mature enough to cope with certain challenges – sometimes, not even adults manage, if we are completely honest. A well-tailored story can guide children through understanding and accepting a certain difficulty in a much more meaningful way. It can even show them a possibility of healing, like a lighthouse helping them to navigate through the darkness.

It is for these reasons that I encourage you to find the right story for your particular situation. There are so many therapeutic books out there, but if you are worried about a very specific issue, I would bet a personalised book, like the ones we create in our workshop, would be amazing.

All in all, it’s comforting to know that you have an ally in books when you just can’t find the words to explain a given subject to your kids. Especially when you aren’t in the right mental space either.

Mum and daughter talking about lockdownI created this therapeutic story for parents to use during this COVID-19 pandemic to explain to their children why they are suddenly not allowed to visit their friends or go to school or do any other public activity they enjoyed.

I really, really hope you’ll enjoy it, just click the button from above and download the PDF version of the story.

It might just be the light in these dark times.


Love and joy,

Cristina Guraliuc storyteller

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