Life Story Works


The following guide gives visual instructions on how to create a Life Story Book from scratch. Click on the the chapters in green (to the left) and construct your book in bite size chunks.  

Structure the book so that it starts in the present, goes back to the past and ends in the present.  The sections covering the present will give factual and self esteem inducing information about the child’s life with you.  The past will be more challenging to the child’s internal world and to their equilibrium which is why it needs surrounding in the visual form of the book by the present life situation.

Using your child’s name in the story telling, can make it easier for the child to engage with the book; rather than the more intimate and provoking ‘You’ or ‘I’.  This also gives it the important quality of a story.  Think of how the stories we tell ourselves about our own lives can be so crucial in creating positive feelings about ourselves.

There are likely to be gaps in your child’s history. One of the points of doing a life story book is to fill those gaps your child feels inside.

Please do what feels right and use the Internet to find images of places or maps; ‘Google Maps’ allows you to get real photos of the actual streets, hospitals or significant places people were born or lived. Our website list should be useful for finding out more information and for tips on how to pad out information where it is lacking.  Try to get your Child’s Permanency Report (CPR - formerly known as the form E) for the middle section. Difficult Stories will help approach such questions as ‘Why was I adopted?’ or ‘Why couldn’t my birth parents look after me?’. These are questions we feel need to be tackled honestly and in a child sensitive way.

We believe the life story book offers the chance to fill gaps in a child’s past - and when this is not possible - for feelings about these gaps to be explored safely with you.   


LIFE STORY DIY EXAMPLELIFE_STORY_BOOK_files/James%20example%20guide%20for%20a%20life%20story%20book.pdf




PREPARATION: Before working on life story work with your child, try to play a calming game.  Engage your child's senses (through using sand, water or clay). This can be a powerful medium through which to then look at life story issues.  A typical life story session with a child will last twenty minutes (unless they express a clear need or wish to carry on). See Mary Corrigan and Joan Moore's latest book.

    Natalie suggests getting some dry kidney beans and putting them into a container.    Ask the child to close their eyes and to feel small objects (bouncy ball spinning top, key ring) and guess what they are.  Children have sometimes like being timed doing this to see how they improve.
   Use small figurines of animals or people and asked the child to place them in a sand tray and describe their family as represented by the objects. 
    For more ideas about , buy


BOOK EXAMPLELIFE_STORY_BOOK_files/Stella%20LSB%20aged7.pdf

If you would like to make a comment, suggestion, or share a resource our email is