Unpack my Heart with Words explores how literature can be used to help young victims cope with their experiences. The process of reading, discussing and rewriting carefully selected texts can have a significant therapeutic impact, as the young person identifies his or her own experience in the narrative. This book guides readers through all aspects of implementing biblio/narrative therapy with children and adolescents, from the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding the psychological needs of the child to providing more practical information on how to choose the right text and encourage expression through the spoken and written word. It includes exercises for use in sessions, an analysis of the importance of symbol when working therapeutically with children, and a complete account of the ethics of good practice. Drawing on the author's innovative work with young asylum seekers and refugees, and with an overview of the latest research in creativity, language and memory, the book provides a comprehensive and practical resource on the use of literature to help young victims regain their dignity and overcome the overwhelmed hurt self.
This book will be of immeasurable value to students and practitioners world-wide in arts and health care who work with traumatised young people, including counsellors, clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, teachers, psychotherapists and social workers.
[This] book explores the ways in which the combined activities of thinking with others about written stories, exploring feelings, ideas and memories that emerge and then writing on the themes explored, can help young people to process both destructive and nourishing experiences... I hope that its publication will lead to others learning the skills to work in such an energetic, careful and creative way with young refugees and asylum seekers in various contexts. – from the foreword by Sheila Melzak, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Executive and Clinical Director of Baobab Centre
The stars of Unpack My Heart with Words are four survivors of war and abuse whose words thread through Marion Baraitser's narrative. Offering both theory and practice, she takes us on an insightful journey as she delicately encourages these traumatised young people to respond to selected literature through dialogue and writing. I have a better understanding now of the term 'therapeutic resilience' and huge admiration for the Baobab Centre, its community of young survivors and therapeutic workers. – Beverley Naidoo, author of The Other Side of Truth, Carnegie Medal 2000
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