Storymaking and Creative Groupwork with Older People
Release Date:01 Dec 1997

Storymaking and Creative Groupwork with Older People

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Paula Crimmens shows that working with older people can be made exciting and stimulating by using storymaking as a basis. Echoing the oral tradition of mankind, the book shows how to use a variety of traditional stories - including myths, folk tales and fairy stories - to work creatively with older people, particularly in groups. The book focuses around themes of empowerment and consolation, and includes groups of stories which can be used as a basis for discussion.

Adopting a holistic and person-centred approach, which incorporates emotional and social needs, the author shows how the use of creative storymaking can:

provide an experience of community for people who may be very isolated

raise self-esteem

provide contact and communication

sustain the attention of members of the group longer than would be possible in one-to-one work

provide entertainment and reduce boredom.

RELATED TOPICS: Family & Childhood Studies
Now, through this eminently practical book, people working with those who live with dementia have a key resoure to turn to …I have found it to be extremely effective in my own work with people living with dementia. This book is an imaginative and creative resource which I hope will become widely used in dementia care.

– The Journal of Dementia Care

`Crimmens's detailed guidelines provide directions useful for all professionals working with aging clients. Her book is a continuation of earlier innovative techniques (sensory training, reality orientation, remotivation therapy, etc) in group work with the elderly, to which this model is an inspiring, most welcome addition.'

– Readings: A journal of reviews and commentary in mental health

I have tested out the way of working with Older People proposed in this book and must admit that it has proved to be most successful. It was surprising the responses and the inter-active communication experienced. In fact, it promoted more group discussion than has been experienced in remininence therapy. The author has a person-centred approach which appears to work and for me clearly identified an improvement in communication. Paula Crimmens has successfully tuned into the social backgrounds of older people and their values and standards.

– Rostrum

The book's main strength lies in the powerful way in which the author draws the reader into the real-life experiences of working with people with dementia. The stories are vividly illustrated with vignettes of characters in her groups. She describes the pit-falls and joys of this work with a gentle humour, while acknowledging the needs of the client, carers and relatives, and of the institutional cultures in residential home or day centre. This largely anecdotal book gives some eminently sensible advice and practical tips which should be a great help to many therapists working in this area.

– Therapy Weekly

Written as a resource, the book gives ideas to make groupwork with older people enjoyable and entertaining, while the selection of stories deals with the unique issues that confront the older population.truly a worthwhile resource for the nondrama therapist. The book's value lies in its provision of provocative universal stories focusing on significant themes encountered by the elderly. Its practical application is major strength. The overall clarity and organization in presenting abundant techniques and strategies contributes to its promise of continued usefulness for all creative arts therapists working with older adults.

– The Arts in Psychotherapy

This is an inspiring book which should b eused by all those interested in working with the elderly in an innovative and creative manner.

– Speech and Drama

This is a practical and useful book. It provides clear explanations of the rationale behind the chosen ways of working. It describes working in groups, the use of story, and how to involve people in the enactment of the tales. It includes a range of stories, and explains how these have been used in specific circumstances and with what effects. The writer conveys a sense of pleasure and purpose in working with this age group, which offers encouragement, inspiration and practical guidelines for other therapists faced with the inevvitable challengese. The book relates to practice consistently and well. It contains ideas for working with groups, and outlines the development of sessions. It conveys an interest in, and care for, the client group. It also contains ideas which could be adapted and used with other groups and which could be adapted and used in a variety of different ways by different creative therapists.

– Dramatherapy

The author provides many practical ideas for group activities based on the stories.
Introduction. 1 Why Groups? Aims in organising a group. Contact and connection. The group as opportunity for sharing and community. Enjoyment. Self esteem. Reducing boredom and increasing interest. Maintaining and extending people's physical and mental abilities. Activities as an opportunity to use the person-centred approach. 2 The Story Session. Assistance in running the group. The make-up of a group. The format of a session. 3 Stories that Contain a Central Elderly Figure. Yaaba. Babka and the Golden Bird. Granny Evergreen. The old Woman and the Tree Children. The Three Blue Hats. The Pedlar of Swaffham. The Three Dancing Princesses. 4 The Theme of Loss in the Lives of Elderly People. Demeter and Persephone. Coyote and Eagle. The Crescent Moon Bear. 5 Loss of Home and Possessions. The Water of Life. Maple Leaf Devil. The Bird of Happiness. The Widow and the Honey Pots. The Shining Fish. How the Villagers found Wisdom. 6 The Theme of Marriage and the Joy of Union. Savitri and Satyavan. Gawain and Lady Ragnell. The Blue Flower of Beechy Hill. The Black Bull of Norway. Tam Lin. The Frog Princess. The Boa and the Mango Tree. Epilogue.
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