Mary Medlicott, author of Storytelling and Story-Reading in Early Years, is a professional storyteller, storytelling trainer and storytelling workshop leader with over 30 years’ experience. Here she has written a topical piece for National Share-a-Story Month.
Here’s a story I once heard from a woman who’d been evacuated to somewhere in the country during the Second World War. Just a young girl at the time, she’d asked her evacuee-mother for a bed-time story. ‘A bed-time story?’ the woman mockingly replied. ‘I’ll tell you a bed-time story. It’s the story of The Three Wells. “Well, well, well!”’
What a horrible story! And very much NOT in the spirit of story-sharing. For as Grace Hallworth, a much-loved pioneer of the Storytelling Revival here in the UK has said, the telling of stories is ‘a shared activity, a communal act’. It can happen after a funeral or at a party or in your local pub. For what’s more fun than hearing all over again the tales about local people that by now have turned into legends? Just as enjoyably, it can be organised to happen in schools. For what’s more surprising than hearing twelve-year olds retelling stories about their area that none of their teachers previously knew because none of those teachers live in the area? Even those gruesome Mad Axeman stories so beloved by that age-group have their own kind of fascination.
Or stories can be shared more intimately, parent-to-child, child-to-parent, sitting on the sofa or in the family car. Towards the end of one parents’ storytelling course I was running, a young mother told me how grateful she was that she’d been attending. Till recently, evidently, her husband had never talked about his past either to her or the children. But now – and it felt so unexpected! – he’d begun telling them things. And his wife felt sure this welcome change had come about because, each week, she’d been going home and retelling the stories she’d heard on the course. Folktales, family stories, local legends, stories from other cultures: our course included them all. I believe in the power they all have.
But, alas, stories not shared can easily be lost. I once met a story-collector who Continue reading
Sarah Parry is a senior lecturer in Clinical and Counselling Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her new book, ‘Effective Self-Care in Clinical Practice,’ explores how compassion can enable clinical practitioners to foster hope and resilience for themselves and their clients. We talked to Sarah about her motivations behind the book and why it’s so important for healthcare practitioners to learn how to effectively self-care.
Effective Self-Care and Resilience in Clinical Practice is a collection of essays from different practitioners, that explore the need for compassion in therapeutic work. Where did the idea for the book originate from?
Developing a personal compassionate framework for self-care has been an on-going endeavour of mine for some years. When I started working in healthcare settings that could, at times, present multiple challenges to my own well-being, I became increasingly curious as to how to overcome these emotional hurdles. I am also a great believer in the power of stories, both in terms of helping us see through the eyes of another, as well as giving us a mirror to hold up to our own experiences, helping us develop a deeper knowledge of ourselves. My motivation for this book came from my own experiences of struggling with competing demands and a realisation that working harder and harder isn’t always the answer. I wanted to understand more about how people developed effective self-care strategies based on compassionate teachings and practices, to enhance their own well-being, resilience and ability to maintain a hopeful outlook. Consequently, I started talking to colleagues who I knew managed their self-care well, as well as people I didn’t know at all at that stage but whose writings inspired me and encouraged me to think about how well I was looking after myself.
We talked to Julia Hague about why her new book Being Me (and Loving It) is such a valuable resource for building self-esteem in kids. She discusses the common self-esteem and body image issues affecting children today, and provides advice on how to support them. Co-written by Naomi Richards (the UK’s number 1 kids coach), Being Me (and Loving It) includes 29 activity-based lesson plans designed for teachers, youth workers, educators and parents supporting children aged 5-11. Continue reading