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Storytelling is explained as a developmentally sensitive tool to elicit children’s thoughts, identify their distortions, and help to facilitate grasping a more accurate understanding of their inner word. It is recognized as one of the central methods of communication between children and their world. Storytelling can be a powerful tool in therapy, particularly for children who struggle with verbally articulating their emotions and experiences. More specifically, empirical evidence suggests that “one can enter the children’s world using storytelling and direct them toward suitable therapy goals and facilitate their growth and motivations.” Storytelling can be a versatile and effective therapeutic technique for children that offers an array of benefits, some of which include the following, provided by the National Center for School Mental Health:

  • Improves communication skills and emotional intelligence: Storytelling, for example, can encourage children to practice active listening skills, as they listen to the story being told and engage in discussions with their therapist. It can also be used to address taboo topics that children may feel uncomfortable discussing directly (e.g., trauma, grief, difficult family situations, etc.). By using stories to approach these topics indirectly, therapists can help children process their emotions in a way that feels safe and manageable. 
  • Nurtures creativity: Through encouraging children to create their own stories or adapt existing stories, therapists can help them develop their imagination and self-expression skills, which can also increase their sense of confidence and boost self-esteem.
  • Bolsters coping skills: Storytelling can be used to foster coping skills in children. By sharing stories about characters who have faced difficult situations and overcome them, children can learn about different coping strategies and apply them to their own lives, which also strengthens their resilience. 
  • Improves literacy, language acquisition and builds vocabulary: Storytelling supports language development by encouraging children to decipher meaning as they listen to and engage with stories. This can be especially beneficial for children who may struggle with language or communication difficulties. It empowers children to practice their language skills, build upon their expanding vocabulary, and refine their speech sounds through listening to stories.
  • Builds Empathy: Through sharing stories about characters with different backgrounds and experiences, children can develop a greater understanding of others and the world around them. This can help them develop more positive attitudes towards diversity and enhanced social skills.

Research confirms that children are hardwired to make sense of the world through stories. Through storytelling, therapists can help children explore their emotions and experiences in an emotionally safe environment, develop coping skills, build empathy, and encourage creativity, all of which supports adolescent emotional and cognitive growth and development. 

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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