Narrative and Dramatic Approaches to Children’s Life Story with Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Families: Using the ‘Theatre of Attachment’ Model, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Narrative and Dramatic Approaches to Children’s Life Story with Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Families

Using the ‘Theatre of Attachment’ Model, 1st Edition

By Joan Moore


192 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367256814
pub: 2019-12-20
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Narrative and Dramatic Approaches to Children’s Life Story with Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Families outlines narrative and dramatic approaches to improve vulnerable family relationships. It provides a model which offers new ways for parents to practise communicating with their children and develop positive relationships.

The book focuses on the ‘Theatre of Attachment’ model - a highly innovative approach which draws from a strong theoretical base to demonstrate the importance of narrative and dramatic play for sharing the children’s life history in the family home with their adoptive, foster or kinship parents. An emphasis is on having fun ways to work through complex feelings and divided loyalties, so as to secure attachment. This practice model aims to raise children’s self-esteem and communication skills and to combat the profound effects of abuse, neglect on trauma on children’s development.

This book will be of great interest for academics, post-graduate students, Universities and Training bodies, Service providers and Practitioners involved in social work and creative therapies, Child Psychologists, Child Psychotherapists and Public and private adoption and foster care agencies


'This is a significant book. It is significant because it acknowledges that therapeutic work with adopted and looked after children does not always align with psychoanalytic approaches to therapy that are often verbal, require complete privacy for the client, who is seen on their own, in a therapy room in a clinic. Those of us who have worked in this field have argued for a number of years that younger children especially, need their adoptive or foster parents to be fully involved in the therapeutic process. We are also reminded that a child's primary language is first and foremost play based and needs to take place where and with whom they feel safest. Joan Moore balances wonderful, clear, case examples with solid theoretical reasoning that allows her 'The Theatre of Attachment ' approach to come to life. This is an important book for practitioners in the field and others who need to give clear and coherent therapeutic responses to traumatised children in the care system. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.' - Clive Holmwood, Dramatherapist and Associate Professor (from mid Oct 2019), Department of Therapeutic Arts, University of Derby

Table of Contents



Theatre of Attachment

Who can use this model?

Chapter synopsis


Chapter 1: Theatre


Historical influences

Transformation – Example: Carys and Lizzie

Practice for life

Authenticity – Example: Louis

Role of Audience – Example: Pritti

Unblocking – Example: Alissa

Containment – Example: Rowan

Resistance – Example: Nicky

Processes of change


Chapter 2: Safety


Children’s need of nurture and play

Safety in Ritual

The Setting for Therapy

Parents’ role as ‘witness’

Play Space as Boundary

A Transitional space

Safe touch

Sensory play

Physical Play

Baby doll Play: Example - Shana and Melody; Louis


Chapter 3: Role


Applications of role

Preparing for role

Role of facilitator

Role modelling engagement

Role pairings

The Enabler role

Provider of Structure

Role-modelling engagement - Example: Alice; Louis

Child’s role as ‘expert’ - Example: Shana and Melody

Child’s role as ‘healer’

Repairer of relationships – Example: Luke

Role exchange

Role of scaffolder – Example: Carys

Role of collaborator – Example: Mark and Sharron; Lucy, Rowan

Role of educator – Examples: Luke, Alice, Robbie; Shana & Melody, Pritti


Chapter 4: Story


Historical use of stories

Hero stories

Fairy tales

Therapeutic stories

Life stories

Building identity

How stories enable brain development

Problem solving narratives

Reciprocal storytelling

Story Structures

The "Storying Spiral"

The Five stages of the Storying Spiral: Example: Kirsten and Emma


Chapter 5: Attachment, Trauma and Play






Chapter 6: The Life Story



Developing a coherent narrative

Writing the life story

Delivering the life story

Children’s reactions to difficult truths


Chapter 7: Finding a Balance



Case examples

Specific Problems

Case examples addressing specific problems


Chapter 8: Conclusions


Key Findings

The Practitioner

Last words



1. Pre-Therapy Questionnaire

2. Protocol

3. Techniques for life story, dramatic play, sensory play

4. Post Therapy Questionnaire

5. Sample Life story

About the Author

Joan Moore is a freelance and published Dramatherapist, Play Therapist and supervisor and Independent Social Worker, England, UK.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Adoption & Fostering
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Parenting / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Child & Adolescent
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health