Routledge International Handbook of Therapeutic Stories and Storytelling  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge International Handbook of Therapeutic Stories and Storytelling

ISBN 9780367633707
Published February 15, 2022 by Routledge
450 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge International Handbook of Therapeutic Stories and Storytelling is a unique book that explores stories from an educational, community, social, health, therapeutic and therapy perspectives, acknowledging a range of diverse social and cultural views in which stories are used and written by esteemed storytellers, artists, therapists and academics from around the globe.

The book is divided into five main sections that examine different approaches and contexts for therapeutic stories and storytelling. The collected authors explore storytelling as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in education, social and community settings, and in health and therapeutic contexts. The final section offers an International Story Anthology written by co-editor Sharon Jacksties and a final story by Katja Gorečan.

This book is of enormous importance to psychotherapists and related mental health professionals, as well as academics, storytellers, teachers, people working in special educational needs, and all those with an interest in storytelling and its applied value.

Table of Contents


Paul Animbom Ngong


Clive Holmwood

Part 1 Covid 19 A storied Response

Introduction to Part 1

1 Making a Story out of a Crisis – A Response to Covid-19

A Dramatic Perspective

Clive Holmwood

2 The stories of Siddhartha and Captain Tom: A thousand lifetimes apart but connecting us together

Drew Bird

3 Doorways to the Deathlands – The Imaginal Seeing of Story.

Mary Smail

4 Storytelling for Disability in Covid-19

Aurora Piaggesi, Giulia Bini, Silvia Carpi, Barbara Parrini and Stefania Bargagna

5 Don't let corona become our only story

Arjen Barel

Part 2 Stories & Therapeutic Texts

Introduction to Part 2

6 Through the Fairy Door ………. to the Land of Stories

A journey through your imagination

Sue Jennings

7 Through the Looking glass: six pitfalls in story-work

Alida Gersie

8 Structuring The Therapist’s Role: An Exploration Of Sophocles’ Play King Oedipus

Marina Jenkyns

9 Oral Storytelling isn't Dead, it's Just Gone to Slip into Something More Comfortable

Steve Stickley

10 Shakespeare Un-Barr’d

Rowan Mckenzie

11 Healing through the Mahabharata

Kavita Arora and Raghu Ananthanarayanan

12 I’m going on a Bear Hunt’, Neuro-dramatic Play, Multi-Sensory Informed, Storytelling Approaches to Working with Children Under Five.

Clive Holmwood

13 Myth – Drama- Narrative- Performance

Stelios Krasanakis

14 Creativity and Power in Sicilian Spirit:

The Stories of Giufa, The Wise and The Fool.

Salvo Pitruzzella

Part 3 Stories & Therapeutic Texts in Educational, Social and Community Contexts

Introduction to Part 3

15 The Use of Storytelling as a Pedagogic Tool in the English Language Classroom

Sarah Telfer

16 Callers and Hearers: Song, Orality, Orature and Aurality in African theatre performance

Vincent Meyburgh, Ntombi Mkhasibe and Joce Engelbrecht

17 Beyond the Happy Ever Afters’ - The use of story in Community Theatre

Richard Vergette

18 A Cypriot story

Seniha Naşit Gürçağ

19 A Personal Journey to ‘The Clever Mountain Girl’

Lenka Fisherová, Ilona Labuťová

20 Changing the world through stories of change

The work of Openstorytellers 2004-2019

Nicola Grove

21 From Isolation to Integration and Advocacy: Healing and Empowerment through Storytelling

Lani Peterson

22 Seeking a common ground – Storywork and Social Healing

Inger Lise Oelrich

23 Janare’ and ‘caporabballi’: The magic and splendour of Irpinia through stories of witches, dance leaders and sacred pigs.

Josephine F Discepolo Ahmadi

24 Adapting the Oral Tale for the Moral Transformation of the Developing Child and Youths Adapting Yomandene and the Stubborn Son from Tale to Play

Victor Jong Taku

Part 4 - Stories & Therapeutic Texts in Health and Therapy Contexts

Introduction to Part 4

25 The Body Politic - An account of a therapeutic storytelling practice with torture survivors

Sharon Jacksties

26 I believe in Unicorns …

Silviana Bonadei

27 Clay Stories, Crafting Spirit and Soul

Lynne Souter-Anderson

28 Metamyth’© Therapy through the Arts in Museums - A Personal Journey Through Story

Thalia Valeta

29 Stories in crisis and Traumatic situations

Mooli Lahad

30 The Laying on of Ears

Mary Louise Chown

31 Storytelling and Play - How storytelling and play can be used therapeutically with people with a learning disability.

Jem Dick

32 A Trans-cultural perspective on life story therapy with adoptive foster and kinship families, using the "Theatre of Attachment" model

Joan Moore

33 Fostering Storytellers: Helping Foster Carers to build attachments and enhance emotional literacy through stories and oral storytelling.

Steve Killick

34 The power of storytelling for people living with dementia

Alice Liddell Allen

35 Exploring the dynamics of story in dementia research: Storytelling constructs that support people with dementia to share their experiences of what it means to live with dementia

Alison Ward

36 Zen Stories To Inspire Imagination In A Client With Vascular Dementia

Ravindra Ranasinha

Part 5 - Stories

37 An International Story Anthology

Sharon Jacksties

38 Everything That We Can Remember

How to create a safe environment through a poetic story.

An Introduction to Forest of Lost Memories

Alenka Vidrih

The Forest Of Lost Memories

Katja Gorečan



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 Clive Holmwood is a Dramatherapist with 25 years’ experience, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Therapeutic Arts at the University of Derby, where he lectures and researches in Dramatherapy and in the areas of play and Creative Arts Health and Wellbeing. He has written extensively on Dramatherapy, Play and Education, his most recent work being the co-edited Routledge International Handbook of Play, Therapeutic Play and Play Therapy with Sue Jennings in 2021.

Sue Jennings is Professor of Play, a lifetime award from the European Federation of Dramatherapy, and Distinguished Scholar at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has pioneered Dramatherapy and Neuro-Dramatic-Play for many years both in the UK and overseas and has written over 50 books on Group Work, Trauma and Play and Dramatherapy.

Sharon Jacksties is a qualified Dramatherapist and psychiatric nurse with a career as a mental health practitioner in hospitals and social services settings. A professional storyteller for 30 years, her practice includes performance, applied and community storytelling. She is FEST's (Federation of European Storytelling Organisations) first ambassador to the UK, has a teaching practice here and abroad, and has written 3 collections of traditional stories published by The History Press.


"The Routledge International Handbook of Therapeutic Stories and Storytelling illustrates the potential of stories to heal and transform, having helped humans for thousands of years to make meaning, endure difficulty and face the unknown. Stretching across countries and cultures, valued storytellers, therapists, artists and academics get together to document the power of stories. The book comprises of compelling accounts tracing stories’ development in history, their impact on human brain and emotionality and their diverse use in various clinical, health, educational and social contexts around the globe. It also addresses the challenges and the opportunities humankind is facing now, looking at how stories can support and shape our collective response to Covid 19." - Elena Boukouvala, Dramatherapist, Psychologist, Performance Activist, Founder of Play Perform Learn Grow (PPLG) Conference, Dramatherapy Faculty Epineio Institute (Greece), Faculty East Side Institute (USA) and PhD Sociology Researcher Open University (UK).

"This guidebook is invaluable for therapeutic workers everywhere. Crammed with creative courage, it provides a treasure map to rugged byways of inspirational empathy and dynamic healing wisdom." - Nancy Mellon taught storytelling as a healing art worldwide for many years. Her books are translated into several languages. See 

"This collection of international voices weave together anthropology, ethnography, personal and cultural histories, traditional stories, neuroscience and clinical theory and practice. They speak the language of story, creating a narrative of the therapeutic use of story from varied perspective, as if from a cast of favourite and new characters ranging from the academic to the clinician to the storyteller. The handbook is an invaluable resource for experienced therapists, students and anyone interested in the field." - Roulla Demetriou is a dramatherapist, supervisor and a Lecturer on the MA Dramatherapy at Anglia Ruskin University. Former editor of BADth’s Journal, Dramatherapy.