1st Edition

Unravelling Trauma and Weaving Resilience with Systemic and Narrative Therapy Playful Collaborations with Children, Families and Networks

By Sabine Vermeire Copyright 2023
    256 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Unravelling Trauma and Weaving Resilience with Systemic and Narrative Therapy is an innovative book that details how clinicians can engage children, families and their networks in creative and collaborative relationships to elicit change within the context of trauma and violence.

    Combining systemic, narrative and dialogical theoretical frameworks with clinical examples, this volume focuses on therapeutic conversations that can help children, and those involved with them, deconstruct their experienced difficulties, and create more hopeful stories and alternative ways of relating to one another through a sense of play. Vermeire advocates for serious playfulness as a way of directly addressing trauma and its effects, as well as along ‘trauma-sensitive’ side paths. Puppetry, artwork, interviews and theatre play are used to weave networks of resilience in ever-widening circles and this approach is informed by the awareness that individual problems are always to be seen as relational, social and political.

    This book is an important read for therapists and social workers who work with traumatised children and their multi-stressed families.

    Introduction  1. Dis-covering a web of complexities  2. A collaborative therapeutic journey  3. First meetings  4. The tentacles of trauma and adversity  5. Performing new relational narratives  6. Injured relationships and 'broken homes'  7. Engaging with parents, carers and professionals  8. Laying down a path in walking 


    Sabine Vermeire is a systemic and narrative psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer. She works at Interactie-Academie, Antwerp, Belgium.

    'We love the inspirational and hopeful stories that Sabine Vermeire shares in this book! She opens the door to her therapy room to offer illustrations of a variety of creative ways to accompany children and their carers in facing extremely challenging circumstances. It is clear that Sabine draws these stories from years of hard-won experience. She never pathologizes or loses hope, and oftentimes she finds ways to bring humor and play to heartbreaking situations. The ways of working she offers are never simplistic, and they take the wider context of marginalized lives into account. For us, the heart of the book is the attitude she conveys toward the children, parents, and carers she works with. If all therapy could be practiced with her attitude, we are sure that both the lives we touch and our own would be better for it.'

    Jill Freedman (MSW) and Gene Combs (MD), authors of Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities

    'This is a beautiful book by an exceptional family therapist who works with children who lived their lives within stories of trauma, violence and neglect. Sabine’s therapeutic focus is on ways to find connection and on setting out on journeys of discovery and healing. There always is a group of friends, family and other supporters who root for the child on their long expedition. Sabine wonders with them whether princesses ever go to the bathroom, she wants to learn everything there is to know about dinosaurs, she is concerned about poisonous question marks, and she has no doubt that white rabbits can write beautiful letters. Playfulness definitely can help a family therapist to do a better job!'

    Professor Peter Rober, PhD, clinical psychologist, family therapist and family therapy trainer at Context-Center for marital and family therapy (UPC KU Leuven)

    'This elegant book brings rich ideas from family therapy, narrative practice and playful approaches of working with children. Sabine has brilliantly weaved in her skillful and highly nuanced work with children with such clarity and sparkle. She has brought in multiverses of complexities that children’s lives can get sucked into in the face of trauma and adversity. And yet, at the same time, thrown light on how we can position ourselves through playful curiosity to "do hope" and steps we can take to respect children’s voices and lived experiences, invite agency and practice solidarity. This delightful book will be my companion for life, and I would highly recommend it to all practitioners who work with children, families and their networks.'

    Shelja Sen, Narrative Therapist, Writer, Co-Founder Children First, India