My son has been participating in therapeutic storytelling for 2 years and I can’t believe what a huge difference it has made to his outlook on life and hence my wellbeing.
Scott had a huge chip on his shoulder which gave him a “poor me” view on the world where he thought everything was going against him and he deserved better for doing nothing. This manifested into poor behaviour, ill discipline at school and a very disruptive household. As a single parent this could be very tiring and stressful.
TSI has completely changed his outlook on life and significantly reduced the home stress levels. More importantly it is a long term solution which gives Scott skills to help him right through life.
The storytelling style is a non judgmental way of allowing the child to immerse themselves in the situation and be part of the story, allowing them to see how their behaviour affects others around them
I absolutely recommend using this technique to help your child navigate the difficult world that we now live in and for your own peace of mind.
(School Guidance Counsellor)
Ron has been presenting the TSI programme to selected students at Papatoetoe High School over the last two years. These students have had significant difficulties in their own personal life journeys. I have had the privilege of participating along with the kids when Ron tells the Gem story. The story is engaging and provides the students with plenty of scope to think and reflect on options the main character chooses, or potentially could take. They can also share with the group how they might behave in similar circumstances.
Mostly the selected students are in the 13 to 16 year age group as the story is an allegory suited to any age group. I believe that TSI is particularly beneficial for young people who are less forthcoming about their problems and would otherwise miss the opportunity for counselling. It is a gentle therapeutic approach whereby they can participate when they choose without any pressure. As School Guidance Counsellor I highly recommend this programme.
I have worked with children and young people in mental health for the last 4 years. During that time I have had the privilege of being involved in TSI groups both with young people and their families. TSI invites the young person into the story to learn about themselves, in a way which is not confrontational, yet promotes empowering experiences of personal development. I have seen ongoing and permanent changes in the lives of kids that have experienced TSI, in the way they view themselves, their world, and the people around them. I would recommend the use of TSI in any kind of institution, whether that is a health service, a school or perhaps your own family. TSI is not only for kids. It also changes the people who facilitate the group, because you cannot approach a journey such as TSI and be inauthentic in the way that you respond to the issues raised in those groups. TSI not only invites you to become part of an exciting journey, but to face head on the challenges in your own life, whilst gently planting powerful seeds of change.
Dr Sarah Fortune
Clinical Psychologist/Post Doctoral Fellow
The New Zealand Health Innovation Awards,
I am writing in support of the application for the New Zealand Health Innovation Awards of Therapeutic Storytelling Intervention.
Between 1998 – 2002 I collected data with my colleagues at Campbell Lodge about the attendance of clients at TSI groups. We learnt a great deal about the rates of attendance and completion of TSI groups among those young people referred to the groups and about the key points at which engagement with TSI was most critical.
In 2002 we decided that needed a more sophisticated approach to data collection, in order that we could understand more fully how TSI successfully engages young people who are experiencing multiple life problems and mental illness. The data we had been collecting since 1998 appeared to have established a stable trend, and since that time we have developed a comprehensive research proposal for a randomised control trial of TSI and have been seeking financial support to conduct such a study.
I happy to provide any further information you would find helpful in considering this innovative health intervention.
Michael Rimm MD, FRANZCP
Therapeutic Story Telling Intervention was first brought to my attention when I met Ron Phillips in 1996. So simple, so complex, so powerful yet so light, so developmentally logical, yet so absurd. So right for our work. TSI became rapidly integrated into our treatments and soon became the intervention that was able to reach the largest number of young people in distress.
Ron knew that TSI was effective for most populations, but was eager to introduce it to the Child Adolescent Mental Health Services of South Auckland Health in New Zealand. Ron was aware of our struggles to develop innovative ways to reach the multi-cultural, under-resourced population of over 100,00 young people. He also knew of our struggles to develop services for a population with one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the developed world, with its complexity of contextual problems.
These mental health and community problems were far from being adequately accessed by the present mental health services. At the time, we had a very small staff, and were essentially the only service that would accept urgent/crisis referrals for treatment. Our primary modalities of treatment involved psychiatric assessment and crisis management, along with intensive structural/systemic family therapies. We just couldn’t keep up with our referrals and were unable to provide consistent treatment for the at risk population.
TSI made a huge impact. The ease with which the trance-like technique engaged resistant young people in the developmentally appropriate group setting was dramatic. Changes in young, withdrawn, at risk young people were rapid. As TSI quickly engaged the adolescent into a safe and hopeful therapeutic vehicle, we were able to progress much more rapidly with family therapy. Perhaps more significantly, TSI group therapy, with remarkable attendance rates, enabled us to treat many more young people at any given time.
The results are spectacular. Young people are getting back on track. Preliminary outcome data, not yet published, shows quite dramatic improvements in several areas of functioning. TSI has become a staple in our treatment of young people in South Auckland. TSI is an essential component of our work, which we continue to present to international audiences. TSI should be included in any mental health clinic able to work with adolescents in a group setting.
I am a qualified social worker with 15 years experience having worked in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and presently in New Zealand. T.S.I. has impressed me on all levels in the way it engages the young person to reflect whilst at the same time going on this amazing journey of self discovery. I am very impressed and hope to one day facilitate the roll out of T.S.I. in South Africa. I have observed remarkable change in young people as the insight dawns upon them through this amazing story in which the protagonist very much reflects their day to day thoughts and behaviour. I strongly believe that T.S.I as a therapeutic tool has an amazing impact on the young person not just in their immediate future but their life journey as well.
A Letter From Prison
G E Ladbrook Totara Unit
P0 Box 45
Greetings! Not sure if you remember me or not, but I attended your course in the Assessment Block at Paremaremo Prison about 1995. I was the dude with the big beard. I am now incarcerated at Totara Unit, Rolleston Prison, outside Christchurch, on the same lag I might add. I transferred down here from Pari in 1996 to be closer to my kids.
While watching 60 Minutes this evening you popped up on my television screen. It was so good seeing you again, and hearing of the good work you’re doing with those young people. Another inmate watched it with me so I ended up raving about you and your Journey through the programme. Your Journey was the best course I have attended during the last eight years, by a long shot. It’s a huge pity that Corrections decided to drastically cut the prison education budget and drop productive courses like yours.
Anyway Ron, the main reason for my writing to you is to give you a copy of a poem I wrote while still at Pari. I hope you like it Sir.
All the best for the future Ron.
Come in, please
Would’ya like a coffee
To oil your throat?
Sorry there’s nothing stronger.
Perhaps a fire to warm your bones.
We’re all comfortable now
So we’ll let you begin;
And lead us down a winding path,
Your presence close at hand.
Past dangers almost physical.
Through a conjured land.
Too soon your journey’s over,
Your leaving comes too fast,
And sadly we all watch you go;