Stories have the power not only to teach, but also to foster hope and heal the soul. Stories are tied to the imagination, a special place where hope lives. In reading about fictional youth facing quandaries similar to their own, students may find comfort and event a new way to understand the world or solve problems. A student who picks on others might begin to understand the full consequences of his or her behavior and be led to greater empathy. [From J. Strayer and W. Roberts 2004 article, Empathy and observed anger and aggression in five-year-olds, published in Social Development, 13(1), 1-13.]
Looking for fictional tales that might help students or program participants explore some of their real life quandaries? We’ve attached a list created by John Hoover and Ronald Oliver for their book, The Bullying Prevention Handbook: A Guide for Principals, Teachers, and Counselors. The book titles are sorted by “solutions” that children and teens have found for their conflicts including: enlisting a caring adult to help; enlisting a friend or classmate to help; using humor or insight; accepting a challenge for personal growth; gaining empathy through experience, and so on. It’s a PDF file so you can download it easily and refer to it as needed. Open ended questions, drawings, collage, writing and role plays are all great mediums for exploring the stories and solutions. Students or program participants can write creatively about an alternative solution to the social problem. They might enact what they’d like to say–or what advice they might give–if a particular character showed up in the room. They might create a group collage about respectful solutions to conflict. For more ideas, check out The Bullying Prevention Handbook.
PLEASE NOTE: Nothing in what you find here should be construed as medical advice pertinent to any individual. As is true with all written materials, and especially information found on the internet, you must be the judge of what appears valid and useful for yourself. Please take up any questions you might have regarding the content of this web site with your psychotherapist or physician.