Treating Trauma in Schools using the Narrative Approach
This paper outlines the long history of childhood trauma in our culture and its ubiquity to the present day. When primary caregivers do not provide the sense of safety that a child needs to thrive, trauma-informed schools deliver what is missing at home for many troubled and traumatized children. Narrative Therapy practiced by school counsellors is a useful approach for helping distressed school children who have experienced significant suffering and whose heightened stress response is not amenable to classroom learning. This therapeutic approach focuses on creating space between the problem story and the individual by enlivening the thin description of a traumatic event so as to create a wider perspective for the student. In so doing, the student comes to appreciate the fullness of her life beyond the tunnel vision story of the trauma. The importance of trauma-informed schools and the application of Narrative Therapy in a school setting are discussed.