Workshop Trauma Healing Stories



A Trauma Healing Story is an intervention from the Sleeping Dogs method. It is a short, written story of eight to twelve pages that explains in simple language and drawings the traumatic events the child has experienced. The Trauma Healing Story describes the views and intentions of parents, child protection agencies and other important people like foster parents on the child’s responsibility in relation to these events. The story is made with the child’s biological parents and in this workshop participants will learn how to write these stories and explain the parents have abused or neglected the child. Participants learn to help parents explain their own problems such as intergenerational trauma, PTSD, drug or alcohol addiction, Mental Health issues, to the child in simple language. The story is read to the child in the presence of their caregivers and if possible, their family.

Trauma Healing Stories are made for children and adolescents who have experienced chronic trauma and struggle with guilt, shame and loyalty towards their biological parents. Their guilt and shame form a barrier for them to engage in trauma treatment. Providing them with adaptive information about their innocence can change their trauma related cognitions such as ‘It is my fault or I am a bad person’. This will reduce feelings of guilt and shame, self-harming and suicidal behavior in young people, and motivate them to engage in trauma treatment. A Trauma Healing Story does not require the child’s active participation, which is great for children who refuse treatment.

In this practical workshop participants will learn how to determine a key message for the child, how to talk to the parents about that and how to formulate this in simple language. They will practice with case vignettes and write a story for one of their own cases. Participants will practice with reading the story to the child in the presence of the parents.

Learning objectives

  • Participants can determine for which children a Trauma Healing Story is beneficial
  • Participants can formulate the key message the child needs
  • Participants can write Trauma Healing Stories with parents
  • Participants know how to set up the session in which they read the Trauma Healing story to the child.

Who is this training program for?

This workshop is for professionals such as psychologists, family therapists, social workers, child protection workers, foster care workers. Participants need to have participated in the workshop Treating Chronically Traumatized Children with the Sleeping Dogs method.

Customised program

This training can be customised to the organisation and team. Depending on the level of prior training and knowledge, this workshop can be delivered as a two-, three- or four-day training program with optional additional consultation on making stories.

About the trainer

Arianne Struik is a clinical psychologist, family therapist and EMDR consultant, originally from the Netherlands and director of the Institute for Chronically Traumatized Children (ICTC) from which she provides specialized trauma treatment in remote areas, as well as workshops, training, supervision and research. She developed the award-winning Sleeping Dogs method, described in the book Treating Chronically Traumatized Children and teaches internationally on the treatment of trauma and dissociation in children. She is member of the ESTD Child and Adolescent Committee and the Australian Psychological Society EMDR Interest Group national committee.


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