Stories We Share: Storytelling Across Disciplines

Dr Alida Gersie

Speakers: Dr Alida Gersie, Drama Therapist, and Helen Sutherland, Speech and Language Therapist


4.30-6.30pm, Monday 5 June 2017 (Drinks to follow)
Jerome Booth Music Therapy Centre, Young Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LZ

Nuts about stories: curative factors in therapeutic storytelling

Dr Alida Gersie (pictured)

Stories are how people perceive, feel, think and learn. Storytelling is what people do to communicate their stories to themselves and others. Sometimes their listeners are receptive and responsive to the stories-in-the-telling. Oftentimes they are not. What happens then? This talk offers cautionary and emboldening insights from story-based therapeutic work with troubled kids and adults.

Dr Alida Gersie is a worldwide pioneer of arts therapies training whose work in therapeutic storytelling is internationally renowned. For several decades she directed the Postgraduate Artstherapies Programmes at the University of Hertfordshire. Here she established the UK’s first MA in dramatherapy and other innovative courses. Her books include: Storymaking in Education and Therapy (with Nancy King), Storymaking in Bereavement, Reflections on Therapeutic Storymaking: the uses of story in groups, Dramatic Approaches to Brief Therapy and Storytelling for a Greener World (with Anthony Nanson and Edward Schieffelin).

Followed by:

Music and Lyrics: Using Story-Telling in Collaborative Work between Speech and Language Therapy and Music Therapy

Helen Sutherland

This talk will explore how speech and language therapists and music therapists can work together to benefit children and young people with complex needs. Work with different diagnostic groups and student needs will be described, including groups to support transitions; working with students with autism spectrum disorder and working with students functioning at an early developmental level. Story-telling will form a common thread, weaving the approaches together. Clinical efficacy data from a small group study will be presented. This will serve to highlight areas of student progress and demonstrate an approach through which support and training for school staff can help to maintain therapeutic gain. Finally, the talk will explore how to implement joint working in real-world clinical practice, with consideration of the strengths and challenges of collaborative working between the two disciplines.

Helen Sutherland is a speech and language therapist, who specialises in working with children and young people who have complex needs. She gained her MA in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh and completed post-graduate training as a speech and language therapist at University of Reading. She has worked in special schools for many years around the UK, including Norfolk, Suffolk and London. Currently, she works for Buckinghamshire Health Trust, based in a special school and further education provision, where she supports children and young people with a range of complex needs.


This free event is part of the Music and Performing Arts Research Lecture Series. For more information contact alexandra.georgaki@pgr.anglia.ac.uk.