Exploring Difficult Emotions with Story Massage

Story Massage, which combines positive touch with words, is now being used as a valuable way of exploring difficult emotions and encouraging children to understand and regulate their feelings. We introduce a social story about visiting the dentist as a positive touch activity. 


Self-esteem and Skills Building

On our training days we teach the ten basic Story Massage strokes and then support you in using the strokes to adapt or create your own massage stories for children at home or within your work. We recently met with professionals from With Kids, a Glasgow based charity supporting children with difficult lives. Central to the work of With Kids are the core concepts of building self-esteem and the desire to “skill up” children and crucially also the carers of children. Fundamental to their many various projects is the value of each individual child and the power of love and care to transform their life chances.

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Expressing Difficult Emotions

With this in mind, there was much lively discussion about the far-reaching possibilities of using positive touch activities to develop their work with the children and families in their care. The group were particularly interesting in using the combination of touch and words as a way of understanding and exploring difficult emotions. This story massage, created on the training day, invites a child and parents to explore the range of emotions that may be experienced when visiting the dentist. The story massage could easily be adapted for other circumstances where a child may have difficulties in communicating how they are feeling. We have made a short (60 seconds) video to demonstrate the actions. The words are written below.

A Visit to the Dentist

Callum Crocodile is going to the dentist (Walk)

He’s hurt his tooth (Walk)

But he’s not worried (Walk)

And that’s the truth (Walk)

Because he’s rough and he’s tough (Drum)

And is made of stern stuff (Drum)

But when Cal gets there and see the lights (Sprinkle)

And hears the drill, he gets a fright (Sprinkle)

He starts to shake, he really does care (Wave)

So he runs and hides under the chair (Wave)

Mummy crocodile sees he’s in trouble (Squeeze)

So she goes over and gives him a cuddle (Squeeze)

You don’t have to be tough and hide your fears (Circle)

She strokes Cal’s head and wipes his tears (Circle)

Story Massage Training

To find out more about training to use Story Massage in your work with children please visit our web page: Story Massage Training


Story Massage Resources

Our popular book Once upon a touch…story massage for children and our posters and stickers are available to buy on our training days or from our webpage: Story Massage Resources


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