A therapeutic model based on the principles of Milton Erickson.

The model was developed after 30 years of research by Dr. Joyce C. Mills, Ph.D..


This is a five-day training program that teaches participants the origins, key elements, and essential components of StoryPlay® Therapy, including therapeutic metaphors, storytelling, story craft, sensory synchronicity, artistic and live metaphors, and therapeutic rituals and ceremonies. Through the training program, it becomes clear that this therapeutic model for trauma can be used with populations with special needs or conditions, such as natural or other disasters, post-traumatic stress, abuse, ADHD, emotional attachment, loss and grief, as well as in combination with other therapeutic models, such as Play Therapy, Family Therapy, individual or group therapy, Sand Play Therapy and all types of creative therapies (drama therapy, art therapy, dance therapy, etc.).

StoryPlay® is a multicultural approach based on resilience. A model that indirectly draws on the client natural resources, skills and strengths of each child, adolescent, adult or family and brings about healing, development and positive change.

It is based on the principles of Milton H. Erickson, the teachings of indigenous peoples, and the pioneering approaches of Dr. Joyce Mills. Focusing on the power and spirit of healing narrative and play, each element of the StoryPlay® approach provides participants with practical, creative tools to work effectively with difficult or injured clients, using their own preferred approach or philosophy, including the sand tray, music, the expressive arts etc. In addition, the approaches included in the StoryPlay® model can be applied to a variety of conditions, including emotional therapy, schools, families, and hospitals.


Participants will be able to:

  • Identify the three essential elements of the StoryPlay® model.
  • Apply two core principles of Ericksonian psychotherapy to promote positive change.
  • Apply the steps of StoryPlay® to create and use therapeutic storytelling, Artistic, and Living/ Ritual Metaphors in the healing process.
  • Recognize and utilize the client’s blocked sensory system in the therapeutic process.
  • Recognize and utilize the elements of the natural ecosystem as co-therapists in the quest for positive change and healing.
  • Learn the multiple StoryCrafts – activities that facilitate healing in a natural way.

The next program will take place in 8 five hours sessions on the following dates: 15/10/22, 5/11/22, 26/11/22, 17/12/22, 14/01/23, 4/02/23, 18/02/23, 11/03/23.
Each session starts at 14:00 till 19:00. Since day one the trainees can start applying the model with the guidance of their supervision.


The Spirit of Healing: Going Beyond Diagnosis to Healing

Game, fantasy and stories:
The multicultural language of children and adults
The roots and origins of StoryPlay® Therapy:
The philosophy and the 9 essential elements of the StoryPlay® model.
Differentiating between Directive, Non-Directive and Indirect therapy models.

Therapeutic Metamorphosis: a four-step process for healing and change.
Three multicultural models for restoring balance and change.
The Braiding Process: three elements for creating a transformative therapeutic solution.
Breathing and Relaxation Exercises: “MAGIC HAPPY BREATH”
Heartsong Meditation

Storytelling Metaphors for Kids and Teens – The Path to Effective Communication and Enhancing Durability.
Durability and protective factors
Multicultural aspects of storytelling
Nature as co-narrator: “You can’t shout at the seeds to make them grow”
Building bridges: How Do I Begin to Introduce a Story?
Narrative practice: using real life experience as therapeutic narrative

Fantastic Stories
Constructing myths / healing stories in therapy
Theory and practice
Application in practice

Sensory synchronization

Recognizing sensory preferences and patterns during treatment.
Conscious and unconscious communication patterns
The Unconscious System – Recovering and using blocked sensory systems

Artistic Metaphors – Strategies for Awakening Internal Sources:
Definition and Philosophy
Presentation of a case study of the use of art for treatment and change.
Artistic metaphor for wound healing

Exercises include:
Exercise Resource Design: three steps to turn the problem into a solution.
The Fountain Board Game – for kids
The Roadmap to Success – for teens

StoryCrafts – individual, family and community therapy activities

Definition and Application: presentation of a case study of how StoryPlay® therapy is used in individual therapy, classroom and community settings after major natural or other disasters to heal trauma and increase resilience.

Each StoryCraft exercise is accompanied by a cultural story related to the exercise:
The Bowl of Light
The Identity Shield
The Dreaming Pot
Note: Each StoryCraft will be worked on by the team afterwards.

StoryCraft exercises will continue:
Storyteller Puppet
The garden of joy
Life story puzzle

Completion of the StoryCraft
Experimentation in the team
Feedback and review – conclusion

Living metaphors and Therapeutic Ritual metaphors

Living Metaphors: Purpose, context, and use in therapy.

Aim and framework for creating a Therapeutic Ritual or ceremony.
How to create a garden of peace: a healing ritual for children, families and communities.
Case studies showing how it can be used in cases involving: abuse, transition, re-connection, celebration, loss, death or anticipatory grief.

Presentation to the team of the Living Metaphors and rituals created through exercises.
Feedback and review

Therapeutic Transformation – Knitting It All Together
Participants will be asked to knit all the details of the previous days together:
* Storytelling Metaphors
* Sensory synchronicity
* Artistic Metaphors
* StoryCrafts
* Living Metaphors
* Therapeutic Rituals

Putting StoryPlay® into action

* Through repetition, exercises, group participation and guidance, participants will have the opportunity to incorporate each element they have learned over the previous days into their treatment practice or program.
The program will be similar to the previous days:

Closing – Participants will receive a provisional Certificate of “Completion of this Level I – Foundations Training”. They will receive their final Certificate after completing five (5) supervision sessions with one of the certified StoryPlay® supervisors. Then their name will be added to the list of certified StoryPlay® therapists – StoryPlayers.


17 MAY 2024


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