Creating Space for Children’s Voices: Utility of the Collage Life Story Elicitation Technique

Gertina J. Van Schalkwyk (University of Macau, Macau, China)
Anastasia Aldelina Lijadi (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria)

Article ID: 592



A challenge for many School-Based Family Counseling (SBFC) practitioners, child psychotherapists and researchers are finding ways to give voice to children and eliciting trustworthy and detailed narratives that could serve as resource for understanding the needs of young clients in the context of all their interpersonal networks. Children are often reticent when asked to self-disclose and tell their stories during consultation. The purpose of the present study was to examine the utility of five sequential steps constituting the Collage Life Story Elicitation Technique (CLET) for scaffolding storytelling among children in middle childhood (aged 9-12 years). Using the CLET for data collection and conducting an interpretive analysis, the researchers explored the performance of 38 middle-childhood children living in three different settings. Findings suggest that the five sequential steps of the CLET adequately and satisfactorily combine to stimulate and elicit rich data and help children to construct their narratives and represent the challenges they face in everyday living. We discuss the application of CLET in SBFC practice as tool when screening and intervention planning for children’s perspectives pertaining to a range of topics regarding each of the four quadrants as proposed in the SBFC metamodel.


Autobiographical memories; Children’s narrative; Collage Life-story Elicitation Technique

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