• Led by Barts Health NHS Trust, in partnership with the Chickenshed Theatre Company.
  • To be implemented with up to 80 patients (and their parents/carers) living with chronic physical illness accessing paediatric services through Barts Health NHS Trust at The Royal London Hospital.
  • Will promote the psychological wellbeing of these children and young people by enabling them to develop stories about themselves that focus on their strengths and abilities
  • A group intervention combining narrative therapy and therapeutic play techniques.

Children and young people living with chronic illness are at increased risk of developing psychological problems. This can have a negative impact on their treatment adherence, health outcomes and quality of life. The importance of addressing psychological wellbeing as part of physical health care has been highlighted, however, provision of psychological support for these patients is currently limited.

This project combines a narrative approach with therapeutic play to promote the psychological wellbeing of children and young people living with chronic illness and accessing services through The Royal London Hospital. The initiative uses a ‘superheroes’ metaphor to promote patients’ psychological wellbeing. Patients will develop individual superhero characters based on their experiences, strengths, abilities, interests, hopes, dreams and support networks. These characters will be reinforced and brought to life through their performance, with the support of the Chickenshed Theatre Company.

Facilitated discussion will explore the challenges patients face and the strategies they use for managing them. Families/carers will also be provided with space to reflect on the child/young person’s strengths and abilities, the challenges of caring for a child with chronic illness, and strategies for managing these challenges.

The intervention will be delivered eight times (with 10 patients per intervention) over 15 months at The Royal London Hospital. Participants may self-refer or be referred by their medical team.

Measures of psychological wellbeing, quality of life and intervention satisfaction will be used to evaluate the intervention.

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