Connor Kelly

Using Physical Storytelling to Investigate Youth Suicide in New Zealand


Edition: 2014 Vol. 12 Nos. 1-2

Keywords
youth suicide, dance improvisation, physical storytelling, arts-based inquiry, qualitative approach, metaphors

This article explores how an arts-based approach involving Physical Storytelling has been used by researchers in New Zealand as an intervention within the area of youth suicide. Harvey, Ndengeya and Kelly introduce the concepts behind Physical Storytelling and discuss how imagery, metaphor, improvisation and dance lead to creative connections which helps cultivate a safe space for strong emotions to be explored. The authors provide case studies to highlight how Physical Storytelling provides a framework for investigating themes arising out of the work such as Journey, Tragedy and Fairytale. Dramatic themes, often difficult to put into words, were identified by the authors as being important responses which were physically embodied through improvisation. This article gently explores the extreme vulnerability of suicidality and calls for professionals to enter into the “communicative aspect” of crisis intervention which involves moving beyond a mental health perspective. (pp. 2-10)

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