Throughout Block 2, people receiving care share their life stories. Why are such accounts important and what do workers need to be aware of in encouraging people to talk about their past lives?

Life story work is a method of working with individual’s, who, for some reason, are vulnerable, or may be going through difficult, or challenging life transitions (Bornat and Northedge, 2008, page 19). For example children in care often search for an identity; they need to belong.   Similarly, the elderly, through strokes or other debilitating illnesses, may feel that their true self has disappeared. Life story work is as much about dealing with the present and preparing for the future as it is about sorting out feelings about the past, therefore it is important that carer’s understand where the line is drawn when encouraging people to talk about their past lives.
    Today, life stories are everywhere, from celebrity autobiographies or interviews in newspapers to the BBC Television programme Who Do You Think You Are? People in today’s society seem to want to share their past including the good and the not so good. However, the life stories of people receiving care are often unknown or unexplored, indeed, children who do not grow up in the families they are born into often face obstacles when it comes to finding out about their birth families and early background (Bornat and Northedge, 2008, page 19). This may be due to lack of time or the fact that they never stay in one place for very long, which explains why care receivers may have a particular need to talk about their past. 
    Tony Ryan and Rodger Walker, believe life story work is an attempt, to give back, particularly to children who have been separated from their birth families, some of their past (Ryan and Walker, Resources, page 33). By gathering together facts about a person’s life, and the significant people in it, enables each person to accept their past and go forward into the future secure with this...