Defining the Territory of Story: With a Special Focus on Young People’s Mental Health

  • Catherine HeinemeyerEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies In Play, Performance, Learning, and Development book series (PPLD)


There are many ways in which stories can create territory for participatory exploration. This chapter takes as its jumping-off point three possibilities suggested by Michel de Certeau (The practice of everyday life. University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, CA and London, 1984): (1) stories ‘organise walks’, guiding listeners through landscapes of experience; (2) they mark out ‘theatres of action’ or worlds within worlds; and (3) they create frontier zones of No-Man’s-Land, a ‘Spielraum’ or ‘play space’ available for anyone to make their own. This chapter has a special focus on practice within mental health settings, because our understanding of the role of stories in therapeutic settings influences how we frame our relationship with young people. Thus, while our stories may share our counsel or wisdom, or mark out safe therapeutic space, it may often be more productive to view a story as a ‘Spielraum’, a half-empty ‘play space’ in which a group can make its own realities.

Image 8.1

The territory of story


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.York St John UniversityYorkUK

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