The Ship Prepares for Voyage
This projective storytelling
technique invokes the powerful metaphor of piloting or organizing a
voyage across the ocean (life journey) with all the adventure,
challenge, crisis, which facing the often-treacherous seas can entail
(life is full of challenge and setbacks). The story also elicits the
children’s perception of their resources both internally and within
their interpersonal support system to prepare for the anticipated
adversities. The internal or external locus of control of children is
likely to be revealed by whether they choose to captain the ship
themselves or rely on someone else to pilot the ship. Their choice of
guests to accompany them on the voyage may be revealing of whom they
regard as significant attachments and supports in their lives. The
degree of hope or hopelessness and their optimistic or pessimistic
explanatory style will be suggested by the outcome of the trip and how
the crises are handled. Water has often been viewed as a symbol of
life and a boat/ship as a vessel of life and a crossing as the bridge
between life and death, sometimes between good and evil, from life to
after-life and so the story basics contain rich symbolism that offers an
unique opportunity to gain access to the child’s inner world of thought,
feelings and fantasy. The ship leaving it’s home port to face unknown
dangers and uncertainties on the high seas is also powerfully evocative
of themes of loss, desertion, and abandonment for those left behind,
fear of never returning to one’s home base and being separated forever
from loved ones for those leaving on their journey.
The Ship Prepares for Voyage
The Story: Now, I want you to
pretend that you have your own ship and you are preparing for a voyage
across the ocean. Think about what preparations, what supplies will be
needed. How big a crew will you need? How experienced willyour crew be?
Will you be the captain of the ship or will you hire someone to pilot
the ship. How will you prepare for storms and rough seas? Who else will
you invite to go on this voyage with you? Now I want you to reflect and
pause for a moment and fully relax. I want you to think about your
voyage across the ocean and what kind of adventure it is going to be for
you, your invited guestsand the crew. Think about some of the challenges
that you will face as you make your way across the ocean and how you
will manage those crises that arise. Make up a story about your voyage,
your adventure across the ocean; be sure to give your story a beginning,
a middle part, and an ending. Be sure to include some action, drama, and
suspense in the story, in other words make it a good story. Children are
good at making up interesting stories and I am sure you will be able to
come up with an exciting story of your own.
Among the follow-up questions to
the child’s story, consider the following:
1. What title would you give your
2. How did it all turn out in the
3. What would you do differently
on your next voyage?
4. How did you feel about your
voyage? How did your guests feel? How did your crew feel about the
5. What can we learn from your
story? Is there a moral or a lesson from your story?
6. If you could give advice to
other people starting out on a voyage, what advice would you give after
your voyage across the sea?
© Copyright 2004 by David A.
Crenshaw, Ph.D. All rights reserved.