While storytelling is an extremely therapeutic process, the telling of stories, especially ones that are so deeply personal and close to the heart, can be an emotionally difficult process to go through.
Thinking and talking about sensitive issues such as the legacy of residential schools may trigger memories of painful life experiences for some participants. For their own personal reasons, project facilitators also may experience compassion fatigue and secondary trauma.
Extreme care for everyone involved in the digital storytelling project is vital. Project facilitators must ensure that there are adequate supports available, such as health support workers to provide emotional support to participants, throughout the duration of the project.
Refer to Guide 4: Logistics, Checklists, and Resources for Digital Storytelling Facilitators, which provides a “Facilitator and Support Team Care Checklist” and a “Participant Care Checklist” to assist with organizing supports when doing a digital storytelling project.
Each workshop day should begin with a check-in and conclude with a debriefing. This allows time to ensure that participants have the time to reflect on what they are experiencing as they go through the project.
Participants should not leave the workshop sessions in a state of distress. A list of accessible resources should be prepared in advance of project activities and be readily available for participants, in the event they need referral to subsequent counselling services.
“I do think it’s really, really important to have support … If people are sharing a piece of their history that maybe they’ve never disclosed to anybody, and it just slips out you’ve kind of opened up a floodgate there. I think it’s really, really important [to have support], especially for folks who might not have gone as far down the road in their healing.”