Storiez is Social Work in Action
Meagan Corrado, M.S.S. '09, approaches clients via narrative intervention.
“There’s no rewind button for life,” says Meagan Corrado, M.S.S. ’09.
But while there might be no way to go back in time to erase painful experiences, there are ways for people to heal from them.
A doctor of social work and a licensed clinical social worker specializing in trauma-informed practice, Corrado works largely with inner-city youth in Philadelphia and Camden.
As she explains it, trauma-informed practice is, at its core, social work in action. “It’s creating safe spaces for clients to talk about what happened to them,” she says. “It’s using a strengths-based approach that looks at the sources of pain and shame but also at the sources of resilience and creativity—at how people are able to keep going. It’s meeting the client where they are and helping them to achieve wholeness and healing at whatever stage they are at.”
Corrado is also the creator of the Storiez Trauma Narrative intervention, designed to help those who have had difficult life experiences create, voice, and honor their narratives.
“I was always looking for creative ways to support trauma survivors,” she says. “Storiez integrates my personal experiences of trauma and my formal education. My master’s program at Bryn Mawr opened my eyes to the different experiences of trauma survivors, and for my doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, I decided to formalize the trauma narrative process. I looked at the common factors among trauma treatments and how to infuse it with creativity, to incorporate social work principles into how we help people tell their stories.”
And so the Storiez intervention was born.
For some, Corrado explains, it seems that processing trauma has to entail talking about “the nitty-gritty, the pain.” But, she continues, “it also includes looking at the strengths, looking at the creative ways that people heal.” Working in whatever format they choose—music, dance, art, writing, rap—Corrado’s clients create a narrative to express what has happened to them.
“For me, being creative has always been part of who I am as a person,” she says. “I've always been a writer, and recently I found mosaic and collage as a form of expression. When I created the Storiez intervention, I decided that incorporating the creative process into trauma processing was an essential tool in helping people heal.”
Colleagues took note. “When fellow clinicians started asking, ‘How did you go about doing that?,’ I realized that not everyone necessarily knows how to facilitate the creative process with traumatized clients,” Corrado explains. To answer those questions, Storiez provides an array of resources—guides, trainings, videos—for therapists, teachers, parents, and community leaders.
But the people who are benefiting most from Corrado’s intervention are the trauma survivors she works with. As one young Philadelphian says of the Storiez experience, “It was good to talk about all of the things I’ve been through. It made me feel better about myself because sometimes you can’t always hold stuff in. It was good getting it out and talking about it.”
"What I love about social work is the versatility.
"I work as a clinician, helping people heal from trauma. I work in theory development, creating trauma-focused resources. I instruct MSW students in the classroom and field. I sit on the board of the Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy and Practice."
— Meagan Corrado, M.S.S. '09, on her work