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Elise Saunders

TLSW Practitioner

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Therapeutic Life Story Work

We all have a story. Richard Rose's model of therapeutic life story work is designed to support trauma recovery that allows the child or young person to walk alongside their primary carer to make meaning of their life and lived experience in a safe, and nurturing way. The journey supports the child to understand their past and how it relates to their present relationships, thoughts, feelings, behaviours and view of the world. Through making meaning of their life story within the therapeutic space, the child can then be supported to own their story, enhance and create positive and meaningful relationships and hopefully choose a healthier future for themselves. The past does not need to define or lead us.

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Every child’s story is uniquely their own and they deserve to have a caring and safe way to explore and make meaning of their life without their past driving their current and further thinking and behaviour.

 I have designed my services and training with the child at the centre. All services are trauma informed and evidence-based practice. Combining this with my academic knowledge along with professional experience, I have been able to help children and young people, families and communities and professionals over the last 15 years throughout Australia, New Zealand and the United States both in person and online. 

Richard Rose endorses Elise’s practice as a Therapeutic Life Story Work practitioner and supervisor.

Therapeutic Life Story Work


A comprehensive piece of therapeutic life story work (TLSW) is completed with the child and their primary carer over 18 sessions and seeks to safely explore and help the child make meaning of their own story.  Upon initial assessment, if a comprehensive piece of TLSW is not assessed as appropriate, a tailored More About Me or brief All About Me intervention is available.


Offering a range of training in therapeutic life story work, trauma and recovery, along with training professionals to enhance their therapeutic skills when working with traumatised children. Through my community of care approach, the training is suitable for those in the social welfare sector, education, emergency and health services.

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Consultation for individuals, organisations and government bodies in relation to life story work and how to support a child, sibling groups, families, and communities through a child-centred, therapeutic lens. I also work alongside agencies to develop their therapeutic practice for their teams, carers and children they care for.

Tameka, OoHC Team Leader and TLSW Practitioner

The support Elise has provided me through supervision has been invaluable. Elise’s practice advice and ability to hold space has allowed me opportunities to reflect on my own practice, to better support the children, young people and families I work with. Elise’s supervision has provided me clarity and direction, which has in turn contributed to significant development in my personal and professional goals. I am continually inspired by the depth of knowledge, experience and generosity that Elise has to share. It has been an honour to have had Elise as a supervisor and I look forward to our continued work together!

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