3 days (with a break between Day 2 and Day 3)

About this course

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families runs a three-day training course teaching the administration, coding and application of the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP) within both clinical and research domains.

The Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP; Hodges and Hillman, 2004) asks the children to respond to a set of narrative story stems where they are given the beginning of a ‘story’ highlighting everyday scenarios with an inherent dilemma.  Children are then asked to ‘show and tell me what happens next?’  This allows some assessment of the child’s expectations and perceptions of family roles, attachments and relationships, without asking the child’s direct questions about their family which might cause them conflict or anxiety. 


The SSAP is a clinical and research assessment tool which is a technique specifically for use with clinical and maltreatment populations.  It has proved a valuable  and non-intrusive tool for examining young children’s mental representations of attachment and relationships,  both in research and in clinical practice.   Normally, it is best used with children aged between about 4 and 9 years. 

Previous research has shown that children’s response to these story stems reflect both current and past features of their family life and attachment histories.   The technique allows the child’s attachment representations to be evidenced in a displaced way which is usually enjoyed by the child and not experienced as unduly threatening.


Please note you are required to bring a set of SSAP materials with you to the training. For the full list of materials please see SSAP Kit List.

It is important that all characters, animals and props are in scale with other another.  Please gather as many object as you can from the list but don't worry if you don't manage to get everything. The Kit will be discussed in detail during the first day of the training and you will be advised if all your props are appropriate. If you are coming to the training with a colleague it is fine to share one Kit between two people.

Who is this course suitable for?

Qualified practitioners, with a degree-level qualification, in Child Mental Health or Social Work, or post-graduate researchers. Additionally, you need to be working with children (aged 4 to 9) within a clinical or research setting.

Aims of course

To teach the administration, coding and clinical applicability of the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP)

SSAP protocol cards

All attendees will be supplied with ring-bound, A6 Story Stem Assessment protocol cards free of charge.

If you would like to order an extra set of cards (£10 per pack) please e-mail


Accreditation is the process in which you aim for certification of competency in the use of the Story Stem Assessment Profile. It involves the demonstration of competence and aptitude in two areas of usage of the SSAP:

  • The practical administration of the SSAP
  • The capacity to demonstrate consistent and satisfactory reliability levels in coding two sets of transcripts.

Accreditation enables you to have the backing that you are competent and reliable in using the tool. For those working clinically and / or involved in producing reports in court proceedings, it is critical that you have this backing of being a reliable user of the SSAP.

In order to become accredited you will be asked to:

  • Send in a DVD of yourself carrying out a full set of the 13 SSAP stories
  • Code two transcripts of 13 stories each.

If you are successful in reaching the necessary standards, you will receive accreditation alongside feedback.

Accreditation is at no extra cost and is included in the training fee.

The SSAP training and associated materials were developed in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital. The SSAP is copyright of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. At present the only way to be trained in the administration, coding and application of SSAP and to become accredited to use the measure is through the Centre’s training and accreditation process.


For booking and enquiries please contact