Clients who have experienced trauma often feel imprisoned in their stories, frozen in time, certain that the future will be a reproduction of the past. In helping to make coherent the fragmented images of a traumatic life, we can help them to define their story, rather than being defined by it. Clinicians are often trained to 'ignore the words' and focus on the affect. While clients tell their stories in many ways, words are essential parts of the stories – especially if the right questions are asked, and the material is handled with respect, flexibility and transparency. As a playwright and narrative therapist, I will present case examples of the kinds of creative 'dramaturgy' that can be done.