The Bucket Story

The Bucket Story - A Narrative Approach to Building Mental Resilience

The “bucket” has been used as a metaphor to describe the happiness/life/love level historically. Similar to the metaphor of “is your glass half empty or half full”

A few authors have developed on this idea, including Ms Carol McCloud who authored “Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide To Daily Happiness for Kids (2015) and Dr Donald O. Clifton & Tom Rath (Gallup) who authored “How FULL is your Bucket?”

Both the above series of books originated from the ‘Story of the Dipper and The Bucket’ which, no surprise, originated in the 1960s from Dr. Donald Clifton himself, a psychologist and founder of The Clifton Strength School.

With reference to the “dipper” and the “bucket”, the focus of these authors had been about kindness and giving, filling others buckets instead of dipping from them.


We were first introduced to “The Bucket Story”© in 2007 by Ms Tania Skippen, an accomplished Occupational Therapist at that time, now she is the Deputy Commissioner of the Mental Health Commission in NSW! The concept had since been expanded upon and further developed by our Occupational Therapists into the model we are using today.

“The Bucket Story” is a narrative approach, a form of story telling to “help people identify their values, skills and knowledge they have in order to live these values” (Web, 2019) 

As a narrative approach, “The Bucket Story” goes beyond dipping and giving. 

It is an individualized story for each person.

We have used “The Bucket Story” with a range of people for the past decade. We have seen what a powerful tool it is in self- awareness building, visualization, “re-writing” of the story for change and empowerment. 

At Fortitudo, this is one of our signature programs, which is run in the form of workshops, talks and activities for all ages and abilities. In house developed handouts and resources are also available upon request.

Stay tune and follow us for more free resources and if you are interested in our workshops, do contact us