Questions Related to Training

Do I have to take the Online Training to use the site?

Nope. The site is free and yours to use to share stories (with decorum and good judgement).  If you want to facilitate storytelling with people with dementia, we strongly suggest you take the training, so you can be sure to get the best results.

I paid for training - how can I find it?

If you pay by credit card, when the payment is approved you will get an email with a link to the training. If you pay by check, you will receive an email after we receive your check and it clears. If you want to leave and come back to the training, when you login (using the SAME EMAIL/login as before), click TRAIN. You should see a MY TRAINING button. Click MY TRAINING to find your training. If your access has expired, you can apply for a 30-day extension at info@timeslips.org.

I can't see the video in the Online Training.

Be sure you download the latest version of Adobe Flash.   Also be sure that you move your cursor over the lower left corner of the black video screen.  You should see a "PLAY" arrow.  Click on that arrow.    Finally, also be sure you are on a solid wifi connection.  Spotty wifi access can be troublesome to your video/training experience!

I can't hear the sound in the Online Training.

Be sure you computer isn't on MUTE. Turn up the volume on the computer and in the Powerpoint slide sound icon.

How can I train my staff to do this?

You can purchase Online Trainings in Improvisational Storytelling in bulk so that your staff can all experience it. But this is really just the first step. We also offer Organizational Consulting with our Master Trainers to help your organization build a Creative Community of Care by infusing creativity into daily care practices; offering creative programming; and building partnerships to offer long-term creative projects. Contact us for more information.

I took a training workshop 4 years ago - how can I renew? 

We've expanded the training significantly.  Anyone who has not taken the online training needs to go through it to become certified and recertified.  Those who have taken the online training can register for Certification Only.

I’ve done the training as a Student - should I get “certified?”

That’s up to you! Training simply means you completed the online training.  Certification tells people that you completed the training and have worked with a Certified Master TimeSlips Trainer to ensure that you are practicing it according to the TimeSlips guidelines. Certified Facilitators are listed on our website so potential employers can find you and verify your credentials. As a Certified Facilitator, you have ongoing access to Master Trainers and other Certified Facilitators through our Certified Facilitator Conference Calls. You also get a lovely document that says you are a Certified Facilitator; are listed in our database; and have access to additional support materials like evaluation forms. Certification is good for three years because we think it's helpful to check in with a Master Trainer to make sure your facilitation skills aren't rusty, and we can share any new techniques/information. If you took the training as a student and didn't purchase certification at that time, please contact us and we'll send you the information to move ahead.

I’m a Certified Facilitator. What does that mean I can do?

We designed Certification to help answer the question that kept coming up after our online and in-person trainings:   "How do I know if I'm doing it right?"  Certification assures you that you have successfully transitioned from training to practice.  Your certification enables you to facilitate storytelling circles and call them TimeSlips. Some people volunteer as facilitators, and others do it as part of their paid work in dementia care. Certified Facilitators can “model” Time Slips for others, but they can not “certify” others. That is reserved for people trained as TimeSlips Master Trainers.

How do I become a Trainer? I want to train others in my company to do this.

No need to become a trainer. Our online training can be purchased for bulk rates for an organization, so everyone can go through it.
And as a Certified Facilitator, you can model the method for your colleagues.

General Questions about the Approach

This is fun. Who was this designed for? And who can use it?

It IS fun isn’t it? TimeSlips was originally designed for people with cognitive disabilities like dementia. Creativity is an ideal way for people with cognitive challenges to communicate. Our main audiences are families, care providers and people with dementia. But it’s fun for everyone and everyone is welcome to use the site!  

We already do improvisational storytelling in my facility. How is TimeSlips' training different?

You might be doing something similar. Double check this list to see if you are:

  • Are you creating a ritual process and a special event?
  • Are you accepting and validating every answer? 
    Including gestures, sounds, and "non-sensical" answers?
  • Are you asking open-ended questions?
  • Are you echoing the responses to be sure you’re getting them right?
  • Are you having fun?
  • Are you connecting deeply with residents?
  • Are you sharing the stories beyond your group?

TimeSlips is developed as a ritual so people with memory loss can learn it through their subconscious or implicit memory. It is based on shifting the emphasis from memory to imagination. The effect is the creation of a “laboratory” of sorts, where people who have difficulty with communication can experiment with sounds, gestures, word fragments, and whole sentences; make meaning; and have fun at the same time.

Can people with severe memory loss do this? I don’t think my group/loved one is capable…

Yes! TimeSlips works best with people in the mid to late stages of memory loss. They are the most open to language experimentation. People in early stages tend to be more eager to capture factual memories. We have run many successful groups made up of people at all stages and abilities. One just needs to remind people that TimeSlips is about the imagination, and to reflect the joy at the base of the process.

Can Improvisational Storytelling be done with people with low vision?

Yes again!  Once a story gets started (just a few basic answers) in a group setting, people with low vision commonly jump in and carry the story. People without low vision are sometimes too focused on literally interpreting the image.  People with low vision are already envisioning the story in their minds.  It can be more challenging to work one-on-one with a person with low vision without controlling the story too much.  We suggest a very very simple introduction to the image, or use one of the question prompts instead.

Can I see Improvisational Storytelling in action somewhere?  

In 2011, TimeSlips began to Certify Facilitators and Facilities/Organizations to ensure that those who say they are using the method really are doing it right.  All currently Certified Facilitators and Facilities/Organizations are listed on our ABOUT page.  If there isn't one near you, simply watch the video on the home page to see TimeSlips in action.  Our Online Training also has extensive videos of the process in action. 

How can I learn more?

TimeSlips offers a playful and informative online training as well as in-person training workshops. Click here to watch a live demonstration on the TimeSlips method.
Click here to learn more about our training programs and order online training. 

Where do you find these images!?

We find images that have the Creative Commons license and ask permission to use it for non-commercial purposes. We also have a special relationship with Avanti Press. They have generously donated the use of several of our images.We have also created a STORYKIT, a keepsake book full of 50 images and blank pages on which you can write your stories, which is available with Training. 

In general, you can find images in greeting cards, calendars, online image banks (like Flickr or the New York Public Library) and magazine ads. If you don’t own the rights, however, be sure to have permission to use the image if you plan to sell it in book or calendar form.

Questions about Research

Is there evidence that this works?

There is some nice, solid research out there now telling us that yes, this kind of creative engagement has significant impact on the lives of people with dementia.

Fritsch, Thomas; Jung Kwak; Grant, Stacey; Lang, Josh; Montgomery, Rhonda R.; Basting, Anne D. (2009). “Impact of TimeSlips, a Creative Expression Intervention Program, on Nursing Home Residents With Dementia and their Caregivers.” Gerontologist, Feb, 49.1, 117-127.

This one suggests that TimeSlips improves the quantity and quality of engagement between staff and residents on dementia units, even among those who didn’t take the training or participate in the sessions. It also improved the attitudes of the staff toward people with dementia.

Philips, Lorraine J.; Reid-Arndt, Stephanie A.; Youngju Park (2010). “Effects of a Creative Expression Intervention on Emotions, Communication, and Quality of Life in Persons With Dementia.” Nursing Research, Nov/Dec, 59.6, 417-425.

This one suggests that TimeSlips improves the communication and affect of people with dementia.


This one suggests that medical student participation in TimeSlips(TS), a creative group-based storytelling program, with persons affected by dementia improved student attitudes toward this patient population.

           Sullivan, E. , Sillup, G. and Klimberg, R. (2014) Timeslips—Comparing Agitation and Anxiety Rating Scales to Evaluate the Benefit of Non-Pharmacologic Creative Sessions in Nursing Home Patients with Dementia. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 451-464. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.46048.

This recent study by Eileen Sullivan and her colleagues compares agitation and anxiety rating scales to evaluate the benefit of non-pharmacologic creative sessions in nursing home patients with dementia.


Questions from Family Caregivers

I care for my husband at home. Can I do this one-on-one?

Of course you can! In fact, we designed this site for you so you can have something meaningful and playful to do at home and also invite family members who might be far away to play with you (through the "collaborate" button). An individual facilitator can work with one person to ask open-ended questions and encourage and celebrate responses. Our Online Training features a video of a one-on-one session.

You might also enjoy our Creativity Journal -specifically designed for one-on-one use. It's a beautifully designed keepsake with simple instructions for families, friends, homecare and hospice workers. Available from Attainment Co. - Click Here.

How can I get my loved one into a TimeSlips program?

Check the ABOUT page for our list of Certified Facilitators and Facilities.  If there isn't one near you, bring the website/info about the program to your current aging services provider (senior center, day center, early memory loss program, or long term care facility).  This method is inexpensive and easy to learn (especially with our Online Training!) and can easily be incorporated into any program.

Questions about the Website

How do I download images from the site?

When you select an image to tell a story, it will ask you to confirm that you want to tell a story about that image.

  • Click "Tell a Story!"
  • You will see a smaller version of the image on the right, with a magnifying glass in the corner.
  • Click on the magnifying glass.
  • A new screen will come up that allows you to download and details the credits for use of the image.