News & Blog

Interview with Author of Invisible String – Patrice Karst

Nov 25, 2022

Over the past 12 months, our Helpline Team have recommended one book more than any other – The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, a must have for any child struggling with separation anxiety. Keen to connect with the author, our Helpline Team Leader, Liz Wilson reached out to learn about the inspiration for The Invisible String story.

Patrice, what is your background of experience?

Patrice: I have always been a writer, that’s how I express myself. I wrote my first book in my ‘30’s which was a spiritual book. Then after I got my advance, I wrote the Invisible String which was for my son who was experiencing a lot of separation anxiety when I was dropping him off at school. I started telling him about our invisible string that would connect us all day long and once he heard that we had this thing that connected us his separation anxiety disappeared.

Have there been any surprising or unexpected outcomes from publishing the book?

Patrice: I had no idea it would become the phenomenon that it has, I would have been happy if we had sold 500 copies of the book, let alone well over a million now in 15 languages. When I wrote it I was really just trying to show the power of love, that it transcends time and space. I had no idea that it would become the number 1 book for grief for children. There’s only one page in the book that alludes to grief. It’s used by therapists for anything where children need to understand their heart connections and that they are not alone. I did write it as a therapeutic book because I wrote it for my son, but really I just wanted children to know that they would be connected to those that they love. I had no idea that this tangible connection by using the metaphor of an invisible string would be so powerful.

Dana Wyss: I train therapists all over the world and they are floored when I tell them that Patrice is not a therapist, they are certain that a therapist wrote this book.

Dana Wyss

Dana, I hope this isn’t a rude question, I didn’t realise that you were involved with the book – Patrice is usually credited as the author. What was your role?

Dana – Not rude at all, that is very common. I actually do workshops all over the country and I get people asking, you didn’t write it, who are you? I am a trainer and a therapist. I had been reading the book as part of my trauma trainings. I was saying to a group that I would love to meet Patrice and someone suggested that I should reach out because we are both in California. So, I did and we connected and Patrice brought me on board to help with the workbook so that is what we wrote together. I am a small part of this wonderful journey that she has created.

Patrice – She’s not a small part, she’s a big part. We met for lunch and Dana had all these great ideas and had taken The Invisible String to the next level and developed all these worksheets. We had seen online that all these therapists and professionals had been using it in their work and we decided right then and there when we met to create the workbook. Dana created most of the workbook and the activities in it and therapists all over the country and the world and parents have been using it.

Is the guidance in the book based on any psychological theories?

Dana – Maybe more the workbook than the book. The story was something that came out of Patrice and she shared. With the workbook we did think about attachment theory, we looked into attachment regulation competency which is a trauma-informed model out of Boston, so there was more research like that done into the workbook. I brought all the therapeutic side of it in.

Patrice – As I’ve reread the book now many times over the years, it all seems to have a very natural flow, can it reach me here can it reach me there? Can it reach all the way to heaven? Will it go away? No love is stronger than anger. So, for some reason the flow that happened when I wrote the book it just seemed to naturally work and at that time I didn’t know the format of children’s books. There’s all this protocol of how to write a kids book but for some reason it just came naturally.

Dana – When I first started using the Invisible String I was working at an institute for children and there were a lot of them who would have me read that story to them before they would go to sleep. I had to buy extra copies. These were adolescents who had their childhoods robbed and experienced a lot of abuse so sleep was really hard for them. So, this ritual of reading this book and then sitting by their door until they fell asleep was really powerful.

Patrice – It’s a really good book for sleep because at the end of the story the children are able to go back to sleep even though there is a storm still going on outside. Inherently in the book is a safety message about sleep where you could have a peaceful night’s sleep dreaming about the connections with all these other people.

Patrice – I have two books coming out next year – the Invisible String Backpack – a book to empower children to realise that they have all this invisible backpack with all the tools they need. It’s another very therapeutic book for kids. The other book ‘Ruby and Lonely’ is about a little girl called Ruby who has a problem with being lonely which is a big problem for a lot of us and it’s a problem that isn’t talked about very often. I always feel that loneliness is sort of a shameful thing to admit. We can talk about depression or anxiety or anger but not loneliness. She sees her reflection in the mirror and realises that this can be her best friend, to realise that as long as you have you, you are not alone.

Dana – I’m new in private practice, doing training all across the country and the world now thanks to Zoom. Patrice and I do some collaborations where Patrice reads the book and then I talk to the group, therapists or teachers, about potential uses for the book. Then I’m going to be working on a workbook for the Invisible String Backpack, probably more of a playbook so people can really jump into it and use it. I’s also like to take my PhD dissertation and turn that into a book.

Sounds like you are both going to be very busy! Thanks so much for your time.