Saturday, July 19, 2014

Using Poetry

As I’ve stated before, I love poetry therapy. “Broken” by Becky Birtha, a survivor of sexual abuse, is a poem I like to use with sexual violence survivors, especially of childhood sexual abuse.
When discussing a poem with client, I first ask them their feelings about the poem and whether they enjoyed it or not. If they did, I ask them to explain to me how they feel the poem is relevant to their life or their situation. We examine the lines that really stick out to them and why they are easy to relate to.
Poems and song lyrics (especially for teenagers) can be such a powerful counseling tool. Being able to see your thoughts, situation, feelings, etc. put on paper by someone else makes you feel less alone. And sometimes it’s comforting for people to see their thoughts explained in a way that they weren’t able to.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Life Timeline

This is an activity I love doing with clients of all ages. It's called a life timeline. On the left side of the timeline, the client inserts points with significant events that happened in their past. For example, the client might put how at 3 years old they moved to another state, 8 years old they joined a soccer team, 12 years old they tried drugs for the first time, etc. On the right side, the client inserts points with goals they have for their future. I posted an example in the second photo.
When doing this activity with adults, it allows them to reflect on how far they've come and how strong they are to be able to survive so much. When doing this activity with teens, it allows them to see that they still have a whole life ahead of them, and that they've only experienced a small bit of what life has to offer.
You can find a life timeline template here