Getting children, teens, and adults to talk and open up can be like pulling teeth, that’s where us therapists have to get creative. Here are some of my favorite psychotherapy products to foster comfort, play, joy, and a sense of humor throughout the therapeutic process.
Totika– I would call it “Therapy Jenga.” They have two versions- the “Ice Breaker” and “Self-Esteem” versions.
Mixed Emotions– A deck of beautifully illustrated emotion cards.
Old Magazines- Collaging works wonders. I usually offer the following prompts: self-portrait; past, present, and future; parts (IFS style); I am…; house, tree, person (art therapy assessment tool); family portrait; family scene; inside my head; motivation and inspiration; I am grateful for…
Growing Mindful Cards– A deck of cards full of simple mindfulness practices.
Balloons- KIDS LOVE BALLOONS. I frequently use “Weights and Balloons” and “Balloons of Anger” from this article.
Power Thought Cards– A deck of positive affirmation cards.
Coloring Books– Sometimes, giving people something to do with their hands, opens the door to communication.
The Five Minute Journal– I suggest a balance of stream-of-consciousness and structured prompts. I currently make my own journals for therapy clients but The Five Minute Journal has been recommended by others.
Rocks- As I walk around San Francisco, I pick up smooth landscape rocks (don’t worry I wash them). I give them to my clients and ask them to write, draw, and paint whatever it is they want more of in their life. Some clients put the rock somewhere they can see it everyday, others carry it around with them as a stress-ball type relief or as a reminder.
Coping Jars– I make Coping Jars for my clients and am in the process of beefing up production to sell them, since they have been a hit! One parent, asked for their own, when they saw how helpful it was for their child- now, they do the activities together. I created these little jars as an activity to do with clients with the hopes of teaching them new coping skills. The Coping Jars contain over 50 simple practices to help people practice mindfulness, gratitude, and self-reflection and with the purpose of giving people a moment to pause and take care of themselves in times of stress and overwhelm.
Leaves, flowers, plants, rocks, branches, etc.- We will go on a nature walk and gather these items for nature mandalas. I will do these both small (e.g., palm size with the help of contact paper) and large scale (e.g., on butcher paper or in a park).
“Remember to play.” – My little sister’s tattoo.