Growing Emotional Expression: Developing language and understanding about how one is feeling leads to emotional growth and healthy expression of emotion. The Feelings Heart activity can support kids and teens in identifying and exploring their emotions through verbal and visual expression.
Use handout below or have clients draw out their own Feelings Heart on paper.
Have the child choose a few emotions, and the therapist choose a few emotions to use in their heart. Ask the child to color in their heart using colors to represent how much of each emotion is in their heart right now.
When/however developmentally appropriate, talk about the purpose/function of the emotions the client is including in their heart.
Normalize all of their emotions throughout the exercise!
Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was (tailor based on treatment plan). The therapist engaged the client in an activity of identifying and expressing emotion to support emotional growth and regulation. The client responded to the activity by (fill in the blank).
Relationship Strategy of the week:
Grow the Emotional Bank Account: In a relationship partners are emotionally investing and withdrawing, similar to a bank account. When one is emotionally investing that may look like acknowledging your partner, listening, expressing empathy or gratitude, and ensuring they feel seen and/heard. When withdrawing, it may look like dismissing, diminishing, or ignoring. Each time you emotionally invest you make a deposit to the emotional bank account of the relationship and it grows.
Explore how each partner emotionally invests in the relationship (e.g. positive interactions).
Identify what a withdraw looks like (e.g. negative interactions)
Develop strategies for investing more than withdrawing to grow the emotional bank account.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist supported the client in exploring ways they experience emotional investments and withdraws in their relationship to promote emotional growth and connection. The client reported that it was (helpful/not helpful/etc) to understand their emotional bank account and was able to identify (one/a couple/several) ways to emotionally invest in the relationship.
Adult strategy of the week:
Grow Emotional Intelligence: Developing emotional intelligence (EQ) is important to identifying, understanding, and regulating one’s emotional experiences as well as understanding and supporting the emotional experiences of others. The ability to accurately monitor and manage our emotions as well as being aware of others’ and engaging in perspective-taking support us in developing resilience and healthy relationships, performing at work, school, or otherwise, and strengthening the relationship with ourselves.
Here are some ways to grow EQ:
Reflect on your own emotions;
Be observant (of your own emotions);
Ask others for perspective;
Use “the pause” (e.g., taking a moment to think before speaking);
Explore the “why” or “how” (bridge the gap by taking someone else’s perspective);
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist supported the client in exploring and developing their emotional intelligence (EQ) to strengthen their relationship to self and others. The client reported that was (helpful/not helpful/painful/etc) to further understand EQ and they named ways to keep growing their EQ.
Mindfulness/Meditation of the week:
Growing Space for Emotions: Meditation and mindfulness are helpful ways to foster space for acknowledging, identifying, and managing emotions. When we listen non-judgmentally to our emotions, they can provide us with useful information and guide us in honoring, accepting, and expressing emotions in more helpful ways.
Here is a guided meditation for cultivating space to listen to your emotions:
Proactively welcome your emotions
With your eyes open or closed, welcome the environment and sounds around you: the air on your skin, sensations where your body touches the surface that’s supporting it, the feeling of an emotion that’s present in your body. Now note where and how you feel this emotion, and describe the sensations that best represent this emotion.
Now, imagine this emotion walking in through a door. Go with the first image that arises. What does your emotion look like? What is its shape, form, size? Take a few moments and welcome the shape and form your emotion takes.
Next, imagine this emotion standing or sitting a comfortable distance in front of you.
Ask it, “What do you want?” Listen to what it has to say.
Ask it, “What do you need?” Listen to what it has to say.
Ask it, “What action are you asking me to take in my life?” Listen to what it has to say.
Take a few moments to reflect on what you’re experiencing in your body and mind.
When you’re ready, open your eyes and return to a state of wakefulness, thanking yourself for setting aside time to meditate.
Take time to write down actions that came to mind that will help you process this emotion, and make a commitment to incorporate in your daily life.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist led Ct. in a mindfulness activity to build Ct.’s awareness and distress tolerance with emotion. Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the meditation was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).
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