Worry Monster: Have the client (with a caregiver’s help) select an empty tissue box (or other cardboard box). Use the hole at the top as the “monster mouth” and have your client decorate the box to look like a monster. Talk about how this is a worry monster who “eats” our worries, and have the child write or draw their worries or thoughts on a piece of paper to “feed” to the monster. Encourage them to use between sessions.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist engaged the Ct in an art therapy activity (worry monster box) focused on emotion expression and containment between sessions. Ct reported that the activity was (interesting/helpful/boring).
Couples strategy of the week:
Building Rituals of Connection (Gottman Institute, 2016): Help the couple find ways to intentionally, meaningfully, and routinely connect with each other (i.e., “rituals”). These rituals help build predictable space spaces for the couple to look forward to. Some examples include a weekly date, daily cuddle time, and checking in with each other for a half hour daily.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist provided psychoeducation about building rituals of connection and helped the couple develop their own rituals of connection. The couple reported that building rituals of connection was (fun/challenging/impractical/etc), and they expressed that it was (helpful/unhelpful) in working toward their goals as a couple.
Adult strategy of the week:
The Happiness Myth: In this video Dr. Russ Harris, a therapist who uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), explores three common myths related to happiness that frequently hold people back from feeling like they are living meaningful lives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93LFNtcR1Ok
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist showed a short ACT video about myths about happiness and helped client explore their reactions, thoughts, feelings, and experiences with the content of the video. Client reported that the video was (helpful/unhelpful/etc), and they were able to identify how the content of the video compares to their lived experiences and beliefs about happiness.
Sample progress note: The focus of this session was… The therapist led a meditation activity (i.e., Self Meditation Script). Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the activity was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).
Self meditation Script:
Close your eyes, and focus your attention on the sensations in your body…
You might notice tension in your shoulder, or pressure behind your closed eyes…
There might be a sensation of warmth in your chest, or a tingling in your hands…
Take your time, and notice whatever body sensations come to your attention.
These will probably change from moment to moment.
As you notice each sensation, take some time to feel it…
and be present with it in that moment.
If you notice your attention wandering away from your body,
gently bring it back without judgment.
Don’t worry at all if this happens more than once…
without judgment, bring your attention back to your body each time.
Allow your attention to move down into your belly.
Be aware of the sensations in your belly.
You might notice a fullness, or sense of softness, or solidness… or something else…
or even just sense the physical presence of your belly.
Relax into this…
Allow this to calm you and center you.
Be with your belly in a soft, open way.
Allow your sense of yourself to deepen.
Now, become aware of the sensations in your chest, and in your heart.
Allow your heart to soften a little…
to open as much as seems right at this time.
You might feel a warmth in your heart, or a sense of melting…
or radiating light.
Let your heart be open to all your parts…
all the different feelings inside you, and the different sides of your personality.
Allow yourself to feel compassion for them, and their struggles and pain…
even those parts that you don’t know about yet.
Welcome each of your parts, and extend a tendril of connection to them from your heart.
Now, gradually bring yourself back, and continue with your exploring…
keeping your sense of self as you go.
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