Table Talk Activity: This activity can be used by caregivers and children on their own as a family activity, or it can be adapted to do within a session with a child, therapist, and/or caregiver. Have the family gather their favorite snacks and create a picnic during the session, or encourage them to do this during a mealtime. Use the following questions to remember a loved one that the child or family may be missing this year (this can be used for a loved one who has died, as well as a loved one who the family is not able to see due to the pandemic- just adapt the questions to make them present tense in that case).
If you could say something now to them, what would you say?
If they were here, what would be different?
What do you wish they knew about you today?
What will you always remember about them?
Who in the family has a similar personality to them?
What was the best time you ever had with them?
What was their favorite holiday or holiday tradition?
What special travel, trips, or vacation do you remember about them?
What special story can you share about them?
Great time to discuss favorite foods, dishes and heirlooms that have been passed down through the family
What is your favorite part of the holiday season?
What do you like least about the holiday season?
What are you looking forward to this holiday season?
Is there anything you dread or fear about the holidays?
What will be the most difficult thing you will have to do during the holidays without your loved one?
What can you do to feel close to your loved one this holiday season?
Discuss a holiday tradition that you want your family to continue.
Share a special holiday memory.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was (tailor based on treatment plan). The therapist engaged the child (or child and caregiver) in an experiential activity (“Table Talk”) focused on processing grief and loss, remembering a loved one, and emotional expression. The child (was/was not) engaged in this activity.
Couples strategy of the week:
Tips for Grief, Loss, and the Holidays: Deciding how to spend the holidays together can feel complicated when dealing with grief and loss. Each of you may have different ways of grieving, as well as different desires related to celebrating this year. Use the following list of 64 tips for coping with grief at the holidays to spark conversations about this challenging topic and begin finding ways to celebrate the holidays that feel good for both of you
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… To promote constructive communication and relationship strengthening, the therapist helped the couple process their emotions, values, and experiences related to grief, loss, and the holidays. The couple was (receptive/hesitant/etc) to exploring grief, loss, and the holidays within the context of their relationship, and they reported that discussing these topics was (helpful/sad/hard/etc).
Adult strategy of the week:
Art Journal for Grief and Loss: During times when grief and loss feel hard to put into words (such as the holidays), using art as a way to express complicated emotions can feel clarifying and cathartic. The following guide provides ideas about how to use art to help process grief and loss.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist helped the client process their emotions, thoughts, and experiences related to grief, loss, and the holidays using an art-based activity. The client was (receptive/engaged) while exploring ways to use art to process grief and loss, and they reported that processing grief and loss with art was (helpful/not helpful/confusing/etc).
Sample progress note: The focus of this session was… The therapist led a meditation activity (i.e., grief and loss). Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the activity was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).
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