Theme: Supportive Relationships

Kid Strategy of the Week:

The Rabbit Listened: This is a powerful story about a child who feels supported by the rabbit, who just listened to them. Watch the video with your client, and then talk to them about what they need when they are upset, scared, or sad. Do they want someone to help them fix it, to make them laugh, to just listen? Who are the people in their life that provide them with what they need when they are upset?

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHPoj53dy8o

Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was to (tailor based on tx plan). The therapist and Ct. listened to the book “The Rabbit Listened” together and processed different forms of support that the Ct. needs. The Ct. identified that (fixing things, listening, laughing, validating mad feelings, etc.) feels good to them, and they identified people in their life who provide this support for them.

Adult Strategy of the Week: 

Supportive Strategies: A way of supporting oneself and/or another with a challenging emotion/experience can be thinking of different strategies to use in the moment. The DBT ACCEPTS is an acronym to help us remember various ways to distract when there isn’t anything one can do about stressors at the moment. Clients can start by creating a list of things to do in each of the categories (see link for more details).

A – Activities
C – Contributing
C – Comparisons
E – Emotions
P – Pushing Away
T – Thoughts
S – Sensations

Source: https://dbt.tools/distress_tolerance/accepts.php

Sample Progress Note:   The focus of this session was to… The therapist used psycho-education about DBT skills (i.e., ACCEPTS) to help Ct. identify ways to cope with difficult emotions and experiences. Ct. was able to identify different strategies to help them cope with difficult emotions, and they were (able/not able) to integrate the psycho-education into their narrative.

Trauma Strategy of the Week:

Support Network: Supportive relationships can foster a feeling of closeness and belongingness with others. With trauma healing and recovery, we need to feel connected to significant others whom we can trust and with whom we can growth together and thrive. During a session, spend time with the client creating a list of people they can include in their social support network by considering:

• Who are friends, family, and colleagues? List anyone you enjoy talking to, even if you haven’t talked in a while.
• Who do you laugh with?
• Who makes you feel understood?
• Who do you trust?
• Who are people in your life you’ve been meaning to reach out to?

Some ways to build a support network include (but are not limited to):
• Recovery meetings
• Peer interest groups
• Book clubs
• Phone calls
• Online gaming
• Letter writing
• Even just texting and sharing fun pictures!

With the list of potential people, the client can try to reach out to at least one person.

Sample progress note: The focus of this session was… The therapist helped Ct. create an inventory of the supportive people in their life and make a plan to reach out to at least one person. Ct. reported that listing the supportive people in their life was (e.g., nice/difficult/sad/etc.), and they discussed (ways they can reach out/barriers to reaching out).

Mindfulness/Meditation of the Week:

Supportive Containment: Learning the artful skill of containment can be helpful when navigating challenging experiences and emotions. The skill involves fostering our brain’s natural ability to hold and “contain” material. The guided activity below supports clients in developing a container that is meaningful for their experience.

Container Activity:

• Begin by closing your eyes and imagine a container. It can be any container. What does it look like? How big is it? What color is it? Is it something special to you or something you’ve seen before? Where is your container? Pick something that has a lid or would have the ability to hold “stuff” securely. Some people have imagined armoires, unique wooden containers with small and big drawers, tool boxes, mason jars, rubber-maids, cookie jars, etc. There is no right or wrong. This will be your very own container. Now just take a moment to imagine it.

• Now, do you have anything that is bothering you? Identify something mildly to moderately; something you can’t do anything about right now. Perhaps you’re at work and keep getting a thought and feeling about organizing a closet of yours that you just can’t seem to get around to lately. Or perhaps you feel a little uncomfortable about a recent interaction you had with a friend and its not the right time to resolve it with them because they are out of town or unavailable. Maybe you’re nervous about an upcoming event you need to attend or trip you need to take. Something like that. On a scale of zero to 10 (with 10 being the most distress you can imagine and zero being completely neutral) think of something that is a two or a three.

• Notice how you feel when you think about it. Notice what you see in your mind’s eye when you think about it. Notice your thoughts. Be with this for a moment. Now imagine sending your feelings, the images, and thoughts to your container. You can do this by imagining them (one at a time or as a single combined unit) flowing from your body into the container. Or you can imagine walking up to your container and placing these items in, followed by placing the lid on it, and then walking away. Whatever works for you. Take a moment to try this.

• Now, check in with yourself again. What do you notice in your body… in your mind? Has the distress reduced? How would you rate it on a scale of zero to 10? If you noticed that your distress reduced, this may be a very useful tool for you to engage regularly to help manage emotions and mental difficulty.


Sample Progress Note:  The focus of this session was… The therapist lead a mindfulness activity (i.e., Container) to help Ct. practice mindfulness and containment. Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the activity was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).

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