Individuals ages 12 and up
Blank Journal or Book (preferably with blank, writable cover)
Pen and/or Pencil
Piece of Blank Paper
(Optional: Gems, crystals, beads, pebbles, charms, glitter, feathers, ribbon, string, ect.)
Begin by having your clients use the blank piece of paper to write down a list of challenges they are currently facing, have faced in the past, or anticipate facing in the future. This list can consist of any life challenges that come to mind, and clients should be encouraged to list as many examples as they can think of, so the list is personal and meaningful. Some suggestions may include: difficulty with making friends, struggling with anger management, etc. Once the list is complete, provide them with a blank book or journal that is completely customizable. Have your clients design the front and back cover of their spell book using the markers and crayons.
Once they are done designing the exterior of their book, they should begin to work on the interior; based on the list of challenges they created; they should create entries in the spell book. Encourage clients to use their creativity! As an example for the challenge of "controlling anger", they could create a spell called "peace within" or "tranquility." Once they have a name, they should list the words that describe how to "cast the spell" and any other relevant directions to put the spell in place. Spells may include the identified useful and healthy coping techniques discussed in therapy. Clients should also be encouraged to add drawings along with the spells in order to further explore their creativity. Allow clients ample time to work on thier entries until they have a completed spell book.
Expected Results and Troubleshooting:
This activity is intended to inspire clients to utilize their creativity and establish a unique working collection of "spells" that allow them to better identify and combat the stressors they may be facing. The spells are expected to serve as a resource for the clients to reference to and apply as needed. The spells are expected to provide a collection of skill sets/tools for clients to "master". The spells may help identify strengths, foster a sense of control, empowerment and eventual mastery over the identified challenges. The spell book is intended to evolve/advance over time, as clients continues to "level up" and/or become prepared to face new, or more complex challenges.
This activity is projected to allow clients to feel that they have the resources within themselves to conquer the challenges they face, and to promote a sense of positive self-efficacy, improved self-esteem and sense of safety. The client is intended to reference and utilize the spells as needed. It may be helpful for the client to reference the spells during therapy as needed, as a means to increase familiarity with the technique and process, as well as to provide a place to practice the coping technique in a safe space.
Related Works for Rationale:
Hall, T. M., Kaduson, H. G., & Schaefer, C. E. (2002). Fifteen effective play therapy techniques. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(6), 515.
Lusebrink, V. B. (2004). Art therapy and the brain: An attempt to understand the underlying processes of art expression in therapy. Art Therapy , 21 (3), 125-135.
Originally posted on the Geek Therapy Wiki, hosted on the now-defunct Wikispaces platform, as part of Dr. Patrick O’Connor’s course Geek Culture in Therapy.