Add to your repertoire of creative therapeutic interventions with this original technique.
Please be sure to print this page as the technique below will be replaced by a new technique each month.
Printable form of current Featured Technique can be attained here.
CAUTION: THIS TECHNIQUE IS FOR USE BY MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WITH SPECIALIZED TRAINING IN CLINICAL WORK WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.
Feelings Pit Stop
Source: Shane Fortner, M.S., Temporary LMHC
Recommended Age Range: Seven to Ten
Treatment Modality: Individual, Group, Family
The client is asked to draw a race car track with a start and finish line. The client is then asked to mark pit stops along the track. While the client is drawing, engage them in a discussion regarding the race track as a metaphor for their day and the pit stops as opportunities to utilize self-identified coping strategies to assist with self-monitoring and emotional self-regulation.
When the client has completed their drawing, ask them to choose a car and place it at the starting line. Engage the client in a discussion to identify triggers (times or situations) throughout the day that lead to negative attention-seeking behaviors (transitions, mealtimes, bed time, etc.). Have the client label the first stretch of the track with a self-identified trigger and move the car to the first pit stop. At the pit stop, engage the client in a discussion to identify developmentally appropriate coping strategies they can implement to manage that trigger. Have the client continue around the track identifying each trigger and coping strategy until they reach the finish line. At each pit stop model and role-play each trigger and coping strategy with the client.
Further processing can be done with the client regarding the complexity of the track they drew (insight to how difficult they perceive daily tasks) as well as the type of car they chose (insight to sense of self-efficacy and mastery). Additionally, processing can be done with the client regarding how many pit stops they marked as an indicator of current frequency, intensity, and duration of negative behaviors.
The activity could be repeated at three month and six month points to assess progress and compare with the previous track drawn.
The evidence-base to employ activity-based and expressive therapeutic techniques is growing. Particularly with clients diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), meaningful activities that are significant to the client can develop organizational and problem-solving skills, as well as social skills in children (Gol & Jarus, 2005).
Adventure-based counseling (ABC) is based on behavioral and cognitive theory that employs experiential-based learning. In ABC the counselor selects an appropriate metaphoric activity based on the client’s issue (Fletcher & Hinkle, 2002). During the activity, the counselor will discuss the metaphor while connecting it with the client’s real-life experiences (Portrie-Bethke, Hill, & Bethke, 2009). The activity and discussion can build awareness within the client and set the stage for behavioral change.
Fletcher, T., & Hinkle, J. (2002). Adventure based counseling: An innovation in counseling. Journal of Counseling and Development, 80, 277-285.
Gol, D., & Jarus, T. (2005). Effect of a social skills training group on everyday activities of children with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. 47, 539-545.
Portie-Bethke, T., Hill, N., & Bethke, J. (2009). Strength-based mental health counseling for children with ADHD: An integrative model of adventure-based counseling and Adlerian play therapy. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 31(4), 323-339.
About The Author
Shane Fortner graduated with a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling in June 2012. Mr. Fortner currently holds his temporary licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Des Moines, Iowa. Services provided include school-based therapy, as well as outpatient individual and family therapy at Integrative Counseling Solutions, Inc. He specializes in disruptive behaviors, child welfare, and parent training utilizing a cognitive-behavioral, strength-based, solution-focused approach.
©2013, Shane Fortner. All rights reserved.