Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script For Children
Sounds like a fun group. Here are a few suggestions off the top of my head. Pinterest is a goldmine for self-esteem activities so if you havent already looked there, that would be a good place to start.
- Social Skills: For young groups I usually start with a free play activity (ex. legos, play dough, art, etc.) while group members are still trickling in. I provide purposefully limited materials so that they will need to share/negotiate/manage conflicts/etc. Then I am there to facilitate their interactions (redirect, set limits, aid in conflict management, positively reinforce good behavior, etc.). You can also teach social skills and have them role play with each other. I also modify regular games to add some sort of therapeutic twist.
- Feelings Activities: At that age I do a lot of feeling identification activities.
- Bucket Filling: For a specific friendship skills activity bucket filling is fun. Start by reading or showing this story which teaches about prosocial behavior. Here is an example of an activity. I usually use stickers/small prizes as well.
- "I Am" Activities: I do a lot of these activities when groups are just starting to help group members get to know each other, increase group cohesion, etc., and they also promote self esteem. Self-esteem crowns are fun. Students decorate crowns with plastic jewels that are color coded (ex. each blue jewel they add represents a positive personality trait, ever green is….). They add these for themselves and then go around and others add jewels for strengths they recognize in that person.
- Here are some other activities I tagged for groups
I’m glad you are going to be getting help. That’s a big step! It is definitely okay for adults to use them :)
SOCIAL WORK/THERAPIST FRIENDS: peer supervision group is forming. group is geared towards those social workers who have had significant experience in therapy themselves and need a safe place to reflect on the challenges of going from client to therapist (and back again). (free) monthly meetings in NYC - first meeting will be at the end of March and the date, time, and place are currently being worked out now. Message me ( it-will-all-make-sense ) if you would like to be added to the list or would like more information.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): Gradual exposure is included in all components to help children gain mastery in how to use skills when trauma reminders or cues occur. The components are:
- P – Psycho-education and parenting skills
- R – Relaxation techniques: Focused breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and teaching the child to control their thoughts (thought stopping).
- A – Affective expression and regulation: To help the child and parent learn to control their emotional reaction to reminders by expanding their emotional vocabulary, enhancing their skills in identification and expression of emotions, and encouraging self-soothing activities
- C – Cognitive coping: Through this component, the child learns to understand the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors and think in new and healthier ways.
- T – Trauma narrativeand processing: Gradual exposure exercises including verbal, written and/or symbolic recounting (i.e., utilizing dolls, art, puppets, etc.) of traumatic event(s) so the child learns to be able to discuss the events when they choose in ways that do not produce overwhelming emotions. Following the completion of the narrative, clients are supported in identifying, challenging and correcting cognitive distortions and dysfunctional beliefs.
- I – In vivo exposure: Encourage the gradual exposure to innocuous (harmless) trauma reminders in child’s environment (e.g., basement, darkness, school, etc.) so the child learns they can control their emotional reactions to things that remind them of the trauma, starting with non-threatening examples of reminders.
- C – Conjoint parent/child sessions: Held typically toward the end of the treatment, but maybe initiated earlier when children have significant behavior problems so parents can be coached in the use of behavior management skills. Sessions generally deal with psycho-education, sharing the trauma narrative, anxiety management, and correction of cognitive distortions. The family works to enhance communication and create opportunities for therapeutic discussion regarding the trauma.
- E – Enhancing personal safety and future growth: Provide training and education with respect to personal safety skills and healthy sexuality/ interpersonal relationships; encourage the utilization of skills learned in managing future stressors and/or trauma reminders.
There are a ton of great blogs on here that makes this a difficult question… My favorite tumblr would have to be traumatherapist. Her posts really resonate with me and I am so glad that she is willing to share her experience with the tumblr community. Sara Staggs runs it and I think she is just great :)
For people looking to follow other mental health related blogs i created a list here.
Play Therapy: I received an “ask” with some questions about becoming a play therapist
- Is there a degree in play therapy?: There is no graduate degree in play therapy. You would get any degree that qualifies you to be a therapist (MSW, MFT, Clinical Psych PhD, PsyD, etc.) and then get an additional certification in PT.
- Do I have to be a Play Therapist to do play therapy?: You can take child therapy courses in grad school and be qualified to do play therapy. You just cant use the title “Play Therapist” without the certification.
- What do I need to do to become an RPT and how much does it cost?: The infographic above breaks it down pretty well. It is a combination of clinical hours, training and supervision. You can start working on these requirements while still in school but need a license before you apply. If becoming an RPT is a goal then consider looking for an agency with an RPTS who does training/supervision because otherwise paying for those things can be very expensive.
- What are the advantages of becoming an RPT?: There aren’t that many RPTs so it will make you stand out and highlight to clients that you specialize in working with children. The APT will also put you on their referral list and it will make it easier for you to teach graduate-level child therapy courses.
CBT Worksheets: I created this worksheet using “Pages,” that aims to assist clients in challenging negative thoughts.
It’s not always easy to find a therapist that is a good match for you right away. Therapy101 compiled this list of suggested questions that may aid in your search.
This is commonly used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Often it is utilized to help clients gauge their behaviors and how well they align with their chosen values.
"Regardless of the way you are feeling, how are you living with respect to the fulfillment of your values? Though <behavior> may make you feel sad or upset, what will it do in helping you to live more closely by your values?”
For many, it can be good to just print it out and keep it in a place where it can be easily seen. Of course the dimensions can be changed, too, as some people may not have major relationship, leisure, etc. values of great focus. Some of my clients will write dates at different rings, and have a separate “key” which explains the details of what happened at each date.
It’s been helpful for my clients who shy away from meaningful behaviors because of cognitive fears. Example: “If I support my sister through our family struggles then I will cry, and then I will feel weak.” She knows that this makes her feel more distant to her sister, and so when she “gives in” to that thought then she is not living by her values. She feels better at first because she avoids crying, but long-term she acknowledges that she is only avoiding her values. So we use this as a reminder of her value to be a better sister, even if that means she has to cry from time to time.
The answer to this question is more complicated that you would think so I will try to break down the different titles for you.
- Social Worker: This is a very broad title, and many people that use this title do not actually have a masters degree in social work. Many states have title protection, which means that in those states it is a misdemeanor crime for someone to call themselves a social worker without at least a Bachelor of Social Work or higher. However, other states do not regulate this title and people can use it without having a social work degree. Examples of this would be the majority of people working at child services or in lower level non-profit jobs.
- Clinical Social Worker: A Clinical Social Worker is someone who has a Masters in Social Work. MSWs are qualified to be therapists in the same way as any other master’s level therapists (ex. MFT). Not all people with an MSW are therapists. In my program some people didn’t take any therapy classes their 2nd year. An MSW is a broad degree that lets you do both clinical and non clinical work in a number of settings. Click here for a list of social work careers.
- Therapist: An MSW is one of many degrees that qualifies you to be a therapist. An MA in Counseling and a MFT are two other masters level therapy degrees. PsyDs and Clinical Psych Phds are also therapists and have the title “psychologist.” Aside from therapy they also conduct research and can do psychological testing.
- Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists a doctors/went through medical school and can provide therapy (however most don’t) and also write prescriptions. Most clients will have a therapist and then get any psychotropic meds they need from a separate psychiatrist.
I outlined the differences between grad programs and career options a little more here.
I am really glad that so many people in recovery feel comfortable reaching out and asking me questions, but I’m not able to put the level of thought and care into the responses that they deserve at the moment. It takes a lot of time/effort to come up with and create posts so that is where I want to focus my energy. If my schedule becomes less hectic and I have more time to commit to tumblr I will let you all know. I still welcome private messages and anon asks related to becoming a therapist/grad school, activities, my career, etc.
There are a number of therapists on tumblr from a wide range of backgrounds who love answering general mental health questions:
- Therapy 101
- Connect The Dots Backwards
- It Will All Make Sense
- The Humbled Therapist
- Passionate Therapist
- Kati Morton
- Tenacious Twenties
- Twin Therapists
- Hide in Plain Sight
- Trauma Therapist (for general questions about trauma)
Click here for a more extensive list of mental health-related tumblrs.
- School Supply Fidgets: Pencil toppers and pencil grips. They also have specially made fidgets that go on pencils but are cool less subtle. My favorite would probably be a kneaded eraser (a “putty rubber” in the UK) like artists use.
- Jewelry: Twirling a ring or necklace is discrete. Regular jewelry is fine, but they also specially make fiddle rings. You could also get a horribly tangled necklace and try to undo it.
- Pocket Fidgets: Just stuff something with a strange texture in your pocket (ex. a koosh ball). If you have a sweatshirt with a front pocket then you could fit some regular fidgets in there. I have a box of small fidget puzzles that are fairly discrete.
- Finger play: You could fidget with your fingers or make up some sort of tapping pattern. Some people scratch off nail polish.
- Key Chains: You can carry around some pretty strange looking key chains with it still being socially acceptable. Just get a one with a cool texture or even convert your favorite fidget into one.
- Hair Clips: The ones that snap open and shut.
- Mindless Activity: You could bring something to do that doesnt require thought and divide focus. One example is to weave a hemp bracelet (if you are already good at it/can do it on auto pilot).
- Check out this tumblr for more ideas: FantasticFidgets