Creative Social Worker

Worry Bag: I typically do this activity with adolescents but it could be used with any age.  With young children consider using drawing instead of writing.  It works best with clients who are overwhelmed and experiencing a lot of anxiety.

Supplies: Cards (I used 3 shades of blue construction paper), paper bag, markers, “worry scale” (optional).

Goals: Process anxiety; Increase self-expression and disclosure; Help client to self-regulate before the end of the session; Track client’s progress; Increase communication during family sessions.

 Directions:

  • Let your client decorate their “worry bag” while you set up cards on worry scale and explain the activity. 
  • Have your client write a worry on one side of each card and then rate the intensity of that worry on the back.  Take time to process each worry and help them reframe as needed.  Worries should be specific.  For example, if a client worries if her “family will be okay,” (a vague, overwhelming worry) then have her explain what that would look like and then break it up into many individual worries.
  • Have the client place each worry in the bag.  If this activity ends up being emotionally intense then put away the bag with enough time to wrap up the session.  Engage in cognitive restructuring as needed.
  • I keep the bag and then often bring it back out during future sessions when we are discussing progress.  I have the client rerate their anxiety level on the back of each worry card.
  • I have also brought the bag out during family sessions and had the client read the cards to their family members.
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