I thought that I would post my first directive on here in lieu of writing up the process note that I should be writing for it (still counts as work)!
On Thursday, it was my turn to run the group task in my group process class. The directive I wrote up was one of my own invention, where participants would be creating their own spirit animal!
After checking in the with group by asking them to identify a high point or something they were looking forward to that day, I began the session by reading the Urban Dictionary definition of a spirit animal just to clarify that it a) did not necessarily have to an animal, or b) it did not necessarily have to be a real animal.
The structure of the art-making process was closer to that of an open studio where members were allowed to choose whatever material they wanted in order to create their animal. Some sculpted out of Sculpey or water-based clay, and others created a two dimensional image, by cutting paper, or drawing (and in some cases both).
The primary, therapeutic goal of a task like this is to have the participants find shared, positive qualities with their spirit animal. Towards the end of the art-making time, I asked them to think about the personality of their creation, and during processing I asked them to name at least two positive characteristics that they had in common with their image.
There’s a psychic distance that is allowed with this symbolic representation of the participant, which encourages an objective assessment of a person’s positive traits that may be harder for some people if they were to, for example, make a puppet of themselves, or create a self portrait.
This directive may be particularly successful with children and adolescents as it can call for a certain degree of imagination or playfulness that may be harder to achieve with adults.
I did this again, the following day, at my practicum site (population: adult inpatient), and it was a good Friday afternoon activity! I varied my processing question at the end, instead asking what it was that their spirit animal would say to its creator. This was also successful, as one patient that I have been working with for several weeks had a very positive message from her animal (she’s slated for discharge in the beginning of this coming week), and another patient, a recent re-admission, had a statement from her creation that suggested her desire for strength and support in several ways.
I hope this was helpful/informative!
Let me know if you guys enjoy this sort of thing and want more! I may have another one in store after Wednesday!