Another Step In “All Tied Up with Worry”

all-tied-up-with-worry-04If you have read my blog, you know I love sharing great therapeutic activities. I have already posted one of my favorites, which is using yarn to learn more about a person’s worries (see the post “All Tied Up with Worry“).

During a family therapy session I added another step that provided a strong visual impact and gave my clients an option to continue this technique at home.

  1. I found face shapes of varying shades at a craft store and asked each client to choose a face that would represent them.
  2. Instead of cutting paper squares to label the yarn, I used address labels since they are also stickers.
  3. I then asked the clients to stick each worry in the “brain” of their face shape.
  4. Once this was done, we talked about how worries can fill up their head and make it hard to think of other things, such as schoolwork.
  5. all-tied-up-with-worry-05We then took each worry out of their “brain” and talked about various possible solutions and ways to deal with the worries. If the client chose, they could cut the worry down and make it shorter to indicate they felt a little better about it.

Since we used address labels to stick on the face shapes, I demonstrated removing some of the worries. I emphasized the importance of talking about our problems and applying any stress reduction techniques we had reviewed in our sessions together. For this particular client, we referred to the relaxation flip books completed in a prior session.

all-tied-up-with-worry-066. The client took home their project and some blank labels so they can remove or add worries. This was helpful for the mother to understand more about her child’s worries and removing or cutting a worry down also felt really good for the client!

Mom actually told me the whole family is on board in discussing their worries and the sizes of their worries with one another. This dialog has already improved the family’s communication and given the child permission to share their feelings with the parents. I was very excited to hear this!

Therapy is always full of opportunities for creativity. If you find another twist to this activity, or any others, please feel free to share!


Original Post On 4/16/12: Therapeutic Activity: All Tied Up With Worry

Originally posted 2012-07-08 17:40:51.

  • Thanks Teresa! This is one of my most used and most loved activities!

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  • shelley morse

    thank you so much for all your creative activites… a busy social worker in a public school system…I can’t tell you how much this means to me to have these resources at my fingertips….keep up the good work!!

  • Thanks for reading Ana!

  • Heather

    Thank you! This is super. Where did you find the face shape paper?

    • Heather, I found these cut outs at Hobby Lobby, a craft store. I have also done this activity on plain paper and drawn a face or head shape with black marker. Either one is effective! Thanks for reading!

      • Susan Shaw

        Love this idea.

        You could also use paper plates as the face.

  • Cynthia

    The “Worry Brain” will be most helpful as I do psychosocial care to parents of typically developing children and children with special needs. I hope to get updates and more of these practical workshops that are easy to implement and manage. Thank you for sharing these beautiful ideas.

  • great idea! I am a mom of a worrier, and also a pastoral counselor. I am recently seeing more children and this is an excellent, easy idea! Thank you for sharing.

    • Hello Debi, thank you for the encouraging response. I’m so glad you like this activity. I posted this a long time ago and continue to use it today.

  • Dr. Amisha thakkar

    Hi kim… I hav used a similar technique with my patients but there is a different approach to it… Like i have told them to have a tree of solutions pinned up in the house lobby wherin each family member would put in a leaf of a solution on the tree for any problem and they would have an oppurtunity to cboose among various options to solve their problem… Instead of looking at thier worries everyday they have a glance at solutions and this brings in a feeling of positivity and victory among themsleves… I have got wonderful results in family sessions by this… Hope it helps u too

    • Dr. Thakkar this is an excellent point and thank you so much for sharing! I find it to be a process with clients in being able to identify and share their problems, while also finding areas of change and control. Thank you for reading and posting!!

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