Body of Emotions

I learned this activity from my colleague, Jennifer Methvin, LPC a couple years ago and have loved it ever since. Thanks Jenney!

In this activity, kids are asked to talk about various emotions. I will often have 4-5 emotions in mind and will allow the child to add emotions to our list if they want. For each emotion, I ask the child two main questions: 1. What does your body feel like when you are happy, sad, etc.? and 2. Tell me about a time when you recently felt this emotion and what was happening. The child can then choose the color they want for that emotion (I take notes for a key later on). The child will then use that color to paint or color where on their body they often feel this emotion.

As you see in the pictures, kids will have many variations. An interesting notation to make is that the first pictuer was done by a child who was struggling with high emotions and extreme expression of those emotions (aggression) and the picture below it with the dots was done by a child who was internalizing their emotions. Notice how the child internalizing the emotions only used small dots to represent their emotions as they are not used to expressing their emotions outwardly.

Author: Kim Peterson, MA, LPC-S, RPT

Kim is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, and Registered Play Therapist in Dallas, Texas.

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