This intervention is very helpful with adults and teenagers.

Hand out a sheet of blank paper. Have the client fold the paper in half. Have the client, in 5 or 6 sentences, describe the event and how they feel about it. On the other half of the paper, write what they can take from the event, what they would do differently, and/or what strengths they utilized to survive the event. Tear the paper in half. Burn, crumple, cut or tear the half of the paper with the experience and the feeling. Encourage the client to keep the “lesson learned” half of the paper.

This experience is wonderful when addressing shame and guilt with patients who are experiencing anxiety over past events.

Part of the magic is in the distance created from the event by taking it out of the air (words) and mind (thoughts) and putting it on something that can be manipulated (paper). Then enacting the metaphor of “destroying” and “keeping”. Try it!

Experience: Let Go of Shame
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