Sunday, March 29, 2015

Small Boat in a Big Storm

With our students in the upper grades I do mostly activity-based psychoeducational groups.  We frequently lead "Chill" groups for students 10 and older.  One of the more meaningful activities students indicate on their post-group assessments if the "Small Boat in a Big Storm."  This is an activity that was originally credited to Bratton and Ferebee in 1999.  It is a relaxation exercise and drawing response.  Invite the group to close their eyes or look down.  Do a few minutes of mindful breathing then ask them to shift their focus from breathing to imagination.  "Imagine you are a small boat in a big storm.  The waves are really big and they are getting bigger.  The wind is howling and blowing fiercely.  You are rocking back and forth.  You are fighting the wind and the waves, but you are struggling to stay afloat.  Keep your eyes closed (or down) and think "How does it feel to be the boat? What is happening as you are blown by the wind and the waves? What is going to happen next? Then invite them to slowly open their eyes and draw a picture of themselves as the boat in the storm.  After the members have completed their drawings ask processing questions like, "What is happening as you are blown by the wind and the waves? What real-life experiences had like the wind dying and the boat fighting and winning.  You can add music to enhance this activity.

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