Self Esteem/self-image, negative distortions
Recommended Ages: K through High School
To develop awareness of one’s self-esteem, and how the comments of others can affect our self-esteem
Dry erase marker, eraser (or tissue/paper towel), Look At Me Mirrors (or other handheld mirror)
Start out by having a brief discussion about self-esteem and what the kinds of things people might say that can hurt or benefit our self-esteem. A story book such as I Like Myself can be used to introduce the concept of self-esteem to younger children.
There are two parts to this activity. First, ask the client to use a dry erase marker and write some of the negative/mean things others have said about them onto the mirror (I usually ask them to fit as many as they can on the mirror). Once the client has finished writing as many things as they can think of or feel comfortable with, ask them to look into the mirror and talk about how they feel seeing all of the words on their face.
As you process the client’s feelings and discuss the words begin to erase negative statements or words they believe are untrue about them. Some of the hurtful statements or negative thoughts that are more entrenched may need a lot of discussion, and the discussion can be continued in future sessions.
Part two of this activity involves identifying positive comments. Following the first part it is very useful to reverse the task and write on the mirror the positive things that others have said about them.** The client is asked to hold up the mirror and process how it feels to see positive words and statements on their face, and how this feels when compared to the first activity. It is also useful to explore how true the client believes the positive statements are.
This may very beneficial technique for children experiencing a wide variety of challenges, and can especially helpful with bullies and their victims.
*The ChildTherapyToys Chalkboard is also a very good tool for this technique.
**Writing positive things about yourself can be a stand-alone activity, and does not have to be paired with part one of this activity.