Creative Counseling Activity for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
by Shana Fromkin (Park Ridge, IL)
I work with adults with Down Syndrome. It can be challenging because my clients have different levels of functioning and some of them are not able to express very much verbally.
I recently started using the feelings bottles as part of work on feelings identification. After doing a few sessions about feelings identification, I introduce the feelings bottle.
I have picture cards of people expressing different feelings that I use for a variety of activities. I lay the cards out and have clients pick beads, sequins or small objects that remind them of that feeling and put them on the card.
Clients usually choose particular colors of beads or sequins to represent the feeling. Then we make the bottle. When it's done, I explain that the client is like this bottle and has all of these different feelings inside. Sometimes the feelings get very shaken up and this is when it is time to do something to calm down.
We practice shaking the bottle and letting it be calm again. I have found that this activity works very well with clients of different skill levels. They all really enjoy making the bottle and taking something home to remind them of our session.
I have also found it useful with clients who are difficult to engage. The activity also provides the set up for talking about self calming techniques at the next session. I would highly recommend the "feelings bottle" activity to other practitioners who work with adults with intellectual disabilities.
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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.
*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.
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