Tree of Strength: Art Therapy Exercise


Depending on what is happening in our lives (emotionally, physically, mentally), there may be times when we become immersed in negative or critical thoughts. These thoughts can cloud our mind, and it can be easy to forget how to use our supports and our strengths for self-care.  

The metaphor of a tree can be an effective visual tool, allowing us to visualize and label the things that give us strength and resilience, helping us to stay strong and move through challenging times.


Mindfulness Visualization

Take a minute to close your eyes and visualize what type of tree you feel best represents you. It may be a palm tree by the beach, or a large oak tree, or perhaps a tree in the white winter snow. Think about the roots of your tree, the base and the trunk, the branches and then the leaves (you may have no leaves, or you may have flowers or fruit) this is your tree.


Note:  There may be times when it feels challenging to think about our positive qualities and our support system. If this art making process seems confronting or challenging, you may want to think about someone you are close to (friend of family) and create a strength tree for them instead.


 25 Minutes of Art Making

Use the materials provided (pencils, pastels, textas, collage) to create an image of your tree. As you are doing this, you may want to label the following (or you may just want to think about them);


Roots: Think about your own roots and what keeps you grounded. Those things about you that are underneath the surface.  

Trunk: Consider your support system. Who/what gives you support and nurtures you to grow.

Branches: What are your strengths? Do your roots/support help in building your strengths?

Leaves: Think about your achievements. The things that you feel proud of.


Reflective Questions in Pairs

1.    What were some of your strengths you were able to think about? Were any of them influenced by your support system/ roots?

2.    How was the process of representing yourself in a visual metaphor of a tree?

3.    Can you think of any other visual tools that could help our participants to reflect on, and label their strengths?