Expressive Arts Therapy Idea: Mapping Out Change

The following expressive arts therapy idea is called Mapping Out Change and is by contributing guest author . Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares an art therapy idea or activity to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Some of these activities may need to be facilitated over more than one session, or modified for different ability levels, size of group, budget and size of work space. Learn more about eating disorder therapy here.

Why This Idea?

New classes, new books, new friends, new schools, new campus, new roommates…it must be September! September is a month that for many is fraught with changes. Change can be great for many people and welcomed with open mind, hearts, and feelings of excitement and anticipation. But too much change may be overwhelming and result in feelings of anxiety and loss of control. Feeling out of control may instigate some impulsive actions in order to regain a sense of control. It is helpful to have a “map” of what changes are ahead and to identify ways to manage the changes that are not self-destructive or ineffective.


Large sheet of drawing paper, markers or colored pencils, (optional) magazines, scissors, glue sticks.

How To:

  1. Make a list of changes that are coming down the road in September.
  2. Color code them in terms of difficulty with red being the most challenging and or anxiety provoking, and blue being welcomed and easier to adjust to.
  3. Incorporating the color coding draw a road map similar to a “road trip itinerary” with each change being a “stop” on the map route.
  4. Brainstorm on what road side assistance or services will be helpful for managing the changes and show them on the map as well. For example, on a road trip it is important to know where you can get gas or meals along the way; or where to build in a rest stop or a time for some scenic viewing. Using this analogy helps to view the changes ahead as part of life’s journey and to instill a sense of control over the circumstances that lie ahead.


  1. bj says

    Sounds like a great idea…i’m going to tweek it little and use it in group counseling

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