Too often, girls especially, are targeted at a young age through media and savvy marketing to believe that “I am not enough”, “my body is not good enough, skinny enough, pretty enough”. This crushes a young girl’s self-esteem and confidence, placing them in even a more vulnerable, emotionally charged way of existing.
A powerful art-based play therapy technique is creating an Inside - Outside Box. This intervention is focused on helping identify how a child sees themselves, as well as how they think others perceive them. In this activity, the making of a collage is used as a powerful, symbolic representation of the self.
Shoebox (multiple sizes)
- The child can choose (or can bring into session) a shoe box with a lid. Instruct the client to cut out different words, pictures from the magazines that represent how they believe others view them. Glue them into a collage on the outside of the box and lid.
- Explore how others perceptions may or may not be true, what the client thinks about and feels while looking at their “outside box”.
- On the inside of the box, the child repeats the process using different magazine pictures and/or words. However, on the inside of the box is how they see their true self and identity.
- Ask the client to share what each symbol or word is, and its symbolic meaning to them personally. Process any thoughts and feelings that may surface.
Suggested Processing Questions:
- How does it feel to look at the outside of your box in comparison to the inside of the box?
- What would you change about or add to the outside of your box, if anything?
- What would you change about or add to the inside of your box, if anything?
Note: This may take several sessions to complete. You may also want to assign it as “homework” for tween and teen clients.
The Inside - Outside Box is a wonderful tool that elicits powerful emotions and helps the tween or teen begin to see their whole self which creates a launching pad for blossoming self-esteem and self-worth.