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A Thanksgiving Art Therapy Exercise For

Groups or Individuals: Thank You Cards
November 14th

The following art therapy exercise is by contributing guest author Dr. Deah Schwartz. If you like
this activity, stay tuned for more art therapy exercises from Dr. Schwartz in the future as she
explores ways to help people with body image and eating disorder issues.

Thank You Card Art Therapy Exercise

Materials: Card stock paper, markers, pens, pencils, collage materials, glue sticks, postage
stamps, and envelopes.

How To: I know that this may not seem to be the most unique or original of Therapeutic Arts
activities but because of the unique focus of the activity (see the Why section) it can be a very
powerful one.
1. Have your clients sit quietly and think about at least one positive contribution that food
and or their body have made in their life.
2. While thinking about this, also ask them to think of images, colors, words, which come
up that are associated with these positive memories/connections between food/body and
their overall sense of well being.
3. Using all of the art materials available, have the client make a thank you card with these
images on the outside and then write their appreciation story on the inside. Of course they
can use graphic images on the inside as well, it doesnt need to be just text, as long as it is
specific and clear when read out loud, what is being thanked and what it is being thanked
4. Have each member of the group that wants to share their card read it out loud and see if
there are any similarities. Discuss the upcoming holiday in the framework of self-care.
5. Put the cards inside the stamped envelopes and have each client address them.The
therapist mails the cards to the clients in time for Thanksgiving.
Why: All too often we focus on the negative aspects of our relationship with food, and our
bodies. We forget that we may have developed some of our attitudes and actions for reasons that,
at the time, were the best coping strategies we could come up with. Eventually we may outgrow
these strategies or they may become inappropriate and, at times, self destructive. We
intellectually know that it is time to let them go, but process takes time. In the meantime, it is
important not to vilify yourself for what you have done to take care of yourself the best way you
knew how. Thanking your body, fat and all, is a healing action. Thanking your food and what it
did to help you is also a healthy part of the process of change.
Writing these notes, is a tangible ritual that concretizes this process and allows for the client to
consider moving forward.