I Am Feeling…
An interactive tool for communicating emotion after trauma in children and adolescents.
By Laura Grace
The book “I am feeling….” is designed to aid expression of thoughts and emotions for children experiencing mental illness or trauma related symptoms. It is an interactive tool that is created for, and for use with, children aged up to 12 years. It can be used by the child themselves, to keep with them to access at any time of the day to express their emotions to others, or to use the strategies within the book to manage their thoughts, feelings and symptoms themselves. Parents, teachers and other caregivers can sit with the child, and use the tool interactively to open up communication with the child, and to advise them of strategies to help the child cope with their symptoms. Therapists too, can use the book with children to open up communication in the first session of therapy, or at the beginning of every session to regularly check in with the child about their thoughts and feelings.
(click on the image to download the manual)
The need for this type of tool is evident in the research, where children of this age group have shown difficulty in expressing or describing what they’re feeling or experiences (Cohen, 1998). If language impairments are also apparent in a child in this age group, this further frustrates the child’s ability to communicate accurately about what they’re experiencing. The use of pictures allows the child to select a face, or faces, that best corresponds to their emotion at any given time, and to associate a word with that to describe it. Language impairments can exist prior to the trauma, or be due to the trauma itself (Department for Child Protection, 2015; Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2012). Furthermore, the book can open up communications earlier in children within school settings showing signs of emotional dysregulation and frustration. Use of the book in this instance, can aid in early identification, and intervention of trauma.
(click on the book cover to download a PDF of this tool)
Copyright Laura Grace, 2015, all rights reserved.
Laura Grace is a Provisional Psychologist completing her Master’s degree in Health Psychology at the University of Queensland. Laura’s previous life involved a career in banking and exploring/travelling, before redirecting towards Psychology. Laura has a particular interest in trauma, neuropsychology and management of chronic illness and pain.