We modified the DBT House* activity to include a grief component. This activity is a great way to allow a client the opportunity to explore his/her grief journey in the context of other areas in his/her life. The activity may may be used during an individual session and it works great during family sessions. You could also use this activity in a group setting.
- Drawing utensils (pen, markers, colored pencils)
Step 1: Outline of house
Instruct the client to draw the outline of a house with the following requirements.
- 4-story house
- a door
- a chimney
- a flag
Note: I’ve noticed that all my client’s draw a house that looks different and this is okay. It seems that the house drawn is a good representation of the client’s personality, so allow them the freedom to draw it without expecting it to look a certain way. Here is an example, but remember, it is only an example. Encourage creativity!
Step 2: Fill in the parts of the house
Instruct the client to complete the following parts of the house:
Foundation: On the floor of the house, write the values that govern your life.
Walls: On the walls of the house, write the people or things who support you.
Roof: On the roof of the house, write the things or people that protect you.
Chimney: Coming out of the chimney, write ways that you blow off steam.
Flag: On the flag, write what you want people to know about you.
Door: On the door, write the things that you keep hidden from others.
1st Floor: On the 1st floor, write words that describe your grief journey.
2nd Floor: On the 2nd floor, write things that have helped you in your grief journey.
3rd Floor: On the 3rd floor, write anything positive that may come from your grief journey.
Top Floor: On the top floor, write a declaration of hope for your future.
*Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills, 101 Mindfulness Exercises and Other Fun Activities for Children and Adolescents: A Learning Supplement, 1st Edition by Riddoch & Eggers Huber Christensen