Creative Expressions, Art Therapy Blog

Resilience Artist Trading Cards

This week’s focus was on the qualities of resilience that each individual has gathered/learned over the course of their life. We talk frequently about getting “gifts wrapped in shit” in the Creative Expressions group – that perhaps the circumstances were not ideal, however many of the characteristics we learned from them are essential to our survival and thriving.

Materials: Standard size deck of playing cards (approximately 3-6 cards per person), mod-podge/glue, acrylic paint, magazines to cut up and collage, tissue paper, scissors, paintbrushes, paper, markers

What we did:
We started out by taking one piece of paper and dividing it into 4 sections: “young child, teenager, young adult, now” Then creating a list of positive qualities that we had gained during those periods in our life.

then each person was asked to create a card for each quality. They could design it however they liked, with whatever materials spoke to them. (THIS is a site with samples of ATC’s)

Here are some samples of the Resilience-themed ATCs we created:

We spent the majority of the time creating the ATCs. Then at the end we asked everyone to turn to the two people on either side of them, and give them each the gift of one of their resilient qualities. The end result would be that each person leave with cards they created for themselves, in addition to several created by other people.

Themes that emerged:

First it was difficult for some to come up with positive characteristics, either due to low-self esteem/perspective, or because their past was so traumatic it was difficult to see any positives.

Trying to use art to create something that represented curiosity, open-mindedness, and other resilient qualities was thought-provoking and harder for some as well.

The idea of giving someone else some of your cards was really triggering. A few reasons came up: a)it was something personal, a part of their life/past and it was hard to give up. b)some were afraid it would be insulting to say “here you need this quality” c)it was difficult for some to have people in their group that they perceive as having it “all together” (like the group leaders) and made them feel uncomfortable. We discussed the idea that everyone has gifts they can offer.

If I was going to do it again I would change a few things: It may be interesting to have enough time/limit the time so that everyone made as many cards as there are participants in order for everyone to trade with everyone. Also – I would spend more time processing the triggering idea of giving up parts of your resilience as gifts to someone else.

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