I have seen many adaptations of the Worry Wall intervention in my time as a therapist. I have to admit though, this is my favorite!
This intervention helps children identify their anxieties, gain confidence, and gets them up and moving. Overall, I have found that active interventions are very successful. Kids like to move! Providing them the opportunity to be active while doing therapeutic work at the same time is win-win for all!
Here is what you will need for the intervention:
I highly recommend purchasing Melissa and Doug Cardboard Blocks. These specific blocks are not necessary to complete the intervention, but are certainly helpful! They are lightweight, do not hurt when they are thrown, and are quite durable for being made out of cardboard!
To start off, instruct the child to build a wall out of the blocks. Anxious kiddos tend to ask for more instructions. What I generally do is reflect their anxiety and desire for their wall to be perfect. If that’s not enough and they’re still giving me that “deer in the headlights look,” I say, “your wall can be wide, tall, short, long, however you want it!”
After the wall is built, tell the client that they are going to identify some of the things that get them worried, anxious, or nervous. Have them brainstorm some of their anxieties and assist them in writing the worries on post-it notes.
Have the child place the post-it notes one at a time on a block. I prefer having the client put one post-it note per block to make it easier for the rest of the intervention. I generally encourage the child to identify five or more of their worries.
Now, the fun part! I tell my client to get rid of these worries, we need to tell them to go away. We’re going to practice doing that by confidently telling them to scram while hitting the block down!
At this point, most of my anxious kids will look at me with big eyes and ask “can I really hit down the blocks?” Yes you can! This gives the kiddos power and control over their worries and their anxiety as a whole.
I generally help the child brainstorm things that they can say to their worries, similar to my Worry Bully Intervention. These might include “go away,” “get out of my brain,” “scram,” “get lost,” “get out of here,” and so on. If I think the child needs this part reiterated, we sometimes build the wall back up and repeat the process.
Have you ever done a variation of the Worry Wall Intervention before? Tell me how it went in the comments below!
Until next time, Play On!