Problem solving through book-making for clients with PTSD

9” x 11.5”

Purpose: Teach the client a guided self-dialogue procedure in which he/ she learns to recognize maladaptive self-talk, challenges its biases, copes with generated feelings, overcomes avoidance, and reinforces his/ her accomplishments; review and reinforce progress, problem-solve obstacles.

Goal: Learn and implement guided self-dialogue to manage thoughts, feelings, and urges brought on by encounters with trauma-related situations.

Therapeutic Properties of the Media:
Therapeutic Properties of the Media:
A life narrative is brought to fruition through book making (Chilton, 2007). If altered book making can be viewed as confronting the book as a symbol of authority, then creating your own book can be viewed as changing your own story, with you as the authoritative figure as changer and changer of the object (the book itself). You are writing your own story. Through the creation of the paper, you are creating the fabric of which to write the story on. This is powerful in making a statement about altering your own self-concept.
According to Chilton (2013), “The book is (re)contextualized as art, which speaks uniquely to the viewer in a dialogue presupposed by the multiple symbolic and metaphorical meanings the object carries through the physical features of the new art form. These aspects of altered book making suggest it is a particularly appropriate artistic method to use to explore postmodern arts-based research.”
Writing and sharing an uplifting story can help someone get unstuck. “This practice is good for clients who may be stuck on the stress train and don’t know it. According to Altman (2014), “Hope is a learned skill that can be modeled through storytelling… This is an important interpersonal practice that can be effective in groups as well as for individuals. In groups, uplifting stories of hope can be told to the entire group, brought in as assignments, or shared partner to partner.” While the stories in this directive may not be public, elements of them will most likely be conveyed through sharing work and books at the end.
Altman, D. (2014). The Mindfulness Toolbox: 50 Practical Tips, Tools & Handouts for Anxiety, Depression, Stress & Pain. PESI Publishing & Media. Chicago
Chilton, G. (2007). Altered books in art therapy with adolescents. Art Therapy, 24(2), 59-63-477.
Chilton, G. (2013). Altered inquiry: Discovering arts-based research through an altered book. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 12(1), 457-477.

  • Adaptations: Bring in construction paper or other 8 ½” x 11” paper that they can use to put inside the book. Encourage using newsprint cut out inside (although it is easy to rip), or acetate, which can be drawn on with sharpies to create layering.  
  • Creative Options: Encourage the clients to bring in collage materials from home before starting todays session, that they can use to decorate the covers of their books. Have some collage materials like food box containers (like a cereal box), magazines, newspapers that they can use to cut out images and words to glue to the covers
  • Download Full Creative Exploration Below