Art Therapy Exercise: Challenging Your Need for Control

Coping Skills

Cheryl Tarnofsky

With Cheryl Tarnofsky

Do you feel the urge for control more times than not? If your answer is yes, know that this is a very common experience. In therapy, we practice “radical acceptance” as a tool to loosen the desire (or habit) of gripping control. How do we get there? One step at a time.

In this art therapy exercise, Frame therapist Cheryl Tarnofsky guides you through a watercolor painting prompt to demonstrate the experience, and feeling of, “radical acceptance.” After you complete the exercise, Cheryl walks you through a reflective moment, posing the questions below.

*No artistic skills required.

Here's what you'll need:

-- A large piece of paper

-- A cup of water

– Small paint brush

– Watercolor set


Exercise: 0:48

Reflection: 1:51

Post Activity Reflection Questions:

Using the principles of mindfulness, are you able to:

  • Observe: Can you observe what thoughts and feelings came up as you engage in this exercise? Were you able to observe yourself placing the watercolor on to the paper?
  • Describe: Can you describe to yourself or others how you felt or what thoughts were present? Were there any urges, resistance, frustrations, etc. that came up when you were encouraged to not manipulate the watercolor pigment?
  • Participate: fully be in the present moment of painting, paying attention to each stroke, each drip of the pigment

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