Carrying Past Problems Around

Ann described how she helped her foster daughter, Megan, appreciate the impact all her past problems were having on her current life. Ann gathered a big pile of different size rocks. For each problem from Megan’s past, like how poorly she was treated by her mother, Ann instructed Megan to pick out a rock to represent it. They went through all the different terrible things that had happened to Megan. For each one Megan picked out the size rock that represented that horrible event.

Once she had selected all the rocks, Ann asked Megan to get a backpack from her room. She then instructed Megan to put all the rocks in the backpack and put the backpack on. How does it feel to wear the backpack? “It’s really heavy.” Take the backpack off. How does that feel? “Much better!

Ann then compared constantly carrying around all those past problems to carrying the heavy backpack filled with rocks. She encouraged Megan to consider which rocks she could leave out knowing that she could always come back and pick those rocks up later. This exercise really helped Megan feel how she was allowing her past problems to influence her current situation.

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