Heart Story Map

Pinterest is often the place where I get my new ideas for therapeutic activities and this week is no different. I saw this cool writing activity on Pinterest and I wanted to turn it into a therapeutic activity. The source was posted on Cafe 1123 (click the link to see other cool writing prompt ideas.) I really like the writing prompts that are given on the blog and I think they can be used themselves as a therapeutic activity if that’s your focus.

For my purpose, I took the activity and modified it. My example today focuses on a specific population: cardiology patients and their families. Note that you can change this activity to include other populations. There are suggestions for modifications at the end of this post.

Please note: I created this example while pretending I was a cardiology patient, so keep in mind that this map is for an imaginary patient.

The writing prompt is “Tell the sequence of events of your heart experience”. You can modify the prompt to help the writer focus on emotions, experiences, and so forth. Encourage the writer to jot down the sequence and re-arrange/add/subtract as needed. Next draw the outline of a heart on a clean sheet of paper. Starting wherever you wish, write the first point somewhere inside the heart. Draw a circle around it, leaving on part of the circle open. Take the next point and write it next to the open area of the circle, but not inside, and draw a circle around the second point with a section open. Continue in this manner until the whole heart is filled up and the sequence. You can draw a line from the beginning to the end if you wish to emphasis the journey. You can also color it in or decorate as you wish. Here’s my example that my hypothetical patient drew:

Heart Story Map

You don’t have to make it a path, and you don’t have to make it a sequence of events. You could prompt the writer to make a list of all the things he/she loves or events/things that make him/her happy in order to focus on the positives of his/her life. You can also have a parent make the story-line prompt for their infant or toddler which can then be shared with them when they are older and want to know the story. This is especially helpful since many cardiology patients are infants and they often receive multiple surgeries.

As always, you can make this activity into your own, and let me know how it worked out!

Heart Story Map Activity Notes

Age: All ages (parents can complete one for their infants

Materials Needed: Paper, pencil, markers, colored pencils

Therapeutic Value:
Legacy Building
Validation
Creativity

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