Posted by: mentoringstore | August 6, 2012

Art Therapy Group Closings: ‘Give-Aways’

Closing with a “give-away” at the very end of a workshop can assist the experience and feelings of abundance generated in the workshop to flow out into the lives of the participants.  This is the therapeutic intention that was held during the series of Vision Board Workshops given through Envision 2012:  Designing Dreams.

Here are the top 3 recommended “give-aways” to consider when planning your next art therapy group closing.

1.  Food.  At the end of every vision board workshop (after the ritual closing), group participants were given a container of food left over from the buffet that was set out during the workshop.  This allowed participants to take food home to share with people in their world.  Their children, roommates, husbands and families were able to break bread together and celebrate in the birth of the participant’s vision.

2.  Cut Flowers.  The beauty of cut flowers provide delightful and inspirational energy that can serve to hold and maintain the feelings generated in the workshop for participants who take them home.

3.  Living Plants.  Plants require on-going attention in order to live.  When given to participants to take home after a vision board workshop they can serve as an environmental affirmation and focus point, reminding the participant of the vision s/he created.  Just like plants, it is good to water our visions daily and keep them in the sunlight of our conscious remembering.

The Prayer Plant:  A beautiful plant we found to give away during Envision 2012 was a “prayer plant”.  They are a hardy, tropical plant that opens during the day and closes at night.  Their leaves form the shape of two hands together in prayer.

Fear was the predominant feeling for workshop participants when they received the plants to take home.  They were afraid that the plants would die because they thought they did not have a “green thumb”.  Plants, like our visions and images are alive and they require us to take responsibility for their care.

Upon follow-up of the vision board workshop, it was heart-warming to hear the stories of these prayer plants in the women’s lives.  All of the plants survived.  One woman was inspired to begin bringing more house plants into her life.  Some women reported having to transplant the plants because they had grown so much.  One woman shared an insight she had:  “What I discovered was that all they really needed was love.”


Prayer Plant in Waiting Room

An Environmental Affirmation for the Art Therapist:  After the workshop, I kept 3 prayer plants in my studio.  I find that their natural rhythm of daily movement draws my attention.  At odd times, I find myself noticing something different in a corner of the room and then I realize that the prayer plant has opened, or that it has closed.  I am reminded of the participants from the workshop.  I am reminded of the vision boards, our hopes, our dreams, and our images.

I find myself grateful for these little plants who serve in my studio to help me remember on a daily basis; who serve to continually hold our visions day in and day out; and who send our images and intentions out into the Universe in a prayerful pose each night and open to receive each day.

I hope that this blog inspires you to get creative with give-aways that can serve to hold the benefits from your group art therapy workshops for you and for participants.

What give-aways have you found particularly therapeutically effective with groups you have run?

Please leave a comment and share your experience so that we may learn from each other.


Dr D



  1. Other giveaways that that were most meaningful to me were the tokens given out. I liked the small hearts and angel tokens with words on them.  I often keep them in my pocket, only to reach in find them and be reminded of personal work, intentions, practicing gratitude, acceptance, and forgiveness.

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