The Tree at the Top of the Hill
This projective drawing and storytelling
strategy from Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy involves
a tall and proud oak tree that has lived long and weathered many
challenges, harsh winters, and challenges. The tree has seen wars,
famines, and droughts and has weathered them all. The tree has many
stories to tell and one night the people of the village gather under
the tall and dignified oak tree to hear one of the many stories it
could tell. The story pulls for tales related to the harsh
circumstances that some kids have endured such as abuse or domestic
or community violence.
you are comfortable doing so, close your eyes for a moment and try
to picture that tree standing tall and proud on top of the hill. Try
to get a clear picture in your mind of the tree, and when you are
ready gently open your eyes and draw as best you can that tree on
top of the hill that has survived and weathered so many hard times,
but still stands tall and proud.
Follow-Up to the Drawing
Include in you
inquiry questions about others included in the picture.
could you give to your drawing?
If the tree
could feel what would it be feeling in your picture?
What is the
relationship of any others in the picture to the tree?
Is the tree
in your picture healthy or sick?
strong or weak?
Is it dying
or will it live for at least another hundred years?
about the tree?
Every person who has been on a long journey has many interesting
stories to tell. This tree has had a long journey and has lived
through many changes. If the tree could talk what stories would it
tell? The tree has seen and survived so many challenges. The people
of the village knew it had many stories it could tell. Pretend that
the people who live in the village climbed the steep hill and are
gathered around to hear the story of the tree.
to the Story
Therapists can look for central and emotionally significant themes
that capture key feelings or conflicts with which the child is
struggling and then cross-validate these themes by examining the
child’s other stories. The therapist can then employ metaphors in
communications that will capture, in a powerful way, these central
themes, feelings, and conflicts. The themes can also be used in
interpretative activity and in reflections upon subsequent artistic
creations. Some additional questions that might be asked of the
the tree decide to tell its story?
Why did he
pick this time to do it?
be a good title for the tree’s story?
did the village people learn from the tree’s story?
Does that tall,
strong, proud tree that has survived so much
remind you of anyone?