Suitcase Termination Activity (By Jodi Smith, LCSW, RPT-S at “Play is Powerful”): At termination, your client is finally ready to continue their journey on their own. Even though they will be leaving you behind, they can symbolically pack up everything that they have learned during their time with you to take with them. This metaphor is easy for most people to identify with and it is a fun activity.
Supplies: Plastic or cardboard suitcase (see tutorial here); Blank sticker labels; Paper luggage tag (real ones are cheap, but you could also just use the template); String; Cards; Travel stickers (optional)
Goals: Process termination; Provide transitional object; Help prevent regression; Identify accomplishments, goals, coping tools, etc.
- Have your client make and/or decorate their suitcase.
- Then they write something they will “take with them” from their time in therapy on each card provided (I print cards with travel clip-art on the back). This can be things they have learned, coping skills, supports, resources etc.
- You can also integrate this with the after-care kit I posted.
- On the labels they write or draw goals they have accomplished. (Like the old suitcases in movies that are covered with stickers of past travels). I also provide additional travel stickers.
- On the luggage tag they write where they are going next. This could be a new life stage (ex. my 8th graders usually write “high school”) or a goal they would like to accomplish that the contents of the box will help them achieve on their own.
- Process feelings about termination throughout the activity.