Emotional Thermometer for Anxiety

Emotional thermometers are a popular cognitive behavioral intervention for children and adolescents. It is often used to promote self-awareness and emotional intelligence. While it is often used to represent anger and physical aggression, it is also great to identify feelings and symptoms related to anxiety. The emotional thermometer for anxiety is used to increase awareness and healthy expression of emotions. It prepares the child to accurately identify anxiety, anxious symptoms, and physical responses to anxiety.

While this activity should be facilitated by the therapist, it is essential that the child leads at their own pace. The child should have full autonomy to label their level of anxiety, their emotions or thoughts related to anxiety, and their behaviors.

After completing their thermometer, I often ask the child to teach it back to me and then to their caregivers. I often do this in the next session. After the child explains their thermometer to their caregiver, I will ask caregiver if they can add anything to their child’s scale, such as physical behaviors that the child may not be aware of. Having the caregiver add input to the child’s visual warning signs of increasing anxiety allows the child increased insight into their anxiety.

WARNING: Please use intervention with caution. Facilitators of emotional thermometers should be mental health professionals who have received the mandatory training and credentialing to provide mental health treatment.

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