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February 20, 2018

Bandaids - A Counseling Technique for Emotional Pain

By Dr. Richard Boyum

Sometimes when a client has a problem that involves a hurt, the healing takes longer than they would like. Because of clients/students' busy lives, the hurt and pain of an open emotional wound can present great difficulty. One of the simple symbolic techniques I use to honor a client's woundedness--taking the time to heal--involves the use of a band-aid.

Simply put a piece of paper labeling the hurt or wound on the padded section of a band-aid. The band-aid is placed on the nondominant arm. Clients are instructed that this band-aid, and what is underneath, honors the problem in the healing that needs to take place. This hurt can be honored by touching the band-aid when appropriate. At other times, individuals are encouraged to have the freedom to conduct those parts of their lives that are essential and important to normal functioning. The band-aid or dressing can be changed whenever it seems appropriate. The client is instructed to change the size of the band-aid as also seems appropriate. When the hurt has officially healed enough that the band-aid is no longer needed (time is the best healer) the band-aid is taken off for the last time. During this process of honoring and changing the band-aid/dressing, individuals are encouraged to develop experiences that will speed the healing and not make the pain or hurt worse.

See if this technique does not work as well for your clients.