Anxiety · Groups · Individual Counseling

The Worry Box

I am always looking for counseling techniques to use individually and in small groups. There are so many ideas! I lean toward techniques and strategies that are easily accessible, effective, and FREE!

This post is dedicated to a strategy that I discovered on a fellow school counselor’s blog (Scrapbook of a School Counselor). As soon as I saw The Worry Box, I knew I needed to make one for my office pronto!

The Worry Box is a simple, yet powerful, strategy of acknowledging and coping with worry and anxiety. It can be used individually or in small groups, and with almost any age. With my K-5 students, I am amazed at how many children are carrying around worries every day, and I see that it holds them back from learning and playing freely like children should. Using The Worry Box, children can put their worries in a safe place and move on with their day, hopefully feeling more calm and free.

Making a Worry Box is simple. All you need is a box and something to decorate it with (paper, glue, glitter, stickers, tape, markers, etc). Once your box is complete, anyone can use it by writing or drawing their worries on pieces of paper anonymously and dropping them inside the box. They can choose to talk about it or not, leave it in the box or not – they are in control of their worries!

In groups, you could direct students to write or draw worries about the topic/issue you’re working on, and then discuss them anonymously. Imagine the depth of conversations you could have and the level of support your students would feel!

Here are some photos of my Worry Box. I used a fold-over magnetic box and covered it in neon rainbow duct tape to make it eye-catching. I wrote directions on how to use it on the inside.

I can’t wait to use it with my students! 🙂

The outside of The Worry Box.
The outside of The Worry Box.
The fold-over flap is magnetized to close.
The fold-over flap is magnetized to close.
Directions pasted on the inside cover.
Directions pasted on the inside cover.

Directions say: Write or draw what you’re worried about. Drop your worry into the box. Leave your worry behind – the box will hold it for you. You can take your worry back if you ever need it.

Examples of worries dropped inside.
Examples of worries dropped inside.

Examples say: “I feel worried about my dog!” and “I’m worried about math :(“

14 thoughts on “The Worry Box

  1. So…I’m going to use this as well! But I’m going to call it my “Box of Rocks” because my first (intro) lesson will compare rocks to worries/struggles and how heavy they would feel if we had to carry them around all day, everyday (I use a backpack to demonstrate the “heavy feeling”). I share that visiting with the counselor is a healthy, mature thing to do; it’s like stopping by to drop off some rocks, so one can go on with their day feeling lighter and more in control. I have a poster on the outside of my door that says “Lighten your load here” with a picture of a moose carrying a backpack so I will use this same clip art on my Box of Rocks! I may even make a notepad through our print shop that looks like a rock so that kids really can feel like they are putting their rocks (struggles/worries) into it when they write on it. 🙂 Thanks so much!

  2. I had a friend help me move a “hump-back” TV set that I no longer use. It’s an old, outdated one, and it is heavy. I had moved it once by myself years ago and it was almost impossible to do by myself. As we both moved it, it felt almost as light as a feather. So I compare this “humpback tv set” to the feeling we get when we are burdened down with worries and cares of this world. BUT when someone is there to help “carry that load” it makes life a lot easier!!

  3. Hi,
    How do you manage this from a safeguarding perspective? What if a child discloses abuse and you don’t know who they are because it is anonymous?

    1. Great question! Almost every time a student chooses to put something in the worry box, they also choose to share it with me. If they’re writing it down, they want to get it out! I have never had an issue with a big disclosure like abuse. It’s usually much smaller disclosures.

  4. Hi, used
    I work in schools as well as a social worker with young children. I like the way you use your worry box. Do you make just one for the children to put in that you you take away as a metaphor or do you have them make their own?

    1. Hi Phyllis. I have done both! I have a general worry box that stays in my room that any student can use, and I have had students make their own if they needed frequent access.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s