Vision boards are a widely known concept, completed by many to express goals through creativity. But just because it’s common, doesn’t make it any less helpful in mental health treatment. So what’s so significant about the vision board when in comes to addressing mental health?
- Vision boards help describe goals in more specific and tangible ways, and allow people to do just that, visualize. In social work, we often discuss SMART goals, but we can’t have goals we’re motivated to reach, if we don’t really know what it looks like. If a client wants to reduce their depression, a vision board can provide context and images for what that would look like for that specific person.
- Vision boards can give the “why.” Finding the why for mental health treatment is an important notion for clients in therapy. This “why” is the reason for healing, making progress, and even beginning therapy. It doesn’t have to be significant or deep, and for clients that are mandated to receive services, it could be just that. However, vision boards can describe goals and provide the motivation when there are bumps in the road. When feeling discouraged, a person can take a look at their vision board to be reminded of the why, and the reason for their journey.
- Vision boards challenge people to describe what they want to achieve, in a way that they haven’t thought about before. Often times, we can say or think to ourselves, “I want to accomplish….” We talk a lot, but are we following through? Vision boards provide the next step to complete the thought.
- Vision boards can hold motivation to obtain a lifestyle, rather than one thing. When creating a vision board, it can hold images and words that are meaningful to the specific individual. The project aims to create a holistic ‘vision’ for the future, and an aesthetic or feeling that one wants to obtain. With that, vision boards can provide a larger context for the goals we have, and tie it all together. Similar to creating a mind map, but with visual aids and powerful images.
- Vision boards are quite simply, collages, and can be used beyond the realm of goal-setting. When working in mental health, expressing emotions is a vital part to processing and healing. For some, it’s journaling, and for others’, speaking works. However, art and creativity can allow emotional expression for abstract feelings or experiences. Vision boards can describe a moment in time and how that experience effected the client. For a complete project, a client could create a vision board based on their past and one on where they are currently. This could also provide a measure of progress, or being able to show areas that haven’t been addressed.
Of course, vision boards are not going to dramatically assist with serious mental health conditions. However, they can provide an effective tool to perpetuate motivation during difficult times, or allow an effective activity to express emotions. As a therapist, I LOVE using vision boards and collages for clients of all ages and identities, and it’s a tool they can easily do at home.