Iceberg Poster: Externalizing Feelings

by Deborah Grassman
OpusPeace.org

The iceberg poster provides a visual tool to help people bring hidden feelings to the surface. Pieces of velcro make movement and attachment easy. A submarine with two periscopes for viewing above and below-the-waterline sights, invites self-disclosure (see image below).

Clara, a veteran with cancer, was telling me that her family didn’t want to hear anything except that things were getting better. She said her church community made her feel as if she had no faith when she voiced feelings of fear, anger, or pain. As she spoke, her voice was dull and lifeless. I showed her the iceberg poster. “Pick some words from the ice under the water and bring them up to the surface,” I said, gesturing to the iceberg.

Clara surveyed the assortment, bringing a few words to the tip above the water. As she told me about the words, more emotions kept surfacing. By the time she finished, more feelings were above the waterline than there were spots to hold them. “I need to come back here every week so I can see what I’m feeling,” she said with a laugh and lilt in her voice that reflected the vitality that had surfaced with her tears.

Clara reminded me that the vitality of expressing feelings can melt icebergs.


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