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Talking Points 7 Children, The inner child, Long standing anxiety and depression

Posted Oct 15 2009 10:04pm

Children and Mood Mapping

Dear Liz

My question is
I'm working with my children's primary class on an emotional health programme. Could you suggest some ways that I could present the ideas in mood mapping to them, but in a format more suited to the 5-9 age group?
Many thanks for your help!


Hi A ,
Yes definitely, you can use Mood Mapping! - I have used it with children
I find that you need to act out the moods for them - they may immediately understand the chart but if you can act the different moods for them, they pick up on them quickly. And are happy to join in.

Then add in some simple strategies - such as talking to someone they trust or making a plan.

As you know, kids tend to like to do things! And join in physically if possible.

Children are naturally good at recognising different moods. If you start teaching them calm by whispering or playing "Sleeping tigers" they will often quieten down, become calm and sometimes even fall asleep!

They recognise active - running around the playground and they do recognise fear - especially if you can find examples that mean something to them - Again they also recognise misery and can pick it up in someone else. They are often a lot more naturally empathic than adults!

You sound as though you have an excellent programme - because children need to learn mood management early! Its no good waiting until they are in trouble later in life. I believe that we should be teaching Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, ie reasoned thinking and NeuroLinguistic Programming, ie effective use of the imagination to children as part of their education for life. Mood Mapping is the same, it is learning to recognise moods, nothing more!

Many thanks for your email - I hope this helps
Best wishes


Hi Liz,
Thanks so much, that's really helpful! I'll get hold of the book when I can, to enable me to understand as much as possible. I'm a kinesiologist, so coming at it from that angle, but the more input I have the more I can pass on to the children. I absolutely agree with you that if we get them sorted now, they won't need to be dysfunctional adults later, it's so important!

The new Scottish Curriculum for Excellence have included emotional health as part of their core studies, which is so wonderful. Though I do wonder how the teachers are going to deliver that effectively, given how stressed and messed up most teachers are! But, it's a start.

Very best wishes,



Mood Mapping and the Inner Child

Question = Does mood mapping work if a person is not particularly good at analysing themselves, and perhaps still very much in their inner child, through past abuse trauma? can mood mapping help to release trapped emotions in any ways?

thank you


Dear B,

Mood Mapping is about helping cope with the present. It is about raising awareness of how you feel now. In one this is what matters, because if you feel good and feel stronger in yourself you are better able to cope with what has happened in the past.

I am not in favour of too much digging around in past events, because I believe our brain is best placed to sort this out and that we only have to deal with consciously when it gets too bad. We have been around for millions of years and terrible things have happened to us. We need to be able to get on with our lives in the present and in the future. I believe Mood Mapping helps that to happen.

Terrible things do happen, and it is easy to feel trapped by the past but that by focussing too much on the past it is hard to move forward. Personally I have found that making the effort to forgive people is helpful.

Regardless of how personal events feel to each of us, for the most part other people are driven by their own motives and have things going on their own lives that we cannot begin to understand. Most people, however horrible and nasty they appear, and however personal their attack seems, just do not understand the damage they are doing to the people around them.

Bullies can rarely see what they are doing wrong. Even convicted paedophiles do not think they have done anything wrong. And from the "victims" perspective (I hate the word "victim" perhaps "bullee" is better), I believe the best way forward is to forgive the bully because otherwise the bully can go on hurting their victim for years to come. If you can forgive that person, you gain strength from that act of forgiveness. This does not mean it is easy. Loving support from close relationships helps

and we all still need to make sure we do our best to stop it happening again. Nurturing hurt makes the pain worse. It has to be left in the past, so the mind and body can heal and move forward into the future.

Nurturing the inner child is important - we would all benefit from a little more play in our everyday lives. Everyone is so serious - no wonder we are miserable and spend so much time surfing the Internet!

I hope this helps

Best wishes



Dear Dr Liz

your replies make good sense..and thank you. I use zpoint process to clear anything that troubles me...( another form of energy psychology , like EFT..but with no tapping and it really does work!)


it fits your criteria of not having to dig around in the past..or even enjoy being a victim..its a superb tool in fact...and might well compliment your approach..I am interested to look at your mood mapping though.

I also totally agree about work..I have often thought that people actually work far too many hours..and invariably many people hate their work too! Not a great combination for good mental/emotional health!

look forward to learning more and very good luck with your newsletter and website etc.



Longstanding Anxiety and Depression

Dear Liz ... I have just happened upon your wonderful website . I have suffered anxiety/depression (manifestations feel more anxiety based) for 20 years now. I have had several major depressive episodes and am currently battling one that has lasted 5 + years now !! For me the worst symptoms are crippling muscle tension in the scalp and neck and chronic exhaustion/ tiredness.
I have taken several coursee of anti - depressent - venlafaxine, Seroxat,Citalopram, etc etc ..
nothing has worked for me ..they just dont seem right either ! I have recently just started meditation/tai chi type classes and also psycho-therapy - trying to throw the kitchen sink at it !! I feel so tired and in so much pain most days that I struggle to make it along to these classes...
it just seems like a a never ending viscious circle... ie I try and help myself .. am determined to help myself but soemetimes just pushing myself can make me worse.. I know that yielding and acceptance are big part of recovery ... but anything else you can reccomend ? anyone I can go and talk to ? any advice would be gratefully recieved. I, like you have found
the medical fraternity to be on the whole pretty bloody useless ..
especially Psychiatrists !! in my experience they seem to be pretty much
the worst of the lot ..
Hi C,
I am a great believer in fish oils and st John's wort. 2-3 gms of cod liver
oil, from Boots or or vegepa. Definitely keep on with the fishoils and multimineral multivitamins

In the long term good physical health helps good mental health and the first and easiest thing to do, can be to start fish oils, very little effort, once a day and over the following three or four weeks you wil feel the benefits.

Finding out the cause of your problems and managing it, is important. These things do not come out of the blue
Depression is largely exhaustion and all too often we have lost the ability to relax - so yes, acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude are important!
You mention work, I think a significant amount of poor mental health starts out as bullying at work - and I don't think that psychiatry has much to offer in those situations because it treats mental illness as a personal failing of the individual
I am sure it is worth your while reading the book! because it does give lots of strategies to manage mental health
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