top of page

Creating Emotional Care Tags in Art Therapy: A Path to Understanding and Expressing Our Needs

by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC

Art therapy offers a unique and effective approach to helping children (and adults) navigate their emotions. One specific directive within art therapy is the creation of "care tags." These tags are akin to the labels found on clothing that provide instructions on how to care for the item. In an emotional context, care tags can help individuals identify and communicate their needs during times of emotional upheaval.

Experiencing challenging emotions is an inevitable part of being human. Feelings like anger, distress, sadness, hurt, and embarrassment can be overwhelming, often leaving us unsure of what we need to navigate these emotions effectively. Learning to identify and articulate our needs during such times is a critical skill for emotional well-being. This process involves introspection, self-awareness, and, often, the support of others.

One of the primary challenges in asking for what we need is the vulnerability it requires. Admitting to ourselves and others that we are struggling can feel like exposing a weakness. There is also the fear of rejection or misunderstanding, which can prevent us from reaching out. Knowing who to ask is equally challenging; it requires trust and a belief that the person we turn to will respond with empathy and support. This trust is built over time and through positive experiences, which are not always guaranteed.

Children and Emotional Needs

Children, in particular, face significant hurdles in understanding and articulating their emotional needs. Their cognitive and emotional development is still in progress, making it difficult for them to identify what they are feeling, let alone what they need to feel better. Without a clear understanding, their attempts to communicate can often be misinterpreted as misbehavior or moodiness. This is where the role of caregivers and educators becomes crucial in guiding them through the process of recognizing and expressing their emotions constructively.

Art Therapy and Emotional Care Tags

The process of creating care tags in art therapy involves reflection and creativity. Participants are asked to think about what helps them feel better when they are upset, what they need from others, and what actions they can take to comfort themselves. This exercise not only promotes self-awareness but also provides a tangible way to communicate these needs to others. For children, this can be especially powerful as it transforms abstract emotions into concrete steps.

Care tags can serve as a practical tool for promoting healthy emotion regulation. By externalizing their needs, children can better understand and manage their emotions. For instance, a care tag might include actions like "I need a hug," "I need some quiet time," or "I need to talk about what happened." These simple statements can make a significant difference in how a child copes with difficult emotions and how caregivers respond.

Furthermore, the creation of care tags can foster a sense of agency in children. Knowing that they have specific strategies to rely on during emotional distress can be empowering. It shifts their perspective from feeling overwhelmed by their emotions to feeling equipped to handle them. This empowerment is a crucial aspect of developing long-term emotional resilience.

In conclusion, learning to understand and communicate our emotional needs is a fundamental skill for emotional health. The challenges in asking for help and knowing who to ask are significant but can be mitigated through supportive relationships and effective strategies like art therapy. The use of care tags in art therapy is a particularly insightful approach, offering a practical, creative, and empowering way to promote emotional regulation and comfort. By incorporating such techniques, we can better support both children and adults in navigating their emotional landscapes.

To Schedule an Appointment for Art Therapy or Counseling

To Schedule an appointment, please click on the Book an Appointment button.

To learn more about Holistic Health Counseling Center, please visit out website at    To read our latest blog, see this page:

art therapy


bottom of page