Exercise: Explore your iceberg

Have you ever tried the iceberg activity? The concept behind it is that we all have iceberg moments in our lives; times when we share what's on the surface while hiding much deeper feelings or thoughts. Like the iceberg in the image above, what you see above the water level is just a fraction of what makes up the iceberg itself. Keep reading for more insight...

In the iceberg activity counselors encourage clients to dive a little deeper into their behaviors or emotional responses and look at what's under the surface. This is a great activity for anyone who's more of a visual learner. 

Here's what you do:

: Draw: Begin by drawing an iceberg on a piece of paper.

: Reflect: Next try thinking about a situation in your life that needs attention.

: Identify: Consider what emotions or behaviors of yours are associated with this situation and what emotions or behaviors you show people when in this situation. This is the top part of the iceberg, the "what people see" part. 

: Begin: 
  • Select one emotion that's most prominent when you're in this situation.
  • Write this emotion at the top of your iceberg.  
  • Under the water line you'll fill in all of the emotions, perceptions, feelings, desires etc. that lie underneath this behavior. Take your time to think about this, it might not all come at once. This is the "what people don't see or know" part of the iceberg. 

Here's a good example of an iceberg from the Gottman Institute

The purpose of this activity is to help you, and others if you choose to share, develop a better understanding of how what's at the top of your iceberg are really secondary emotions to deeper feelings under the water. You can use this activity to help you and your partner, friend or family member resolve a problem or you can simply gain some insight of your own by thinking about a situation that's causing discomfort in your life. 

Feel free to share your iceberg on instagram with me @amandavmft and use #icebergtherapy

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