The ‘Tree of Life’ approach enables people to speak about their lives in ways that make them stronger. It involves people drawing their own ‘tree of life’ in which they get to speak of their ‘roots’ (where they come from), their skills and knowledges, their hopes and dreams, as well as special people in their lives.
This exercise strengthens people’s relationships with their history, culture, and significant people in their lives.
Brief summary of the overall task
- Have a pen and paper, coloured pencils
- Draw a tree, and add words / expressions to the different parts! Use coloured pencils, markers and your creativity!
- Use the following questions as guidelines!
- Where do we come from?
- What is our heritage?
- What are our deep rooted survival skills and instincts?
- Where do we live?
- What do we choose to do each day?
- Describe your present!
- What do I value?
- What do I care about?
- Where does it come from?
- How am I seen through the eyes of others?
- Where does that come from?
- What are my hopes, dreams, ambitions, wishes?
- Do I have big and/or smaller hopes?
- How can I connect them to myself, my family, my community? Where do these hopes come from? (their history)
Leaves (Re-membering lives):
- Who are special to me? (Alive or no longer living)
- What have those special people given to me?
- What (of that) would I like to share with others now?
What are the key words that you want to write on your tree of life?
Groups of any size or a solo activity. Be creative and use your imagination!
The moderator measures the time during the activity and after the individual trees are made, encourages the participants to join their trees into a ‘forest of life’. The moderator can facilitate the discussion of some of the ‘storms’ that affect our lives and ways that participants respond to these storms, protect themselves, and each other. Stories can be shared within the group and similar experiences are looked for!
Time and schedule
- 20 minutes drawing
- 10 minutes discussion