Counseling Craftivities

Confident Conversations

Listening with my Heart: Book Review and Positive Self Talk Activity

Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Gabi Garcia, author of Listening to My Body, just published another book that is a great addition to any counselor’s shelf! I recently had the opportunity to do a book review of her newest title. It is truly a wonderful book for exploring self-compassion and positive self talk with elementary school students!


Book Review

Listening with my Heart is a heart-warming story about Esperanza, a girl who is great at showing kindness to others but sometimes isn’t so kind to herself. She is quick to take in a lonely cat and befriend a new student, but she has critical self talk for herself when she misses a big goal or makes a mistake at school. Esperanza learns that it while it’s important to be kind to others, it’s equally important to be kind to herself!


The author expertly manages to describe physiological experiences associated with emotions and provide concrete ways to show kindness to others while maintaining a focus on self-compassion. The examples she uses of experiences in sports, academics, and theater are relatable to a multitude of students.


This is a great text to use with students who demonstrate perfectionist behaviors and negative self talk. If you have students who need to learn to cut themselves some slack and understand that mistakes are a normal part of life, this text will be a great addition to your counseling bookshelf!


Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Positive Self Talk Activity

Gabi Garcia includes several activities to do with your students after reading Listening with my Heart, and you’ll find one additional activity below.


To give students a chance to explore positive self talk, download this free activity. Students create pockets with a happy heart and a sad heart. Then, students practice listening with their hearts. They will read statements and pay attention to how their hearts feel as they read the words. Their hearts will help them to decide if the statement is something that would be kind to say to a friend or not kind and sort the statements into the appropriate pockets. Explain that statements that aren’t kind enough to say to a friend are not kind enough to say to ourselves! Like Garcia’s book teaches: we should treat ourselves like friends!


From this activity, students can begin to identify negative self talk patterns they currently have. The positive self talk statements included will help students begin to combat the negative pattern. Blank rectangles are also included for students to create their own positive self talk statements as they begin to treat themselves like friends!


Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Discussion Questions

  • Review the statements that are too unkind to say to a friend. How many of these statements have you said to yourself?
  • What feelings do you have when you say these things to yourself?
  • How can viewing yourself as a friend change the way you talk to and about yourself?
  • What is one way you will show yourself compassion today?
  • Name 3 reasons you deserve self-compassion.

You can grab Gabi Garcia’s book, Listening with my Heart, on Amazon. For more great titles for your counseling bookshelf, check out these Confident Counselors’ favorite titles!

Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk



Bibliotherapy, Book Suggestions

What is your go to Self Care Activity?

You know you should be incorporating self-care. You know you can’t pour from an empty cup. Sometimes it just takes hearing from others who get it. So Confident Counselors, what is your go to self care activity?

Counselor KeriMy two favorite self care activities are baking and napping. I love to bake for a couple of reasons. I am a hands-on person, so using my hands to make something is really gratifying for me. I also love that I can make a large batch of something that I can then share with a neighbor or coworker to build relationships. Read More »

Monthly CCC Tips

School Counseling Professional Goals for 2018

Meet your school counseling professional goals by considering workshops, specialist training, national board certification, or clinical licensure.

Get Ready for 2018!  Maybe some of you wish 2017 could last a little bit longer and others are thankful that 2018 is almost here. Either way, the pressures of starting something new has hit, so let me ask you – what are your school counseling professional goals for 2018?


Professional Goals for a New Year

I do not want to pressure you nor do I want to add any stress to your life. So if your goal this year is to sit and drink margaritas on a beach, go for it. However, if you are not as fortunate and fall victim to the constant question when you head back to work: “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?”, the pressure to choose something is real. If you have no idea what your school counseling professional goal is going to be, let me help. Read More »

Professional Development, Setting Goals

Ready, Set, Second Semester: Make a Plan

It’s time to get ready for 2nd semester! Wait, you say, the 1st semester isn’t even over yet?! Exactly! In order to hit the ground running after winter break, it’s time to crunch some data and create a plan for your 2nd semester so that you are supporting the right students in the right way. Planning school counseling services does not have to be a daunting task. Prioritizing using your data will make it more straightforward.


Where to Start

If it’s one of those years and you didn’t make a plan or your plan is so far off track you need to start from scratch, I got ya. Here are some places to start to determine which students to prioritize: Read More »

Setting Goals

5 Fun and Easy School Counseling Activities Using String

5 Ways to Use String in School Counseling And Other Counseling Craftivities

Creating hands-on counseling lessons can be easy and inexpensive. You can often find inspiration by looking through your junk drawers or craft boxes! String is one craft supply that many people have sitting around and it can easily be incorporated into hands-on lessons for school counseling. String is a great tactile tool that is inexpensive and comes in many colors, textures, and types. Check out 5 school counseling activities using string.

5 School Counseling Activities Using String

Read More »


Conversation: How do you handle requests for assistance around the holidays?

Develop Systems and Work with Others

Little Miss CounselorTriaging requests for assistance helps me from feeling overwhelmed by the high number of Christmas assistance referrals that I receive each year. First, I start off by making a spreadsheet with the requests. Whether I have resources for Christmas or if the deadlines have passed and those resources are no longer available, I inform parents that I have added their name to my waiting list. Some years I may have someone contact me mid-December wanting to sponsor a family. Read More »

Monthly CCC Tips

School Counselors and Career Development

Career Development and school counselors

Kids get excited about discussing future plans. Talking about what they want to be is very motivating and helps students see real world connections. If you’re like me, there are so many career development resources available, it can be overwhelming. I want to engage students in career development activities that are fun, interactive, and purposeful.


How do I know what to teach? What do my students need? Where do I start? Read More »

Career Development

7 Simple Ways to Calm an Angry Parent and Improve Parent Communication

parent communication angry parents

From time to time, you are going to have a conversation with an angry parent. No matter how hard you try and how much you give, there will eventually be somebody who gets upset for one reason or the other. Remembering some simple rules for dealing with angry parents can help you improve your parent communication skills.

Before you can begin to speak rationally with a parent who is upset, you must first try to discover the source of the anger. Knowing how a parent has arrived at their current state can be critical information in communicating effectively with them. Read More »

Career Stress, Parents

Tales, Fibs, and Lies: Handling Lying Behavior

school counseling interventions for working with students who lie

Tall tales, little fibs, or flat out lies: how do you work with students who stretch the truth? While some adults might be inclined to tackle lying head on with confrontation, confident counselors know these situations may require more delicate footing. Let’s take a look at a few things to consider when faced with lying behavior.

How do you work with students who lie? Read more to find school counseling interventions for handling lying behavior.

Determine the Function of the Lie

Perhaps most important when working with students who lie is determining the function of the lie. Is your student lying to avoid punishment or is he lying to gain approval of adults or peers? Like all behavior, understanding the function of the lie will help us to forge the path ahead in working with the student.

Ask yourself, what happened before the lie? What was going on in the classroom or in the social context? Conduct a functional behavior analysis to gain insight into the context of the student’s behavior. Read More »

Behavior, Individual Counseling

Conversations: How Do You Make Restorative Justice Meaningful and Effective?

Restorative justice is the kind of approach that school counselors should be advocating for in their districts. When implemented well, it has the ability to shift the focus from punishment to repairing and learning from mistakes. How do you get your administrators and teachers on board with this paradigm shift? Even more important, how do you make it a meaningful and effective experience for students?

Restorative Questions are Key

The Sunny Sunshine Student Support StoreRestorative justice practices emphasize the importance of positive relationships and restoring these relationships when harm has occurred. Restorative justice practices decrease behavior issues, discipline referrals and bullying, while increasing in instructional time, school climate, and positive relationships between staff and students. Read More »

Behavior, Monthly CCC Tips, School Culture