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Week 1, Lesson 3: Shield of Courage

Today’s focus skill is using our Shield of Courage.The shield is made up of positive beliefs that can be used as self-talk. Especially during times of stress, we may feel a loss of control and therefore react with a fight/flight/freeze response by engaging in aggression (verbally or physically), running from difficulties, or getting “stuck”.

The shield is used to remind us of our unconditional qualities that do not change based on circumstances and they don’t go away because of mistakes or inappropriate choices. Our shield provides us with protection from stressful situations (changes, difficult work, unwanted chores, negative statements from others, limits, etc.). The shield is used to help us stay focused on the present, our “job” at the moment, and help us be our best.

The shield includes the affirmations:

I am important I am courageous. I am strong. I can do hard things.

Suggestions for using this skill:

● Review and practice belief statements/affirmation and create a shield for home (please see below). If desired, have all family members decorate a shield and feel free to add new belief statements of your own creation. Remember, these skills are for everyone ☺ ● Empower your child to use positive beliefs/statements especially during difficult times. ● Create a family shield or family belief statements/affirmations. Use statements such as we are safe and healthy, we can get through difficult times, problems are opportunities to learn and grow, problems can make us stronger, etc. ● The middle of the shield has four parts. Each part represents basic needs for all human beings (a sense of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity). Every person will try to meet these needs in their lives; some people will use healthy ways and others will use unhealthy ways.

As child therapists, we constantly remind ourselves of these four basic needs and we view behavior as an attempt to meet each need. Use this strategy at home. For example, think of the situation where your kitchen floor is covered with an accidental cracked egg in addition to other spilled food from your child’s attempt to make things on his/her own. Your initial reaction might be to yell about making a mess, but alternatively, you could think that he/she is trying to meet the need of independence. You could encourage him/her to further develop the sense of independence by cleaning it all up on his/her own too ☺. Let’s continue to be understanding and curious about our children’s behavior and try to identify the need they are trying to meet.

Together, we will get through this. Hope you all have a wonderful day.


Marissa Lloyd, LPCMH

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