Refer to CCT Manual, “Worksheet 5.2: The Feelings Thermometer” (page 76)
The feelings thermometer is a tool used widely in research and therapy and is of particular importance in CCT for monitoring the child’s level of distress during the intervention, especially during the upcoming narrative and exposure sessions.
Traumatized children often have difficulty identifying and verbalizing their emotions. The thermometer provides them with the language for describing the intensity of their emotions while also helping them regulate their reactions by recognizing when they are starting to be triggered.
Explain to the child that the feelings thermometer serves to gauge the intensity of emotions: 1 is the least intense feeling and 10 is the most intense feeling. Guide the child to label the feelings between 1 and 10 and decide which number signals it is time to use coping tools (suggested cut-off is 4).
Some children can’t gauge the difference in numbers. In that case, do a simplified version, using a 1-5 scale or explaining the concept with faces (emoticons) or colors, for example, red zone means “I’m feeling bad”; yellow “Warning, I’m starting to get there”; green “Things are going well.”