2nd Edition

Draw on Your Relationships Creative Ways to Explore, Understand and Work Through Important Relationship Issues

By Margot Sunderland, Nicky Armstrong Copyright 2019
    174 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Draw on Your Relationships is a bestselling resource to help people of all ages express, communicate and deal more effectively with their emotions through drawing. Built around five key themes, each section contains a simple picture exercise with clear objectives, instructions and suggestions for development. The picture activities have been carefully designed to help ease the process of both talking about feelings and exploring life choices, by trying out alternatives safely on paper. This will help to create clarity and new perspectives as a step towards positive action.

    Offering a broad range of exercises which can be adapted for any ability or age from middle childhood onwards, this unique book explores a range of emotions surrounding a person’s important life experiences, key memories, relationships, best times, worst times and who they are as a person. This is an essential resource for therapists, educators, counsellors and anyone who engages other people in conversations that matter about their relationship to self, others and life in general.

    This revised and updated second edition also contains a new section on how to use the superbly emotive The Relationship Cards (ISBN 9781138071018) to facilitate deeper therapeutic conversations.


    • How to use this book

    • Why use drawings and images to speak about feelings?

    • How to work safely

    • Key rules and guidelines in helping someone to speak about feelings

    • About sandplay and how to use it


    • You, your relationships, your life
    • Encouragers and discouragers in my life (past and present)
    • People in your life, as gardens
    • The cocktail party
    • Your relationships as walls, bridges, comfortable sofas & take off
    • Museum of too alone
    • My childhood memories: People as places
    • Relationship riches

    • My Relationship: Take off or stuck on the runway?
    • To leave or to stay?
    • The ‘nothing much happening’ times
    • A relationship that’s holding me back
    • People who energise. People who drain
    • Too many takers and not enough givers
    • Am I expecting too much from her/him?
    • Disappointing relationship or futile quest for perfect mate?

    • People you’ve been flying with
    • Flying together as a group
    • Collecting moments, not things
    • Oh, how we laugh!
    • Knights (posing as people)

    • Museum of hurt
    • When I can’t reach you
    • Life after losing a person or their love
    • The end of a relationship. What now?
    • Loving someone who isn’t good at loving
    • Do I matter to you?
    • No one listens / too unhelped
    • Rejected / not wanted / uninvited / redundant
    • On the outside of the group

    • Power over / power under / power with
    • Toxic shame
    • Managing conflict badly
    • Controlled
    • Emotional baggage
    • Hidden resentments
    • So many difficult/annoying people in my life 
    • Anger fuelled by pain from the past

    • Fear of intimacy
    • Withdrawal, avoidance and leaving
    • Fear of closeness and fear of distance
    • Fear of being in groups
    • Fear of being myself in case I am too much
    • Without a voice
    • Mistrust


    • The art of relationship (for one person)

    • The ‘when you…I feel’ exercise (for two people)

    • The ‘unfinished sentence’ exercise (for two people)

    • The 'like / don’t like it’ game (for two people)

    • The empathy game (for two people)

    • Our best and worst times (for two people)

    • Theories of motivation (for two people)

    • Paper conversations



    Dr Margot Sunderland is Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health London, Senior Associate of the Royal College of Medicine and Child Psychotherapist with over thirty years’ experience of working with children and families. Dr Sunderland is the author of over twenty books in child mental health, which collectively have been translated into eighteen languages and published in twenty-four countries. Her books, which form the Helping Children with Feelings series, are used as key therapeutic tools by child professionals all over the UK and abroad.

    Nicky Armstrong holds an MA from the Slade School of Fine Art and a BA Hons in Theatre Design from the University of Central England. She is the principal artist at The London Art House and has illustrated over twenty books, which have been published in many countries. Nicky has also achieved major commissions nationally and internationally in mural work and fine art.

    Julia Bird, Director of Thrive

    I am a founding director of a company that supports approximately 1,800 adults working in  education to understand if a child has emotional developmental interruptions and what to do to make a difference. We train many teachers and other adults working in schools. 

    Margot Sunderland’s books are recommended reading for those who attend our courses. Our trainees find the Draw On books very helpful in training and then also with their children - not just those children identified for special help. They deal with universal life themes relevant for all. I particularly like the theoretical explanation mixed with superb, doable activities/exercises and copyable handouts.

    Margot is an acknowledged expert in her field and her passion to make such important understandings and ways of working with troubled children accessible  to ordinary people - parents, teachers, support workers - is manifest in the old excellent editions. Her suggestions for the new editions for both books are really exciting. I certainly will recommend the new editions to the people with whom I work.

    What is needed are work books that give the basic theoretical understanding - e.g. why using imagery is a potent way of supporting children to process feelings - with very usable activities that ordinary people can use to great effect with their children or with the children with whom they work.

    The addition of the cards will help adults open the conversation with children/young people about difficult feelings. These are a real improvement on the books as they stand now. To have images that are so evocative will enhance the dialogue and give opportunities for all involved to tickle the imagination and make more sense and help the children digest their emotional responses to life situations that cause them such pain and difficulty.

    The new suggestions will take the work with children from labelling feelings without a real connection to deeper meaning to an integration of feelings, imagination and language that deepen awareness and supports emotional development.

    The cards will not go out of date as I imagine they will illustrate life’s difficulties that are timeless.

    I absolutely support the need for updated editions of these superb books and think the cards to be incredibly helpful in supporting children to tell their stories and process trauma.