Dream Boarding – An Art Therapy exercise


A dream board, otherwise known as a vision board, is an arts-based collage of images, words and affirmations that present your goals or intentions for the future. It encompasses what you want to do, who you want to be, where you want to take your life, what the next steps might be for planning your next month or year. As a source of inspiration, it can be a powerful tool to motivate yourself and help you to express your wishes and dreams as you move ahead. Ideal for all ages, the dream board has potential to encourage positive thoughts and increase self-confidence. As a reminder of your hopes and goals, this process only takes about an hour and not only is it enjoyable, but its fun!

I first heard about this activity in a movie called The Secret. One of the speakers had made a dream board of all the major aspects of his life and with a practice of gratitude, was successful in manifesting everything right down to his future house. I was amazed at how this simple exercise could lead from expressing ones subconscious to realizing your dreams in reality over time. And in terms of investment, you likely have everything you need lying around the house. You don’t need anything but your imagination, some scissors, paper or poster board, glue or tape and magazines or picture books.

  1. You need a substrate to adhere the pictures and words to it. You can try using a cork board with tacks if you like the flexibility of modifying it with the coming months, but you can also use glue or tape. You can create a vision board once a year, once every three months, or whenever the mood hits you. A nice variety of magazines will make this process easier (but try not to read all the magazines if you are rushed for time). I also recommend having colored pens, pencils or oil pastels to draw or write in addition to the cut out images.
  2. Create a list of your wishes on a separate notebook or piece of paper. Your wishlist may include a dream job, dream relationship, dream pet, dream trip or dream house or car. There are no limits to this and please expand your horizons and feel free to wish for the stars. There is no need to restrict your vision for the future; just because you don’t have the money in the bank yet doesn’t mean you should leave out your dream house or car.
  3. Visualize the future. Think in greater detail about the coming year. Get comfortable and maybe turn on some soft music for inspiration.

    Think about:

-how do you want to feel?
-what do you want to do?
-with whom?
-where do you want to be?
-what do you want to have?
-what do you want to create in your life?
-what do you want to accomplish?

  1. Find your images, phrases or words. Look for images that you feel a gut reaction to, that you are attracted to, that call out to you. Trust your first instinct and don’t judge your impulses. Don’t censor your choices, be open to all options. Flip through magazines and seek out images from your checklist or list of wants. Then pull out your colored pens and write your own selection of words and images, filling in the gaps around the images you have chosen.
  2. Assemble your dream board. Sort through your selection of words and images and group them together according to themes. Play with their placement, overlapping images and text, creating layouts that appeal to you and interest you. Wait until you are happy with your work to make it more permanent. When you have a mock up of your collage and have placed each piece in their special spot, use glue, tape or washi tape to adhere it to the page. Trust your initial judgement – I find that, when looking back on the process, I naturally chose imagery and text that fit with my deeper thoughts and subconscious.
  3. Meditate, reflect and express gratitude. When complete, find a prominent spot in your favorite space to display your dream board. Consider posting it on the fridge, in your bedroom, or on a mirror bathroom. Remember to look at it each day as a form of inspiration. Say “thank you” to the universe/God/Higher power for bringing in your desires. While you are at it, express appreciation for all that you have already
  4. Journal about your goals and dreams and expand upon your dream board. Invite the senses. What do you smell? How does it feel to be there or have that item? Are you joyful, ecstatic, happy? What do you hear? Evoke a sense of love and appreciation for having this item in your life in the here and now (even though it has not yet manifested). Immerse yourself in the feeling of having it already.
  5. Make a list of everything you are grateful for – your life, your family, friends, relationships, material belongings, experiences, etc. Even something as simple as finding a great parking spot is worthy of gratitude.
  6. Return to your dream board again and again. Spend some time each day dreaming and envision these dreams as your very own. Imagine you have accomplished them. Keep using it as a source of positive inspiration for realizing your vision for the future. Revisit your dream board to see if your original list comes true! This is in essence a fun, art-filled way of putting prayers or wishes out to the world.

    Expect the best and trust that good things are just around the corner. It is helpful to believe that something wonderful is about to happen!


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