Tree of Hope

Tree of Hope - Art Therpy Exercise

Tree of Hope – A reflective Art Therapy exercise using the visual metaphor in which a tree represents your life, the various elements that make it up and your hopes for the future.

It’s been a strange, challenging and unpredictable year. As we look forward to 2021, I am drawn to a reflective exercise to help shine a light on 2020 and the way we experienced it.

Throughout the world, at all times and in all places, humanity has pictured, in one form or another, the image of the tree. The tree of life symbol is ancient and is represented in Christianity, Judaism, Celtic culture, Ancient Egypt, African, Aboriginal Culture and Buddhism. The tree of life symbol is respected throughout the world for its vitality and strength, unity and connection and the life we are all living.

So, let us now sit back and visualize our own individual tree and see if it helps us relate to some of our 2020 experiences.

Gather some art materials, such as coloured pencils, pastels or paint.

  1. Find a comfortable place and take a few deep breaths, to ground yourself and be present.
  2. Start by picturing the background, and then continue to reflect on your surroundings.
  3. Visualize your roots. The roots of the tree represent your strengths and can be the foundation to build on and grow on.
  4. Move on to picture and draw the trunk and branches.

When drawing or painting the leaves reflect on the following:

  • One word to represent yourself this year
  • One, or a few feelings you’ve experienced this year
  • One thing you did for self-care
  • One person you relied on for support
  • One thing you look forward to in the future

This exercise will help you to take a look back and see what hopes and wishes, we can take from the year that’s gone by. As the new year begins, may this little exercise help you find joy and peace in being present.

And please share your experiences of the “tree of hope” activity with me.


  • The Tristesse Grier Centre, “Tree of Hope Activity”.
  • “The Tree of Life Symbol of the centre”, Roger Cook. Thames and Hudson, London.(1974).
  • “The tree of many colours, A strong Symbol of Life”.