A wonderful resource that I use really helps individuals get to know themselves and what they need to do for themselves.

This resource is from Deal and Honey (St Lukes Innovative Resources) and I’m so glad I came across it.  I use it mostly with teens and young adults, but is also wonderful for kids and older adults because it can be delivered according to each persons age and stage of development.

It revolves itself around an interesting metaphor.

If you consider yourself a car… knowing there are so many different cars on the road.

Each car as we know has 4 wheels which make up our “total behaviour”;

Acting – front wheels

Thinking – front wheels

Feeling – back wheels

Physiology – back wheels

How does the individual use this?

In the following order:

First the individual determines what they are feeling, 

Second they notice what happens in their body

Third they consider what they are thinking

Fourth they look at how they are acting

Then the client is asked to consider what type of car they prefer to be driving instead, and this means 4 new tyres.  New tyres gives the opportunity for new feelings, body sensations, thoughts, and ways of acting.

As an example…

If you are unhappy, get on your front wheels and change your thoughts and actions.

This scenario allows for change, once you understand the connection between the wheels.

We tend to drive a car around all the time and we prefer certain cars (behaviours) and they become habitual for us.

We choose the cars we drive.

When we let others control us we are giving them the key to our car.

Stop signs remind us that we may need to stop and consider our actions.

Do we need to change cars?

We use thinking bubbles during the session to ask questions that help us stay in control of our lives.

We also plan a journey so we know what to do next…

This is an opportunity to identify and list actions that are needed to meet goals.

There is also a special character in this game:  “Max”.  

Max’s expressions and behaviours reflect what is happening in each behaviour.  Max is also a witness    an observer, who stands aside watching and mirroring what is happening.

When we see Max in the game, we can ask, what he is thinking, noticing, interpreting, wanting you to notice, and recommending you do?

Max can be a family member, a close friend, colleague, favourite teacher, hero, or even an imaginary friend.  Basically an extra voice, an alternative view point. 

This activity involves different parts of the car (steering wheel, brakes, accelerator, lights, etc) to help you understand how you work; the choices you make and the connections between your feelings, body messages, thoughts and actions.

Knowing how your car operates helps you ‘control your car’; take responsibility for your actions and make sound, healthy choices in life.

The engine of our personal car has five cylinders, all of which need to be kept in good order so that they can work together and keep us motivated.  Each cylinder represents;


Love and belonging



Fun and learning

Our rear wheels give us signals about what we are experiencing and how our body is responding.

Our car is a front wheel drive – what we do and think give us movement.

The steering wheel enables us to drive towards what we want.  It enables us to steer our car along a chosen path.

The drivers seat is for the driver only.  Only you should control your car.

Sometimes the passenger seat has a good passenger helping you navigate and give advice and notice your progress.  So choose someone who can really support you on your journey.

Headlights can help us see clearly.  We all have important people in our lives who can be our headlights.

You need to choose the right gear at any given moment.  Especially if we wish to reach our destination in the most efficient way without wasting energy or causing wear and tear on our engine.

A crucial skill is knowing how much and when to apply the accelerator.  We certainly need  a little pressure on the accelerator so that we can move forward.  But too much pressure on the accelerator can cause dangerous speeding and risking accidents.

Sometimes we need to slow our behaviour car down or even stop altogether.  Applying the brake works like a review, and gives us time to evaluate and reflect.

The windscreen helps us see the road ahead.  We need to know where we are going, when to turn the wheel, when to break, and when to give way.

Our windscreen is really a picture of the future.

At times we need to check the rear view mirror to see what’s been left behind and make sure nothing sneaks up on us unexpectedly.  Our past can affect us in lots of ways. 

Radio antennas are part of our perceptual system, useful when we are driving, as they keep us alert or informed about things.  Our radios let us know traffic conditions, road hazards and weather forecasts, all of which can help inform our life choices.  They also provide music to help us relax or programs to keep us entertained, alert and able to concentrate.

Just as your car needs fuel to run on, we all need energy to meet our needs.

Luggage can be heavy and slow us down.  We talk about emotions baggage – memories of past events, failings, frustrations and disappointments.  Some baggage can be painful, some pleasant.

We all have luggage and baggage that we have to deal with.  Trusted friends, family, and professionals can help us work out what to hold onto and what might be tossed out, or left behind.

And there is a toolkit for emergencies; they are usually our strengths and the strengths of those significant others around us.  We are our own expert mechanics.

I hope you enjoyed the summary of how we can use a car metaphor for reviewing and changing our thoughts, feelings, actions and physiology.  Its a fun way of improving ourselves and it seems well comprehendible with all ages.  

Together with each individual we customise the plan.  There is lots of flexibility and opportunity for self reflection and self improvement that can be totally directed by the individual themselves.

This works so well.