Captain Hook’s Treasure Map

Captain Hook’s Treasure Map
By: Voski Hovsepian and Kyler Allen

Target Population
Individuals 6 and older with Anxiety
Individual or Group


  • Piece of blank paper or Construction Paper
  • A writing utensil such as a pencil, crayons, or magic markers

The client will choose what their "treasure" is and mark an "X" on one side of the piece of paper. The treasure can be things such as completing homework on time or trying to worry less that week. The client will then write the word start on the other side of the piece of paper. Together, the therapist and the client will brainstorm all of the things that may get in the way on his or her journey from the start point to the treasure chest. After all of the obstacles are thought of the client will write them in between the start point and the "X" on the piece of paper. The therapist and the client will then discuss different ways to combat these obstacles and what type of coping tools will help him or her get to the treasure this week.


  1. What is your treasure this week?
  2. What kinds of things do you think will get in your way of getting the treasure?
  3. What do you think will help you fight the things that are stopping you from getting your treasure?

Expected Results and Troubleshooting
It is expected that the child gradually makes small victories toward a more seemingly impossible goal. Breaking down bigger goals is similar to activity scheduling in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which has been shown to work well. Should the child have difficulty in thinking of a “treasure” or feels too overwhelmed with the entire process. The therapist and child could make much smaller goals as the “treasure” such as coming to therapy, or brushing teeth. Eventually, working the way up to more challenging “treasures” is the goal.

Related Works:
Barlow (5 eds.), Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders (275-331). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Martell, C. R., Dimidjian, S., & Herman-Dunn, R. (2010). Behavioral Activation for Depression: A Clinician’s Guide. New York, US: The Guilford Press. Retrieved from

Originally posted on the Geek Therapy Wiki, hosted on the now-defunct Wikispaces platform, as part of Dr. Patrick O’Connor’s course Geek Culture in Therapy.