The broken bowl project is a cognitive art therapy directive that is based off of the Ancient Art of Kintsugi. It is also used as a client centered directive. The idea behind the bowl is that it represents the individual who made it. The reason a bowl is used is because a bowl can hold many different things, just as people can represent and have many different life experiences. The idea is for the client to then break the bowl and put it back together. The thought behind the broken bowl is that life can beat us down and change us, but we can still put ourselves together.
The client should decorate the outside of the bowl to represent who they perceive themselves as. The inside of the bowl should be words that represent the hidden aspects of who the client is. For this directive the client usually makes their own bowl using paper mâché, newspaper, fabric, etc. Gesso needs to be applied to the outside and inside of the bowl so that the materials stick to the bowl, usually watercolor and permanent marker are used. However, this directive should only be done after the client and therapist have established a positive rapport!