There are many personal and professional uses of Life’s Onion. It can be used in the treatment of psychological and psychiatric disorders, behavioral health and addiction recovery, grief and depression counseling, and all other areas of mental and behavioral health counseling. It is also effective in use with youth counseling, life coaching, business consulting, self-help programs, and personal development workshops.

‘Peeling an onion’ is to start with surface observations and move inward to deeper truth and understanding. It is a discovery process taken one step at a time. It is a search for underlying causes. It is to break a project down into parts. It is not accepting a problem at face value. It is to ask ‘why?’ and ‘what’s next?’

Life’s Onion® is a handheld, onion-shaped device made of a soft, pliable, non-toxic material. It has 3 layers of 4 peels and a central core. The 12 peels of the onion are easily bent back, converting them into petals, and the device transforms into a flower. The peels/petals can be removed, replaced, and exchanged – and can be written upon or decorated with sharpie markers.


How to Use Life's Onion Counseling Tool

It’s a simple object in design, but so is a Rubik’s Cube. In fact, Life’s Onion is considered unique as a counseling and personal development device and was granted a patent (US patent #8,636,518).

Beyond the tool’s layered structure are the powerful organic metaphors. It is an onion – a vegetable strong in flavor and rich in nutrients. A spice, and a curative with a tear causing reputation. But it is also a flower – beautiful, delicate, resourceful.

People record their goals, ideas, challenges, and achievements on the peels of Life’s Onion, converting them to flower petals as progress is made. The tool is designed to overlay any type of therapeutic program, decision-making process, or path to personal discovery by introducing a framework to make you dig deeper.

“Peeling away the layers of the onion” is a concept that has long been established with the people and professionals involved in the behavioral therapy and self-help fields. This makes the Life’s Onion a natural fit for the content and structure of many existing programs such as Schema Therapy and 12-step groups.

How To Use Life’s Onion Support Materials

In addition to the tool itself, there are a number of support materials designed to integrate Life’s Onion into any program, workshop, or treatment group. There is a workbook which has a graphic representation of each layer of a Life’s Onion with room for notes. This allows one to plan and/or ‘design’ their onion before writing or drawing on the actual peels or petals. The workbook becomes a blueprint for each individual’s unique onion, and will frequently contain even more and detailed revelations than what eventually ends up on the peels. There are also easel-board sized pads of graphical Life’s Onions which can be used when demonstrating the tool or when ‘peeling an onion’ with a group. Visit our

Visit our SUPPORT MATERIALS page to find these supplements as well as additional materials which specifically address how to use Life’s Onion in clinical, therapeutic environments. These include a Quick Start Guide for group therapy activities, a use case scenarios sheet for treatment approaches, and an Implementation Guide for treatment facilities.

Life’s Onion is limited only by your imagination. It’s a touchstone, an outline, a shorthand journal, a puzzle, a focal point, a framework, an activator, a reminder, an art project…

See Life’s Onion creator Mark Wetherbee discuss this innovative tool
on Worldwide Business with kathy ireland