Life’s pressure from school, workplaces, social interactions consumes everyone in the family. Unexplainable conflict arises at home.
What’s happening? Anxiety is the new norm. The dynamics break trust, and all the tears wash away the love that once filled the air.
You can feel the tension in every room. The household is a minefield with stress explosives, anger grenades, and chocking grief.
How do you bring back your family members to the table and involve them in activities?
How do you help your children cope with sudden changes such as a divorce, a family member’s death, a severe physical or mental health disorder? How about an adolescent lost in themselves they can’t see beyond their phone screen?
Could family therapy be the solution?
What is family therapy anyway?
Family therapy is a class of psychotherapy crafted to help family members identify problems, patterns, mental and behavior disorders in each family member. Therapy for family helps therapists analyze the habits presented by their clients and use proven methods to solve and mend interpersonal relationships.
Communication is one great way therapists use in family therapy.
What is the Goal For Family Therapy
Family therapy primarily seeks to open up communication in the family. Once there is talking, the therapist helps your family walk through every person’s issues. They make you understand each loved one point of view. You learn how to handle delicate family situations in an open and safe environment.
Family therapy also helps family members cope with a mental health condition. What other family members thought was a burden becomes more comfortable. Because you learn how to love and nature for the one affected mentally.
Other notable situations, for example, merging stepfamilies, can be overwhelming for most people. However, a therapist, through family therapy activities, walks you and your family through the discomfort and hurdles of the merger. Death, another joy stealer can render a family dysfunctional, especially when the main contributor passes on. A therapist holds your hand through the process of grieving.
How Does Family Therapy Work?
In family therapy, “family” is defined as anyone who has and is playing a long term nurturing and supportive role in your life. A family goes beyond blood relations to members in the same household.
A family gives you a source of direction and being. It plays a significant part in your psychological health. When there is a dysfunction in your family, a therapist takes time to help solve the underlying issues. The whole family might opt to see the therapist, or is reserved for one member. However, therapists advocate attendance for everyone.
The therapy time will typically last about an hour over 12 detailed sessions. However, your family situation and depth of the matter, coupled with your therapist’s recommendation, will determine the length.
What to expect during your sessions with your family therapist;
During the therapy for families, the counselor will examine your family’s problem-solving skills. Here, everyone expresses their thoughts and emotions in a safe and trusting environment.
You might be asked to;
- Describe each person’s hopes and aspirations
- Clarify your beliefs, needs, values, and assumptions. This creates a better understanding of each individual
- Stop blame games and accommodate weaknesses positively
- Learn and stop hurtful language embracing love and kindness in daily life.
Therapy will help every member talk about their life challenges and how to overcome them. Additionally, you learn how to work through setting goals for success.
You shall explore and define family roles, rules, and behavioral patterns to spot conflict triggers and use the information to work through the triggers.
Family therapies help identify your family’s strong points and how to nurture them to better yourselves. Moreover, the time spent in treatment also helps weed out the weakness like lack of communication. You learn how to handle mental health issues easily.
Family Therapy Activities
For the therapy sessions to be successful, the specialist incorporates group therapy activities to ensure clients are active and willing to get through the storm together. The activities are based on the initial conversations and build-up activities to help through the sessions.
Some family therapy activities include;
Coloured Candy Go Around
For icebreaking activities, the colored candy go works well. It engages everyone and allows them to let loose. You will need like M&M or Skittles. Give each member seven pieces of candy and let them sort them out by color. Instruct them, depending on the number of colors each has, to respond to the following prompts;
- Green – Use words to describe the family
- Orange – What needs to be improved in the family set up
- Red – What worries them
- Yellow – Describe their favorite memories
- Purple – To describe fun activities the family does
Among the family therapy activities, this one works well to express emotions, especially in children who might be uncomfortable describing what they are feeling. Using a beach ball(preferred) on each color, write a sentiment on it. Have the members gather in a circle and toss the ball back and forth. You might have emotions like joy, happiness, sadness, etc. on the ball. Once a family member catches the ball, let them describe a time when they the particular emotion.
The goal of this group therapy activity is to help families discuss their emotions while the rest listen.
Everyone has dreams and aspirations for their future. The goal is to allow others to listen in and understand the future desires of each member. With this understanding, supporting each other becomes effortless.
During family therapy, members are provided with art supplies and a gift bag. The family comes up with a gift idea that every member wants, and it should be useful for the whole team.
Watch how each member takes on the work. The goal is to create teamwork, define roles, analyze how they overcome conflict and challenges. The activity helps therapists better under family interactions.
A genogram represents a schematic of your family tree. While it can be used to map out blood and medical relations, a therapist similarly uses it to draw a family’s emotional relationships.
With the genogram, your family can root out emotional ties and their impacts. For example, abuse and divorce are major family disruptions.
In this activity, each member will play a mirror for the other. The goal is to copy every move of the lead without touching each other. This way, members become more in tune with each other’s gestures and emotional reactions.
Stand Up, Sit Down
Therapy will be more fun with this activity, as some truths will be revealed. How? A member will make a statement, and if it applies to another in reality, they sit down. This gives the team a chance to open up in a fun and casual manner with no reservations.
Feelings Hot potato /Stress balls
Depending on what you chose a potato or a stress ball, play some music as they pass the ball around. The music stops, whoever has the ball shares a thought, a memory, or an idea depending on the topic. Therapy activities are meant to be fun, and this one will surely bring in the giggles.
Feelings Walk – Family Therapy Activities
Like in musical chairs but with a twist, arrange sits in a circle and place sticky notes with feeling words on them. As the music plays, each member goes around and sits when it stops. When they sit, call out the word and let members give you an emotion relating to the name. It helps you understand members easily.
Feelings Charade in Therapy
Using feelings on written charade cards, clients pick cards and act out the emotion written. This allows the therapist to analyze how clients express their feelings in family therapy activities. Best for teens and very therapeutic.
Like in feelings walk, while you describe situations, each member walks towards a face drawn on a poster. The posters can be distributed in the room randomly.
Each family member has a part to play for the sessions in activities for group therapy to be fruitful. It takes time to heal past deep wounds or navigate change. Include every member in discussions and define their part to making family therapy worthwhile and its effects long-lasting.