Working with families is challenging and rewarding. Sometimes parents are reluctant to engage in therapy and often blame their children or teens for family problems.
Building support and trust while developing a therapeutic relationship is critical in the early stages. One way of getting parents onboard in therapy is to lighten the tense or stress-filled atmosphere by playing therapy games. Not only do parents feel they are not being targeted for problems or issues, but they learn how to have fun with their kids, even though there may still be issues to deal with. Teaching parents how to separate problems from their kids is important. If parents and kids don’t learn how to be together without their problems, they will not know how to connect or bond over positive or fun experiences either.
One approach I use with families is to focus on their individual and collective strengths. Parents sometimes don’t see their children or teens’ strengths, let alone family strengths. Because so many clients struggle with being positive and focusing on strengths, we developed, Dirty Clouds Card Game. The game focuses on gratitude, is fun to play and teaches the power of positive thinking.