Monday, December 13, 2010
Understanding family dynamics
This activity will help your adolescent patients express and communicate their perception of family. It will help them to speak out about the dynamics between individuals, each person's role, and what goes on in the household. I also see this as being a great family counseling intervention.
In this activity, the therapist first teaches the patient about different instruments you might find in a band or orchestra. As you teach about each one, provide music to showcase the sound of that instrument. Then encourage your patient to come up with a few words to describe each one. For example, they might describe a clarinet as being emotional, sensitive, and compassionate. After you have taken the time to create a list of all these instruments and their assigned characteristics, ask the patient to assign each family member to one of those instruments. They might say that their sister is the clarinet because she is always there to listen to problems and helps by giving advice. Truth be told, it doesn't matter how they describe the instrument. (A friend of mine will tell you that she only knows clarinet players as being weird.) People's perceptions will differ, but ask the patient to describe why he or she labeled the instrument (and in turn the family member) in that way. This activity will hopefully get the patient to open up and gives us the opportunity for a lot more discussion and therapeutic intervention.
Beyond this, the therapist might use this to address conflicts with peers or bullying by having the patient describe different students at school or other kids in the community.