5 Family Therapy Activities to Try at Home

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that looks at the role of family dynamics and interpersonal relationships in family members’ wellbeing. The goal is to identify and gently shift unhelpful patterns of interaction.

Here are 5 family therapy activities you can try at home:

1. The Spoon Game The spoon game teaches active listening. When everyone feels heard, family relationships are generally much healthier. It’s vital for our self-esteem that we feel heard and listened to, especially in everyday family life.

When you are sitting around the dinner table, grab a wooden spoon. As you eat, practice tuning in to one person. The person you should listen to is the one with the wooden spoon in their hand. If someone else wants to respond or contribute, they raise their hand and wait for the spoon to be passed to them. Encourage everyone to take turns regularly so that everyone gets to have their say.

2. Family Crest Allow open communication at first and make some notes together. For example, which colours should represent your family on your crest? This activity will help develop positive relationships by increasing your awareness of what brings you together and what you have in common.

3. Miracle Question Together, imagine that a miracle has happened overnight. All your family problems have gone away, and you now have the ideal family life. Ask yourself the following questions? What would you notice first? What would each person feel like? Would it be different for everybody? What would you be able to do, that you can’t at the moment? How would you each spend your day, both together as a family and separately

The goal of this family therapy activity is that just by developing a shared picture of a better family life, you will realise that a better life is possible. With this picture in your mind, you will each take unconscious or conscious steps towards this better future.

4. Build You Up Once a week on a specific day a member of the family will have a “Build You Up” day. On their Build You Up day, the other members of the family must be mindful to only say positive things to the chosen family member. They must try to pay genuine compliments, show affection, and do nice things for that person. Build You Up days will help family members to feel valued and cherished. The result is that they will feel more safe and secure, and this will have a calming and positive effect on family life.

5. Online Scavenger Hunt You have 30 minutes to create a collage or presentation about every other member of the family, trying to collect as many points as possible. You must be kind and positive at all times. You can get 10 points for each thing you find that represents a family member. This includes: 1. a song 2. a colour 3. a funny meme 4. a video of a dance move 5. their favourite food 6. their least favourite food 7. a holiday destination 8. a drink 9. a picture or video of an animal 10. a funny or inspirational quote 

At the end of the 30 minutes, each person or pair gives a verbal or powerpoint presentation on each of their family members. Extra points are available for creativity and originality.

The goals of this activity are to increase understanding between family members, build self-esteem, increase positive communication and strengthen family bonds.