5 Family Therapy Activities to Improve Communication

Communication Activities for Family Therapy 

Here are some commonly used communication activities for Family therapy:

  • Guess the Emotion
  • Listen and Draw
  • Communication Origami

The verbal and non verbal exchange of information, knowledge and ideas in the family is known as family communication. Communication does not only include verbal communication but also the understanding of thinking and feelings. Thus, communication is not always about listening and also comprehending in the way it is said. In this article we discuss. Family Therapy Activities to Improve Communication.

Communication within the family is important because it allows us to communicate our ideas, needs, desires and concerns about each other. Open communication enables the family members to express both the differences and shared ideas, love and gratitude to each other. Through open communication, family members are also able to resolve their conflicts  and unavoidable problems in a meaningful and healthy way. Strong communication is also linked with the satisfaction in the familial relationships. Couples tend to have satisfactory relationships if they have effective communication patterns. 

Effective communication patterns are found in strong families however, poor communication patterns are found in unhealthy family relationships. Poor communication are the most common issues and complaints reported to marriage and family therapists. Unclear and indirect communication is referred to as poor communication. Poor communication within the family causes excessive familial conflicts, lack of problem solving, weak emotional binding and lack of intimacy. Couples with non-effective communication have high risk of divorse and marital separation. Alos, children within these families have more behavioural problems. 

Instrumental and Affective Communication

There are two types of communication, instrumental and affective communication. Instrumental communication enables the family to fulfil common family functions and exchange of factual information like telling someone to do anything. On the other hand, affective communication refers to the sharing of emotions with each other  in the family. It is important to have both instrumental and effective communication in the family. 

Clear vs. Masked and Direct vs. Indirect Communication

Communication can be clear and masked. In other ways it can be direct and indirect.  When the messages are communicated clearly between family members and are spoken plainly, the content is easily understood by everyone. But if the message conveyed is either vague or muddied then masked communication occurs. 

If the message is communicated directly to the person it was intended for then it is known as a direct communication. But if the same message is conveyed through a third person to the person the message was intended for then this type of communication is known as indirect communication. 

Maintaining healthy communication between different family members can be the most difficult task and development of such communications can be done through family therapy activities to improve communication. Family members might be with you for a long time and might have seen you in every and different positions over the time period but it does not mean that it is always easy to communicate with them. Usually the family members are more open about the feelings they have about each other which most of the time lead to a conflict, unseen tensions and strained relationships. But as the ties between family members are more important than anything else, it is more important to work on these relationships using family therapy activities to improve communication.  These family therapy activities to improve communication between family members can help out a family in different ways, not only collectively but also at an individual level. As each family member has a different hobby or a personal taste these family therapy activities to improve communication can help them understand each other and acknowledge them and celebrate the activities with each other. Some of these ways to improve communication in between family members are given as : 

Start with a Clean Slate:

  The first step to improve communication is to give everyone a clean slate and forget about the previous matters or situations that might have happened because of one another. This might be difficult at first as it is always hard to forgive and discuss things by clearing out one’s mind and heart but it will help them to support each other as the initial phase of communication is over. Starting the process with some open and raw conversation can be one way to help them start repairing their relationships and is one of the most important parts of family therapy activities to improve communication. 

Set Goals: 

 One of the other activities in the group of family therapy activities to improve communication is to set goals for the conversation and focus on that goal and the progress towards it. Goals can be used as a benchmark for the conversation and each and every family member can focus on the task at hand and for some time forget about their own internal conflicts or help them to work through it. The goals can be set as simple as texting the family members every other week or having a family gathering every month. Setting up goals is completely up to the family and should be the ones they are able to achieve. 

Participate in team building exercises: 

 One of the other family therapy activities to improve communication that is advised by psychiatrists is the team building exercises. These exercises not only help you work towards a common goal but you also feel synced with each other and become more open to your thoughts and feelings.  These exercises are also a great way to build up confidence and trust between different family members that may have been lost over time. These exercises don’t have to be formal but simple team tasks can also result in improved relationships between family members. 

See a therapist : 

If you cannot think of any basic way, a therapist can always help you out with your family situations. Therapists can also help you design different family therapy activities to improve communication between family members and having a third person to oversee the current situation might result in better results than arguing about it within the family. It can help you bring in new light and see more insights that might have been overlooked in normal circumstances. Most therapists are proficient in designing family therapy activities to improve communication between family members so it’s best to seek for their help if needed. 

Each member picks a group activity : 

One of the other main family therapy activities to improve communication is to have a group activity where each member of the family picks up a topic for the group to do. This will not only increase the internal relationship of the family drastically, but it will also help everyone to feel confident and more open of their feelings towards each other. This will also end up in acknowledgement of every family member and can end up in bringing out the best in them.

Be available:

 One of the basic rules for improving communication is to make time for each other in their busy schedule. To stop from their busy routine and to take time out of it to listen to each other and spend some time with one another can help increase the communication and affection between family members. Talking with a child for 10 minutes in a day without any distraction can make a big difference in establishing the base for a good communication between each other. These few minutes can be great value to one’s life and can help improve communication between family members drastically. 

Be a good listener:

 One other trait of improving communication between family members is to be a good listener. Especially with children, they always have something to say and they feel left out if no one listens to them. It’s best to ask your child about his day and how is his work going along, if there is anything he needs help with or anything he has to say about any subject. If you are not clear about something, you can always ask him again but it is always good to have a clear communication between you and another person or your child. You always do not have to agree with the other person but just listening to them can calm them down and improve the communication between each other. 

Show empathy

One other main trait of having good communication is to let another person know that you understand his feelings and can feel it. If the other person is not feeling well or is sad do not push them away or tell them that it is only what they think but try to support them and be with them in those feelings. Express your support and understanding of those feelings and respect them.

Be a Good role Model

One should never forget that each child takes their parents as their role models and are always learning from them. As parents are the first institute of learning for their children they should be more wary of what they are saying and what words they are using, also the tone of their voice can affect the upbringing of the child. Each and every tone and work can send a message to the child and the message delivered to them should be clear and not confusing. It’s best to rather give a negative impression to the child in different matters, try to talk it out with him and discuss it in a positive way with explanations and examples. This way the child will better understand the matter and will take it in a positive way rather than in a negative way. There is always a way to turn negative things into positive life experiences and it is better to be a good role model in front of your child so he can learn and be positive. 

Think before you Speak.

It is important to think before you speak in a session. You should try to be clear and precise in what you mean. You can list the things that you want to discuss in the session. 

Tell theTruth. 

It might feel like the right thing to bend or hide the truth to avoid hurting your loved ones, but being dishonest breaks trust. However, the truth should always be spoken gently and with love. Being brutally honest hurts feelings, but gentle truth builds intimacy.

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FAQ about family therapy activities to improve communication 

  1. What are the different techniques of family therapy?

Some different techniques of family therapy are

Strategic Therapy

Systemic Therapy

Narrative Therapy

Transgenerational Therapy

  1. What are the different types of therapeutic activities 

Listening and playing to music 

Play video games 

Listen to the videotapes of family members;

walking and light exercise.

  1. How do I get  prepared for a family therapy session?
  1. Talk to Your Children about family therapy workshop
  2. Try to have an effective communication before session
  3. List down the points about you have to talk

References

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Improving-Family-Communications.aspx

https://www.themomiverse.com/motherhood-and-family/10-positive-family-communication-rules-for-your-home/

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