CLIENT: pre-teen with a history of family turmoil and attachment issues.
I have been working with a middle school student for 2 years. The client is a 13 year old girl with a wonderful sense of self and a willingness to help others. You would never guess that she has been through the loss of her mom due to substance abuse and a childhood of exposure to drugs and addiction. As she gets ready to complete her final year of middle school I am beginning to think of final interventions and strategies to utilize with her in session.
Because family is often a key topic in our sessions, genograms come to mind. A genogram works in therapy by helping a client better understand themselves. A genogram is similar to a family tree, although it also serves as a map of family dynamics and relationships. The guides below are needed to successfully complete a clients genogram.
This may take a few sessions but clients usually enjoy watching their map grow and adding in the dynamics they are living through. The family dynamics are usually added in last. I plan on completing the genogram on a dry erase board for easy erasing and writing.
As with anyone who has lost a parent or parent figure attachment is a growing concern. In helping my client deal with attachment issues such as her adoption, friendships and romantic relationships I have included 3 attachment building interventions below. These interventions are part of a longer list. The following interventions can be done in therapy to build attachment skills.
- Play a memory game but with a more personal touch. First, have your child look you over very carefully. Then leave the room and return after you’ve changed something about yourself. See if s/he can figure out what is different. It could be something really obvious for younger kids, like taking off a sweater, but for older kids you could get more challenging, like buttoning one more button on the sweater.
Play catch! Roll a ball back and forth to teach reciprocity. Throwing or batting a balloon back and forth may be easier than throwing a ball for little ones.
To leave with laughs…An inside joke or fantasy for social workers