Systemic Group Therapy Boat-Storm-Lighthouse Drawing
Therapeutic Stance: The role of a systemic therapist is to adopt a “not knowing” position and avoid imposing their values. The therapist should be considerate about their own experience as a tool to further the therapeutic process. The therapist is not the expert of knowledge but instead a catalyst for change, and should aim to initiate change within the system. The therapist should change the problem by seeing the group as a system, which is defined as two or more people in a relationship (Riley, 1985). The main task of the therapist is to discover how the dysfunction in the system has taken place, and what processes are required to fix the dysfunction. The therapist should aim to establish a safe and open environment, try to assess the group relationships and dynamics, and facilitate open communication among group members. The therapist models acceptance of diverse beliefs and experiences within the group. To assess family dynamics that contribute to the child’s functioning and adjustment (Lowenstein, 2010).
Art Therapy Intervention: Goal:
Learn information about the family or group, especially sources related to danger. Then identify ways to support.
Create an opportunity for group members to express feelings. Example: fear, helplessness, bravery.
To identify family roles and help reframe patient’s dysfunctional behavior in an attempt to preserve the status quo on their family system (Riley,2003).
Materials: Markers or colored pencils, pencil and paper for each group member, and one large white paper or white poster board. Materials should be distributed on a flat surface in a way which all participants can easily access it.
Intervention:: Creating a group drawing of a boat, storm and lighthouse. Instructions:
Step 1: Family or group members told to fill large white paper with one drawing of a boat, storm and a lighthouse. This activity is to be done silently (10 mins).
Step 2: Each person will write a story about what they think happened before, during and after the storm. (5 mins) They will share their story with other participants.
Step 3: Therapist guides the group into a discussion involving their fears.
Questions the therapist can ask:
What do you think it would have been like to be in the boat with your family during a storm?
Who would have been the most helpful? The least helpful?
What are some feelings you would have had in the worst part of the storm?
If you were to be rescued how do you think it would have occurred?
Population and Setting Aimed for families in a safe environment where each participant has privacy to write but access to the drawing.
References Connors, J. V., & Caple, R. B. (2005). A review of group systems theory. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 30(2), 93-110. Hecker, L. L., Mims, G. A., & Boughner, S. R. (2015) General systems theory, cybernetics, and family therapy. In L. L. Hecker, & J. L Wetchler, (Eds). An Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy pp. 43-64). New York: Routledge. Landgarten, H.B. (1987). Family art therapy: A clinical guide and casebook. New York: Routledge. Lowenstein, L. (2010). Creative family techniques: play, art, and expressive activities to engage children in family sessions. Toronto, ON: Champian Press. Riley, S. (1985). Draw me a paradoc?...family art psychotherapy utilizing a systemic approach to change. Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 2 (3), 116-124. DOI:10.1080/07421656.1989.10758802 Riley, S., & Malchiodi, C. (2003). Family art therapy. Handbook of art therapy, 362-374. New York: Guilford.