Team Building Activities for Family Counseling

by Shannon Philpott

Although television shows often portray the perfect family, the reality is that disagreements happen. If your family is struggling to reach agreements and form mutually respectful relationships, creative counseling strategies may help. Team building activities during counseling can teach each person how to work together, identify and accept strengths and weaknesses and process feelings that may be throwing the family dynamic off course.

Map Out a Plan

Time is often an issue when kids are busy with school and parents are working. But time is crucial to reinforce family values. During therapy, families can etch out a calendar full of fun activities and responsibilities. Mark days when all of you can make a meal, complete yard work or take in a movie. Working together to create the calendar and responsibilities at home often fosters respect, according to Marie Hartwell-Walker, editor of, in the article “3 Steps to a Closer, Stronger Family.”

Toss the Ball

Launch a game of toss the ball with a positive twist to build trust and emphasize the value of teamwork, suggests family therapists Liana Lowenstein and Trudy Post Sprunk in their article “Creative Family Therapy Techniques: Play and Art-Based Activities to Assess and Treat Families,” found on Lowenstein's website. For five minutes, have each family member toss a ball while offering a compliment about the other person. After the time limit, launch the game again. This time, each family member should express what they would enjoy doing with the others. The game is designed to boost morale and trust, which can lead to stronger confidence and reliance.

Engage in Art Therapy

Create a masterpiece as a group with art and play-based activities during family counseling, recommends Lowenstein and Sprunk. Your family can draw a family portrait with each person adding a drawing to the final masterpiece. In addition, families can create a clay fixture, Play-Doh structure or build blocks with each person adding to the art project. When family members work together, they may feel less self-conscious about their contributions. In addition, the activity teaches the importance of working together, waiting your turn and relying on each team member.

Family Q & A

In order to work as a team, families need to learn more about how each person thinks. Dig deep into the minds of your family with a question and answer game, suggests Kim Peterson, Texas-based psychotherapist, in the article, "A Simple Game For Building a Stronger Family," on her website. Make a list of random questions, such as "If you were an animal, what would you be and why?" or "What is your ideal vacation and who would you bring?" Choose numbers to indicate which person answers each question or ask all members to volunteer answers to the same question. The activity is designed to help families tune into one another on an emotional level.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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