Caregiver/Child Allyship: Enhancing attachment and attunement between the parent/caregiver and kid/teen is one way to build allyship in the relationship. Facilitate one of the following activities with the kid/teen and their caregiver in a session; these can also be used in between sessions as well as within sibling relationships and friendships:
o Back drawing: Have one person draw a picture on the other person’s back, and ask them to guess what they drew. Take turns.
o Mirror game: Have the caregiver and kid/teen stand facing each other. One person pretends slowly moves their hands, body, makes facial expressions, etc. The other person pretends to be the “mirror” and tries to mimic their actions while they do them.
o Cotton ball hockey: For this game, you’ll need cotton balls, straws, and a flat surface like a coffee table. Parent/caregiver and kid/teen face each other on either end of the table and use the straws to blow the cotton ball back and forth across the table (no hands allowed!). The person who makes the cotton ball fall off the other side of the table gets a goal.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist facilitated attachment activities (name activities) to help the child and their caregiver strengthen their attachment, increase parental attunement, and assist the child in feeling safe and seen. The dyad (engaged/did not engage/etc.) in the activity, and they reported that it was (fun/difficult/refreshing/etc.)
Adult Strategy of the Week:
A Language of Allyship: One way to build allyship in relationships is knowing your own love language(s) as well as the love language(s) of the important folk in your life. These languages being: affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. With this awareness, it can support a friendship, couple, or family dyad connect in meaningful ways with one another.
o Here is a way to begin exploring in session with clients and for clients to also explore out of session with their friend/partner/family member.
Write down the order of your love languages here:
Person 1 Person 2
Compare your lists. What’s the same? What’s different?
Next, each person makes a list of things that would make them feel loved, using the top two love languages. This is a way for you to explore the things that you really value, and it’s a way for your partner/friend/family member to get some ideas for ways to make you feel loved.
Ways that Person 1 Feels Loved
Top Love Language: Second Love Language:
Ways that Person 2 Feels Loved
Top Love Language: Second Love Language:
Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was to (tailor based on tx plan). The therapist provided psychoeducation about ways to build a strong relationship through the five languages of love. The Ct. (was able/not able) to identify their own love languages as well as the a love language of someone close to them.
Trauma Strategy of the Week:
Effective Allyship in Relationships: Cultivating interpersonal allyship is important for building a strong support system in one’s life. There are several interpersonal effectiveness strategies that can help relationships thrive. The following acronym from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is used to help remember ways to tend to relationships effectively:
(Use an) Easy Manner
Sample progress note: The focus of this session was… The therapist used psycho-education about interpersonal effectiveness skills (GIVE) to help reduce the Ct.’s relationship distress and enhance communication strategies. The Ct. reported that the psycho-education was (helpful/not helpful), and they were (able/not able) to explore how the psycho-education could be applied to their past and future experiences.
Mindfulness/Meditation of the Week:
Safe/Calm Space Guided Imagery: Developing a sense of safety from within can support us in both being an ally with oneself as well as show up as an ally with others.
o This guided imagery helps you visualize and visit your own personal special place in your mind’s eye. As you walk through this guided imagery you can experience the calmness and security you feel in this place. You can then focus your mind’s eye on visiting this safe place and returning to those calm, safe feelings whenever it is helpful in your life.
1. Find a comfortable position where you can relax and breathe easily.
2. Start by noticing your breathing. Focus on filling the belly when you inhale and notice it empty on your exhale. Scan your body. While continuing to focus on your breathing, allow any tension or discomfort to dissolve with your next few exhales.
3. While you continue to breathe, allow your mind to take you to a safe, comfortable, place. Just allow this to happen. The place may be familiar or new. If you see or hear something that makes you uncomfortable, just go ahead and change the image.
4. When you find this special place, take a few moments to notice what you see. Look around, are you inside or out? What surrounds you?
5. Also notice what you hear. If you’re outside, notice if you hear water or animals. If you’re inside, notice what sounds are in this place.
6. Now, take a moment and notice how this place feels. Is it warm or cool? What kind of surface are you sitting or lying on? What are the textures of the clothes you are wearing? How does your body feel in this place?
7. Take a moment to notice if there are any tastes and smells in this place. Perhaps there is the smell of grass if you’re outdoors or something cooking if you’re indoors.
8. Now, take a few moments and just be totally present in this safe place, noticing all of your senses. Just be in whatever way is comfortable for you. As you are in this place, notice that something that was hidden before catches your attention. It could be a sound, image, object or feeling. This is a special gift that you use whenever you need to feel relaxed and safe.
9. Remember that this is a place you can visit whenever you need to feel safe. All you need to do is take a few deep breaths and think about this place.
10. Begin to become aware of the surface you are sitting or lying on, notice your breathing returning to normal, and open your eyes whenever you are ready.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist led Ct. in a mindfulness activity to create a safe/calm space. Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the mindfulness activity was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).
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