Rezensionen / Reviews

Detlef Rüsch, Landshut

Using a game to inject fresh life into one’s family, breaking down rigid ways of thinking and acting and introducing new patterns: this takes place here on life boards based upon the classic spheres of private space, occupation, family and the oft-neglected areas of support systems, families of origin, the couple level and the nuclear family.

World views, wishes and goals are expressed through a range of cards, as are the priorities that clients want to set in their (family and personal) lives. Over the course of the game, it becomes increasingly clear what issues take up what space in the family both in actual terms and from individuals’ perspectives. This makes it possible for family members to engage with one another in a playful manner, reacting to the situations and needs that emerge as their family develops. There are a wealth of game variations to play, depending on the specific issues to be focused on. Thus the game can be played with a focus upon empathy, plans for the future, and resources; it can be used as a money and time management game and can be employed in seminars on various themes. The game was developed by family therapist (DGSF) Eva Tillmetz for a whole range of different family and counselling contexts. Individual cards are labelled with terms in six different languages (German, English, French, Polish, Russian, Turkish) and include not only person, animal, emotion and theme cards but money and time tokens.

The detailed instruction booklet includes clear pictograms and contains many suggestions for adaptation, conversation topics and “question(ing)s”. The life boards can be used in a variety of ways and, similarly to the structural representations of animal symbols or other materials commonly employed in systemic counselling, make it possible for users to set particular emphases and find solutions to their concerns in dialogue with their counsellor, partner or in other settings. For new parents in particular, the game offers a superb opportunity to clarify the feelings and needs of all family members, focusing not just on the parental role but on taking sufficient care of oneself both as a couple and as individuals. These stimuli can then help users to achieve greater balance once more. The game itself is very easy to implement and can help those playing it to address important issues quickly.

“Family in Balance” is an ideal “balancing” game for use in social work and shows in particular how family systems can playfully achieve both greater flexibility and greater balance. The textbook “Balanceakt Familiengründung. Paare begleiten mit dem ‘Regensburger Familienentwicklungsmodell’” (“Starting a family – a balancing act. Supporting couples using the ‘Regensburg Family Development Model’”) by Eva Tillmetz supplements the game and was published by Klett-Cotta (see review  in this journal).

Detlef Rüsch, Landshut
KONTEXT, Journal for Systemic Therapy and Family Therapy
Issue 46,1 – April 2015

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Eva Tillmetz,


Silvia Vater, Frankfurt

FIB stands out from other materials we have experienced thanks to its elegant, simple structure and its self-explanatory life boards with their agreeably warm colours. If one chooses to work with only the life boards, for example, without using the vivid image cards, the order and selection of life board cards in and of itself already provides insight into current priorities and needs. All the cards use pleasant shades of colour, tending towards pastel tones, quiet and unobtrusive. The game arouses curiosity and solution-focused suspense. Thanks to the versatile ways of adding theme, emotion, time and money/percentage cards, the game fully lives up to the diversity of systemic changes in perspective.

Accordingly, the game makes it possible to construct not just the present reality, but the past and future as well. A further highlight is the option of constructing realities in parallel when members of a couple each describe the reality of their current lives and needs simultaneously using the life boards and, for example, the emotion cards. We are awarding the game full systemic points for the development-oriented stimuli it provides for families, couples, patchwork families and single parents!

Silvia Vater
Dipl. Päd., Systemic Therapy and Counselling Tutor
Frankfurt, November 2014

Systemisches Zentrum Wispo AG

Further reviews are available in German. Please visit our German homepage to read them: