The game idea
Family life is like a colourful landscape of relationships, made up of different areas of life – here symbolised by the life boards – and constantly taking on new forms and patterns. On these life boards, the family’s entire everyday life and all special occasions imaginable take place. Using the life boards, the positions of which can be adjusted as required, players develop their own personal family landscape. Person cards representing influential people in the family’s life are placed upon the life boards. Players add theme cards symbolising all the topics with which the family is confronted. Through playing with the person and theme cards and communicating their experiences, the parents become consciously aware of their feelings and gain a sense of their needs and wishes.
There are further game variations for the resources of time and money, both of which are usually in short supply.
Starting from a current status quo, the parents develop ideas for solutions to their concerns. They play through possible interactions and effects and find ways of turning their own personal family balance into reality. This balance will need to be struck afresh over and over again! Besides one basic set of rules, FIB – FAMILIE IN BALANCE offers nine game variations. The themes can thus be narrowed down and selected depending on the time available and the content to be focused upon.
FIB reveals reciprocal effects in the family system.
FIB visualises centrifugal forces and stress factors.
FIB decelerates the process of change.
FIB develops resources and opens up fresh perspectives.
FIB develops the parents’ communication skills and encourages cooperative solutions.
Starting a family - the systemic background
With the birth of a first child, a new family system comes into existence. What does this mean?
All systemic levels are affected by the decision to start a family: the couple become parents, their parents become grandparents, siblings become uncles and aunts. Three completely new sub-systems are created: the parental dyad, the mother-child dyad and the father-child dyad.
Starting a family affects not only one area, but all dimensions of life: professional and private life, lifestyle and habits, values and emotional life, sexuality and spirituality – all of these areas of life need to be reorganised.
These changes do not take place gradually, but from one day to the next – they are downright revolutionary. No-one can really prepare for this kind of change.
A qualitative shift takes place: not only is there a new family member, but a new family system is constituted – with its own boundaries, its own internal spaces and own rules.
Starting a family is a paradigmatic change: a new family is formed from two completely different ones. Through their daily interaction and synergy, their decisions and their solutions to problems, parents create an entirely new value system that draws upon the families of origin but is nonetheless something completely different.
FIB - the practical systemic concept
- FIB visually represents a system’s flexibility and the interaction between subsystems and neighbouring systems, encouraging those using it to think and act in a systemic manner.
- Individual family situations can be represented by placing the various life boards on top of and next to one another. Even this first stage of the game already provides parents and therapists with insights into systemic relations and connections.
- Any kind of family – whether it is a nuclear family, patchwork family or adopted family – can be represented.
- FIB takes multiple generations into account: the influence of and support given by the parents’ families of origin are thematised.
- The game pays special attention to surrounding systems such as the world of work and support systems close to the family.
- Life boards in six languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, French, German, Polish) support intercultural dialogue, taking different native languages into account.
- FIB decelerates change processes by identifying differences.
- FIB enhances parents’ communication skills and encourages cooperative solutions.
- FIB makes it possible to identify influences and develop courses of action while playing.
- FIB develops resources and opens up new perspectives.
- The game’s concept offers the scope to work with it in a range of settings: in therapy and counselling, in prevention (adult education, self-development) and in supervision.
- 10 different sets of rules offer inspiration both for games according to the rules and for free use of the materials in contexts with a particular focus.
Conceptual texts on the systemic family development game FIB - FAMILY IN BALANCE by Eva Tillmetz
The textbook supplementing the game
You can find the theoretical background to the game FIB – FAMILY IN BALANCE, as well as many examples taken from practice on how to use it, in the textbook:
(Starting a family – a balancing act. Supporting couples using the “Regensburg Family Development Model”).
Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart. 1st edition 2014.
256 pages, paperback, c. 30 illustrations in up to four colours.
Sample (in German) http://www.klett-cotta.de/media/14/9783608891430.pdf
published in KONTEXT 46,1 – April 2015