This exercise is designed to help the client to identify people who can assist them when they are experiencing problems in their life. It is the kind of exercise that may need to be returned to over time as the person develops new supportive relationships.
- Ask the client to draw an outline of their hand.
- Ask the client to name 5 people who are good to them in their life. Label the hand with the names of these people. Even when people have very few relationships in their lives, they can usually pull out the names of people whom they feel have a positive influence. It may be that when you first meet a client, the only people they can name are in paid relationships. This is OK. But it may highlight the need for the person to be supported to develop new relationships.
- Ask the client: What are the good things that these people bring to you? Even relationships that are problematic will have positive aspects to them that keep the client in the relationship.
- Ask the client: How does that person help you when the problem is present? What do they do that makes you feel better? Do they know that they do this for you? Would it help if they knew how they helped with the problem?
In this picture, the client has only felt able to nominate three helpful relationships in their life: their mum, their mum’s partner Phil and their pet dog Archy. Archy was helpful to the client as a calming, non-judgemental influence. This exercise highlighted that the client needed support to identify other helpful people they could turn to.