Here is an activity that will help you build rapport, get to know a new client, and assist you in your initial assessment of the child. These puzzles could be useful with kids with any presenting problem.
Each of the puzzles features a colourful picture on the front, along with an affirmation statement (e.g., I am strong), which can launch a discussion about what other qualities they think describe them.
On the back, each puzzle piece has a get-to-know-you type question. Some are easy like “What’s your favourite colour,” and some are more involved like “If you were boss of your family, what would the rules be?”
For this activity, you will need a printed copy of one of the puzzles which you can get here.
Make sure you print the file doublesided so that the picture is on the front and the pieces are on the back. Use cardstock if you have it, as you will end up with sturdier pieces. Cut the pieces out and place them on the table face up. The client chooses a piece to start with and answers the question on the back of the piece. She then selects a second piece and does the same thing. The therapist can use the answers the child gives to launch discussion and probe further if the child seems comfortable. Be prepared that a child may want to pass on a certain question.
1) The therapist and the child can alternate adding pieces. Doing so may make the flow of conversation feel more natural and put the child at ease. Be prepared with some answers that you feel comfortable sharing with the child.
2) This activity also will work well in family or group sessions. Have each member of the group take turns selecting a puzzle piece, answering their question, and adding it to the puzzle. Doing this activity together will facilitate family communication (especially on the family related questions), and will help build group cohesion in the early stages of a new group.
3) Make your own puzzle. If your client has a particular interest, you can always find a picture related to that. Enlarge the image so it fits on an 8.5×11 sheet. Print out the second page only of one of the puzzle folders onto the back of your image.
I also provided a Get-to-Know-You Game in an earlier post that you might like to check out. Happy puzzling!