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How do I use Helping Families Thrive Cards?

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Helping Families Thrive Cards make the theory, research and clinical experience of ‘what helps families’ accessible and easily understandable, and provides practical strategies to action this knowledge in daily life.



Who are the Helping Families Thrive Cards for?

These cards are for anyone who values relationships and family, and wants to make a positive difference in family life including:

· Parents

· Foster and Kinship Carers

· Residential Carers

· Helping Professionals e.g., Counsellors, Therapists, Allied Health, Nurses, GPs, Psychiatrists, and Mental Health Workers, Youth Workers, Family Support Workers


Helping Families Thrive Cards are a rich resource to help with understanding and promoting family structure, dynamics and processes for thriving for families and the individuals who make up the family.

How do I use the Cards: General Tips:

· These cards are designed to support families and relationships and assist helping professional who work with families, couples, and children.

· In the same way that there is no one right way to be a family, there is no one right way to use HFT Cards.

· Depending on your values, ways of being (and for helping professionals - preferred ways of working) different ‘petal’ categories will fit, or not, for you.

· Become familiar with the cards yourself before using them.


Ideas for Families:

· Take time to reflect individually as parents, and as partners in a couple relationship.

· Write in your journal about aspects of family life that catch your attention from the card deck.

· Open up conversations with your partner, or significant others in family life.

· Choose ideas for family meetings or discussions – some cards are particularly suited for family discussions, e.g., family identity/motto, and activities.


Considerations for Families - Adults First:

· It is important that adults read the cards and think through what will be best in the couple relationship or family, before bringing the cards (or ideas from the cards) to the whole family.

· This means first considering the card as a parent, or carer, or couple. And if you are working with a helping professional collaborating with them to think through what is best for you and your family.

· Some cards will lend themself to adult conversations e.g., Family Leadership and Parental Hierarchy talk about the parents as a leadership team.

· Some cards are helpful for the adults in the family e.g., Adults and Playful Connection talks about the importance of playful connection as a couple, and how to manage playful connections with the children in the family.

· Some cards will lend themselves to family conversations e.g., Family Values and Principles talks about developing a family vision or motto.

· And some cards will have a focus that is helpful for adults to think through but then consider which one idea from the card they would like to discuss as a couple or bring to the family.


Ideas for Helping Professionals:

· Take time for individual Reflection/Self Supervision before and/or after a session.

· Review the cards to plan a parent or family session.

· Use the garden metaphor to introduce various aspects of family life.

· Use the “petal category” card to help clients identify areas they would like to focus on.

· Use a category of cards – clients can choose aspects of the category to focus on.

· Use a single card – if there is a card that resonates with an area of work bring this into session.

· Identify areas of strength to amplify.

· Use the petals card, or specific cards, to open conversations on aspects of family life.

· Use cards as prompts for psychoeducation.

· Use the card deck to provide a smorgasbord of ideas to choose from …or a sounding board to provide inspiration for the development of new ideas.


Dr Leonie White - Clinical Family Therapist and Psychologist

Helping people grow, connect and thrive in life’s unique journey.



Please note - this article is educational in nature and does not constitute therapy advice.

Please seek help from a professional if you require support.



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