Group therapy is a form of therapy where a single therapist works with multiple clients simultaneously. Most group therapy sessions are relatively small, with 4-8 people in a session. Depending on the cohort of clients and what issue is being treated, as many as 12 people may be in a session. Much of group therapy is centered on discussion. Some of this is open-ended or somewhat directed by the therapist. Group therapy is also a great forum for group therapy activities that engage the whole group around key topics that provoke rich discussion, introspection, and interaction.
5 Group Therapy Activities
The list of possible group therapy activities is basically endless. Anything that gets participants talking and engaging with challenging concepts that push recovery is a valid use of time during group therapy. Here are five group therapy activities used by mental health treatment providers like Serenity Grove.
1. Joyful Memory
Each group participant shares a joyful memory. They describe the scenario in detail and share the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that accompanied their past experience of joy. The activity can be taken beyond pure discussion to involve playacting, where each person casts other group participants as actors in their joyful memory. They may also play a role or else purely direct the scene.
2. Inner Child
The inner child activity asks participants to pretend they are children again by drawing and journaling about themselves as a child. They are directed to provide their child self everything needed to be happy, healthy, and whole. This often comes in contrast to their actual childhood experience but can help them identify what past roadblocks may be holding them back from wholeness in the present.
Participants take a piece of paper and put two points on either end. One point represents their birth; another represents now. They draw a line between the two points and are then asked to identify three high points and three low points in their life so far. Each event is shared, and other participants can celebrate the high points and offer encouragement or consolation about the low points.
Using a box or a bag, participants decorate the outside with words/phrases/images that they present to the world. They decorate the inside with things about them that nobody sees yet are nonetheless pieces of who they are. The activity is meant to help people be introspective about who they are at the core and how the person they present to the world may not match their true selves.
5. Treasure Map
Using pieces of paper, group therapy participants label one corner “The Beginning” and the opposite corner “Success.” Then they draw a winding path between the two labels. This group therapy activity then asks participants to add points of interest along the path that describe the goals they have in recovery alongside the obstacles they foresee ahead of them.
The above list is just five of the hundreds of different group therapy activities used by treatment providers like Serenity Grove. Not every activity will connect deeply with each participant. Yet the group therapy experience as a whole holds a lot of power for helping people through recovery.
Find Group Therapy at Serenity Grove
Group therapy is widely used across the mental health and addiction treatment landscape. Anywhere you seek treatment is likely to offer some group therapy. Many people are put off by the idea of group therapy and feel naturally inclined to prefer individual therapy. Yet group therapy offers many benefits and can be as effective as individual therapy. A few of these benefits are:
- Exposure to different perspectives
- Relationships and camaraderie
- Interpersonal confidence