Group Therapy Activities for Adults: Examples and How-To Guides | LoveToKnow Health & Wellness (2023)

Group Therapy Activities for Adults: Examples and How-To Guides | LoveToKnow Health & Wellness (1)

Have you ever wanted to explore therapy but were concerned that you might not find the right fit? Maybe you were worried about finding the right type of therapy or about finding a therapist that you connect with. If so, don't worry. You're like many other people who want to take care of their mental and emotional health, but aren't sure where to begin. Sometimes, people choose group therapy as an easy place to start.

If you're curious about therapy but aren't ready for one-on-one sessions or just feel more supported when being around others, then group therapy might be a good option for you. Group therapy allows people with similarities to come together to share life experiences, work through challenges, and learn coping strategies. Together, these elements can help many protect their mental health and find strength through community. You can look to these adult group therapy activities to explore techniques that might work for you.

4 Sample Group Therapy Activities for Adults

There are many different types of lessons and activities that you might take part in as a part of group therapy. Use these examples to consider what might happen in your group session. Or you can also suggest them when you attend your next meeting. Not part of group therapy yet? You can also gather people together and use these activities to generate conversations and support.

1. Share Your Fears

Group therapy challenges individuals to be vulnerable, honest, and forthcoming about numerous sensitive subjects. In therapy, people are often invited to share difficult aspects of their past, struggles in their present day, and challenging thoughts they face. This can be daunting to do with even your closest of friends, which is why it's important to develop trust among group members.

When a bond of trust is established, people feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings, which can have a positive impact on the group as a whole and encourage others to share, as well. Trust-building games, such as the one below, allow group participants to begin to form that imperative bond.

You Will Need

The materials needed for this game are fairly simple and cost-efficient, you'll need the following:

  • A bag, bucket, hat, or anything else that can be used to collect responses
  • Pieces or strips of paper
  • Writing utensils

How to Play

This activity can be played with any number of people in a group. However, the more people present the better to make sure that responses remain anonymous. The instructions for this activity are as follows:

  1. Make sure you have enough paper and writing utensils for everyone present. If you use full pieces of paper, instruct everyone to fold them into smaller squares that they can tear apart.
  2. Ask everyone in the group to write one thing they are anxious about or afraid of. You can also ask members to write one secret they haven't told many people, or a negative thought they often have. The facilitator should write a response, as well, to help the group build trust with them, too.
  3. Make sure that the responses remain anonymous by asking group members to not write names on the paper, and to fold their responses after they have finished writing. You can ask participants to write more than one response, however, challenge everyone to write the same number that way no one feels upset that they are being more vulnerable than others.
  4. After you have given the number of prompts you have decided on for this lesson, walk around the group and collect everyone's paper.
  5. Once you have collected all of the responses, mix them around to ensure members that responses will remain anonymous.
  6. Then, walk around the room again and have every group member pull a response from the hat. The facilitator should also pull a response to demonstrate how the rest of the activity will flow.
  7. Explain to the group that each person will read the response they have pulled out loud. Remind everyone that the responses are anonymous and that each person present has chosen to be vulnerable.
  8. The facilitator should read the first response out loud. Then, prompt other members of the group to share their thoughts by asking questions. Can anyone relate to the message? What does the response make you think of? How do you feel after hearing it?
  9. Then, continue around the circle until everyone has read the response from their slip of paper. Take pauses in between each share to ask members how they feel.

You can facilitate this activity several times in a group therapy setting. Each time, you can focus on a different prompt with group members to encourage them to be more vulnerable and build their trust among other group members.

2. Goal Identification

Goal setting is an important part of group therapy because each member has chosen to attend in order to improve their mental health, as well as other aspects of their life. In order to change, it can be helpful for people to set goals to give them an idea of where they hope to see themselves in the future.

Activities that are focused on goal setting also help group members keep track of their own growth, as well as help support other group members as they work towards their personal goals. Some people might also find it helpful to set a goal as a group, where everyone attempts the same challenging task. It can seem less daunting when members know that others are going through it, too. Overall, goal-setting creates a sense of solidarity and allows members to reflect on what they want out of therapy.

You Will Need

To play this game, you will need the following:

(Video) Small Group Counseling - Self-image

  • Colored pens, markers, or pencils
  • Paper

How to Play

This is a game that has the potential to be fun and optimistic, and you can play it with any sized group. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Pass out three pieces of paper to each group member. Or, have each group member fold their paper in thirds.
  2. Make sure there are markers, colored pencils, etc. placed around the area where the group members will be drawing.
  3. Instruct each member to draw a short-term goal (that takes a few months to accomplish), a mid-range goal (about one year in the future), and a long-term goal (that may take a few years to achieve). The facilitator can also participate in the exercise alongside the group members to help build rapport.
  4. Give participants about 15 minutes to work on the exercise.
  5. After the time has ended, ask each group member to share their goals with the group one by one. The facilitator can go first to kick things off and give members an example.
  6. Once a participant shares a goal, you can start a dialogue about it with other members of the group by asking questions. Does anybody have a similar goal? What's one challenge a person might run into? What are some steps the person can take in order to accomplish their goal?
  7. Continue sharing goals and facilitating dialogue until each group member has had a turn.

Some group members might find it silly or intimidating to draw out their goal, and that's okay. Encourage them to simply write down their goal on paper if they don't feel like drawing. What's important is that they reflect on what they want and set a goal for themselves to work towards.

3. Not So Different After All

This particular activity might be more helpful to newly-formed therapy groups that haven't yet established a strong bond among members just yet. However, it can also be used to reaffirm bonds between groups that have been working together for longer.

When someone is struggling with their mental health or certain aspects of their life that are challenging, it can make people feel overwhelmed and isolated. This is why group therapy can be a good option for many because participants have the opportunity to help one another and offer support. However, before people can look to others, it can be helpful to establish a sense of solidarity and bonding through shared struggles.

You Will Need

To play this game, you will need the following materials:

  • Paper
  • Writing utensils

How to Play

This activity can be done with a group of any size. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Make sure everyone in the group has at least one piece of paper and a writing utensil.
  2. Inform group members that this activity is focused on finding similarities. Each group member will have 3 to 5 minutes to talk to another member and discover things they have in common. Members must write these qualities down and they cannot leave the pairing until they have found at least one similarity between them.
  3. If time allows, encourage each group member to pair up with all of the other members in the group.
  4. Afterward, gather group members together and facilitate a discussion about the activity. What were some of the challenges people faced? What did members learn from the activity? How has the activity changed the way people feel about sharing with others?

The facilitator can help members find similarities through prompts that they ask out loud or write on a whiteboard or paper at the front of the room. These similarities can be simple. For example, do you both have the same eye color? Do you both have kids? The same favorite color? Or, they can be more complex, such as do you have the same reason for coming to therapy? Similar goals? Similar fears about facing challenges.

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4. The Self-Compassion Pause

Compassion is an essential component of group therapy, relationships, and life in general. However, oftentimes participants might find it easier to offer compassion to others than to be compassionate towards themselves.

This exercise allows individuals to practice self-compassion and mindfulness with the encouragement of their peers. It also encourages participants to take time in their daily life to check in with themselves and their own needs, and take steps towards meeting themselves wherever they may be.

You Will Need

To play this game, you will need the following:

  • A large paper or a whiteboard
  • A marker

How to Play

Any sized group can participate in this activity, and the instructions are as follows:

  1. Set up two large pieces of paper at the front of the room, or divide the whiteboard into two different sections. Label one side "What I say to myself" and the other side "What I would say to a friend."
  2. Next, have a member in the group share a challenge they faced recently or something that happened that was stressful. For example, maybe someone was running late to work, spilled coffee on their shirt, or got into an argument with a loved one.
  3. Ask the group member to share what thoughts were running through their mind at the time. Maybe they thought "I can't do anything right," "I'm going to get fired," or "I'm not a good person." You can also ask other group members to share what thoughts would pop into their heads during the specific situation, as well.
  4. Then, ask the group member that shared what they would say to a friend that was going through the same situation. Would they say the same thing? How would they change the sentence to comfort a friend?
  5. Write down the new sentence the member shared under "What I would say to a friend."
  6. Go around the room and ask other group members to share some of the negative thoughts that pop up for them when they are in difficult situations. Continue to reconstruct them into more compassionate sentences that members would share with friends.
  7. Once several people have shared. Reflect on the differences between the two categories. Ask group members what they notice is different, and why they wouldn't say some of the things to friends that they would say to themselves.
  8. Encourage group members to talk to themselves the way they would a friend, and note how those thoughts might be more comforting, constructive, and compassionate.

This activity can be a helpful visual aid that can show group members the differences between the way they talk to themselves versus the way they talk to others. It can also demonstrate to group members that they aren't alone in slipping into patterns of negative self-talk. Finally, it can encourage members to shift the way they talk about or to themselves.

(Video) Group Therapy for Beginners

Why Group Therapy Activities Work

It can be intimidating to join a therapy group, especially if you don't know what to expect out of the experience. But group therapy activities like these create community. You can look to these activities to gain insight into what a group therapy session could look like, as well as how the group explores different activities and topics. If you facilitate group therapy sessions or support groups, you can use these activities to create a sense of belongingness among group members, and allow participants to take a step toward improving their mental health together.

Many new experiences can be challenging simply because you haven't faced them yet and don't know how to navigate them. However, you can look to your facilitator, mental health provider, and group therapy members to give you the support you need to find your footing and create a sense of belonging.

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What are some examples of group therapy? ›

Just a few examples of group types include:
  • Substance abuse (Alcoholics Anonymous, etc.)
  • PTSD.
  • Grief.
  • Dealing with specific physical illnesses.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Caregiving.

What are group activities for adults with mental health? ›

Adults with mental illness can participate in group therapy activities such as hiking, cooking, dancing, and creating art. As an icebreaker in the early stages of group therapy, these kinds of fun activities can aid in the development of collective identity and social skills.

What are some activities for group counseling? ›

Try these fun and effective group therapy activities for adults, teens, and kids!
Get the giant therapy activity bundle!
  • Feelings Games. ...
  • Pictionary-Like Games. ...
  • Therapy Bingo Games. ...
  • Grounding Activities. ...
  • Emotions Wheels. ...
  • DBT Board Games. ...
  • CBT Board Games. ...
  • Therapy Dice.
Oct 24, 2022

How do you structure a group therapy session? ›

A group counseling section should be divided up into three segments: activity, conversation, and conclusion. Each segment has a specific purpose. The activity segment is used to introduce the topic of discussion for the day. Activities are a fun way to introduce the topic and prepare the children for discussion.

What are some examples of group therapy goals and objectives? ›

Its objectives (many of which coincide with individual therapy) include conflict resolution, emotional balance, the stimulation of personal growth, and the enhancement of social skills, among others.

How do you do group therapy on simple practice? ›

  1. Create a new client in the system. ...
  2. Create a Telehealth appointment with “Group X” selected as the client.
  3. Share the unique link from this group Telehealth appointment to each client in the group manually.
  4. Explain to the clients in the group that they must be careful not to share the link with others.
Dec 18, 2020

What are some group activities for adults? ›

List of fun group activities for adults
  • Ice Cream or Gelato Classes. You do not need an ice cream maker to make delicious ice cream or gelato. ...
  • Themed Puzzle Night. ...
  • International Indoor Picnic. ...
  • LEGO Art Night. ...
  • Wheel of Fortune Games. ...
  • Mario Go-Kart Racing. ...
  • Live Candyland. ...
  • Mock Polo Game.
Nov 30, 2022

What are some examples activities that will lead to good health in mental health? ›

Ways to improve your mental health and wellbeing
  • listening to music.
  • watching TV.
  • playing video games.
  • practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or tai-chi.
  • mindfulness techniques are helpful to manage anxiety and negative or intrusive thoughts.
  • gardening.
  • catching up for drinks with a friend.
  • play with pets.

What are 3 activities you can do to be healthy mentally? ›

5 Simple activities to improve mental health
  1. Deep breathing. Stress contributes to common mental health struggles like anxiety and depression. ...
  2. Exercise. ...
  3. Gardening. ...
  4. Reading. ...
  5. Social interaction.

What are some of the group activities? ›

Teamwork Team Building Activities
  • Professional Development Workshop. Want to encourage team bonding while providing each team member with an opportunity to learn and further their career? ...
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Race. ...
  • Room Escape Games. ...
  • The Egg Drop Challenge. ...
  • Laser Tag. ...
  • Catch Phrase. ...
  • Game of Possibilities.
Jun 25, 2021

What is a good group activity? ›

Team-Building Activities to Do Outside the Office
  • Complete an Escape-the-Room Challenge. ...
  • Take a Cooking Class. ...
  • Take an Improv Class. ...
  • Sign Up for Trivia. ...
  • Volunteer. ...
  • Start a Book Club. ...
  • Tackle a Ropes Course. ...
  • Form an Intramural League.
Jan 24, 2022

What activities members can do in a group? ›

List of 50 Best Team Building Activities For Better Collaboration and Understanding
  • The Egg Drop. One of our favorite team-building exercises is the egg drop. ...
  • Hobby Clubs. Hobby clubs are an excellent way to bring together like-minded people. ...
  • Zoom. ...
  • Scavenger Hunt. ...
  • Office Trivia. ...
  • Minefield. ...
  • Blindfold. ...
  • Frostbite.

What are the 5 stages of group therapy? ›

Stages of Group Therapy: How does it Proceed | A Space Between
  • 5 stages of group therapy. Stage 1: Forming. Stage 2: Storming. Stage 3: Norming. Stage 4: Performing. Stage 5: Adjourning.
  • Conclusion.
Jun 11, 2021

What do you do in the first session of group therapy? ›

Initial sessions should include a discussion of the goals of the group followed by a discussion of individual goals for each group member. Even young children can understand and participate in such discussions. They need to know that they will be focusing on identifying and discussing certain topics and themes.

What are the four types of group therapy? ›

The following sections will outline five of the most common types of group therapy.
  • Psychoeducational groups. ...
  • Skills development groups. ...
  • Cognitive behavioral groups. ...
  • Support groups. ...
  • Interpersonal process groups.
Dec 10, 2020

What are Group goals examples? ›

Examples of group objectives
  • Goals to improve revenue.
  • Goals to build morale.
  • Goals to generate ideas.
  • Goals to improve efficiency.
Jul 5, 2022

What are treatment goals examples? ›

Treatment Plan Goals and Objectives

Examples of goals include: The patient will learn to cope with negative feelings without using substances. The patient will learn how to build positive communication skills. The patient will learn how to express anger towards their spouse in a healthy way.

What are therapy goals examples? ›

Therapy Goals: A Few Examples
  • “I want to heal from depression and get my hope and energy back.”
  • “I want to stop having the same fight with my partner over and over again.”
  • “I want to stop overeating when I'm stressed out and find healthier ways to cope.”
  • “I want to be creative like I used to be when I was younger.

How do you facilitate the first group therapy session? ›

How To Facilitate A Great Group Therapy Session?
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Attendance commitment.
  • No socialising with group members.
  • Communication and participation.
  • Strict non-violence policy.
  • Be straightforward and direct but unassertive.
  • Make the group fun!
May 12, 2021

What are the 6 phases of group therapy? ›

These are: Forming or Orienting; Storming or Transition; Norming or Cohesiveness;Performing or Working; and Adjourning or Termination.

What is group therapy most commonly used for? ›

Many groups are designed to target a specific problem, such as depression, obesity, panic disorder, social anxiety, chronic pain or substance abuse. Other groups focus more generally on improving social skills, helping people deal with a range of issues such as anger, shyness, loneliness and low self-esteem.

What are good ideas for activities? ›

Activities for any Season
  • go for a walk or to a park in your neighbourhood and play Frisbee.
  • plan a family road trip and bring a soccer ball or baseball to use on the way or when you get there.
  • walk at night and look for stars.
  • go swimming indoors.
  • go bowling, skating, or to a museum.

What is the best activity for older adults? ›

  • Crafting. Let their artistic spirit flow with any assortment of crafting options. ...
  • Gardening. For an elderly loved one who enjoys the outdoors, gardening is an ideal option. ...
  • Walking & Exercising. ...
  • Higher Learning. ...
  • Reading & Writing. ...
  • Cooking & Baking. ...
  • Volunteering. ...
  • Music & Dancing.
Mar 12, 2020

What activities are important to older adults? ›

Adults aged 65 and older need: At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or they need 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running. At least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles.

What are some mental wellness activities? ›

12 Activities to Boost Your Mental Health
  • Talk to a close friend or loved one. ...
  • Get moving. ...
  • Unplug and unwind. ...
  • Volunteer. ...
  • Play to your strengths. ...
  • Get lost in music. ...
  • Connect to your community. ...
  • Keep a journal.
May 4, 2021

What 5 activities hobbies would you put for improving your mental health? ›

5 Healthy Hobbies You Can Pick Up in Under a Week
  • Reading Can Calm Your Mind.
  • Meditation Can Lower Stress Levels.
  • Outdoor Activities Can Boost Feel-Good Chemicals.
  • Yoga Can Promote Relaxation.
  • Art Projects Can Reduce Stress.
Sep 6, 2022

What are 5 strategies you can used to be mentally healthy? ›

10 tips to boost your mental health
  • Make social connection — especially face-to-face — a priority. ...
  • Stay active. ...
  • Talk to someone. ...
  • Appeal to your senses. ...
  • Take up a relaxation practice. ...
  • Make leisure and contemplation a priority. ...
  • Eat a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health. ...
  • Don't skimp on sleep.
Oct 4, 2018

What are 4 common things that can improve mental health outcomes? ›

5 steps to mental wellbeing
  1. Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. ...
  2. Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. ...
  3. Learn new skills. ...
  4. Give to others. ...
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

What are the 12 steps to positive mental health? ›

They include:
  • keeping physically active.
  • eating well.
  • drinking in moderation.
  • valuing yourself and others.
  • talking about your feelings.
  • keeping in touch with friends and loved ones.
  • caring for others.
  • getting involved and making a contribution.
Nov 10, 2008

What are a list of activities? ›

What is an activity list? An activity list is a document that includes all the scheduled activities that are part of a project. Each activity includes one or more tasks that, once completed, allows everyone working on the project to move on to the next stage.

What are the five types of activities? ›

Types of activity
  • Aerobic activity. If your heart beats faster and you breathe harder, it's an aerobic activity. ...
  • Flexibility. Flexibility activities keep your muscles relaxed and joints mobile. ...
  • Strength. Muscle-strengthening activities: ...
  • Balance. ...
  • If you're getting older. ...
  • Mix the activities, double the benefit. ...
  • Be active safely.
Oct 28, 2015

What are 10 social activities? ›

Examples of Social Activities
  • Group sports such as soccer or basketball.
  • Art, music, or crafting.
  • Live classes such as improv theater, cooking, dancing, or even axe throwing!
  • Community gardening.
  • Board game nights.
  • Local festivals and concerts.
  • Online groups and classes focussed on building social skills.
Dec 30, 2022

What are 3 great tips for working together in a group? ›

Following these steps will help you and your group to work effectively together.
  • Have clear objectives. At each stage you should try to agree on goals. ...
  • Set ground rules. ...
  • Communicate efficiently. ...
  • Build consensus. ...
  • Define roles. ...
  • Clarify. ...
  • Keep good records. ...
  • Stick to the plan.
Mar 28, 2022

What are some key points of group work activities? ›

What are the benefits of group work?
  • Break complex tasks into parts and steps.
  • Plan and manage time.
  • Refine understanding through discussion and explanation.
  • Give and receive feedback on performance.
  • Challenge assumptions.
  • Develop stronger communication skills.

What is a positive activity? ›

We define positive activities as simple, intentional, and regular practices meant to mimic the myriad healthy thoughts and behaviors associated with naturally happy people. The efficacy of numerous positive activities for improving well-being has now been tested empirically.

How do I make a group interactive? ›

The tips for meeting interactivity
  1. Give the choice to be unknown. Interactive activities require speaking up. ...
  2. Stretch interaction. Post-event surveys and personalized messaging encourage interaction after the door is closed. ...
  3. Automate. To make onsite experiences interactive, first, make them convenient.
Jan 3, 2018

How do you host fun activities? ›

Here are some ideas for social activities that translate well to a remote setting.
  1. Video games. Factorio and Counter-Strike and whatever else the kids are playing these days. ...
  2. Board games. A lot of board games are available online, for free. ...
  3. Remote coffee run. ...
  4. Meals. ...
  5. Movie night. ...
  6. Remote conference. ...
  7. Skill sharing. ...
  8. Drinks.
Mar 27, 2020

What are community group activities? ›

Community building activities are events and exercises that promote camaraderie and fellowship and between like minded individuals. For example, volunteering, newsletters, and group game nights.

What is an example of group therapy? ›

For example, a course may teach people with anxiety how to using breathing techniques to stop panic attacks. Other types of group therapy include weekly or even daily meetings. The same people may attend each session, or the participants may vary.

What are the 11 therapeutic factors of group therapy? ›

These curative factors are present in all group interventions and are listed below.
  • Instillation of Hope. ...
  • Universality. ...
  • Imparting Information. ...
  • Altruism. ...
  • Corrective Recapitulation of the Primary Family Group. ...
  • Development of Socialising Techniques. ...
  • Interpersonal Learning. ...
  • Group Cohesiveness.

What is the storming stage of group therapy? ›

The second stage or phase of change within the group is called “Storming.” Here in this stage, the honeymoon tends to clear away and real work begins to set in. Members of the group argue for their position as responsibilities are clarified by the facilitator.

How do you run effective group therapy? ›

How to Run a Successful Group Therapy Session
  1. Know the Rules and Regulations for Group Therapy. ...
  2. Put Proper Systems in Place. ...
  3. Set Expectations for the Group. ...
  4. Set the Objective. ...
  5. Learn Icebreakers. ...
  6. Manage Interpersonal Dynamics. ...
  7. Make Group Therapy Fun. ...
  8. Successful Group Therapy Begins with You.
Apr 23, 2022

How do you engage members in group therapy? ›

As the group continues:
  1. Allow members to participate at their own pace. ...
  2. Use affirming, empathic statements, rather than probing questions. ...
  3. Highlight group process. ...
  4. Communicate, consistently, group members' responsibility to the group. ...
  5. Ask group members to evaluate their experience on a regular basis.
Sep 26, 2017

What is the most common type of group therapy? ›

Mutual Self-Help Groups

Perhaps the most common, effective, and popular type of group therapy outside of an intensive treatment program are mutual self-help support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

What is considered group therapy? ›

Group therapy is the treatment of multiple patients at once by one or more healthcare providers. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions including but not limited to emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What does the group therapy session focus on at first? ›

Identify Individual and Group Goals

Initial sessions should include a discussion of the goals of the group followed by a discussion of individual goals for each group member. Even young children can understand and participate in such discussions.

What is an important characteristic of group therapy? ›

Clients need to feel support and compassion from the group therapist. The therapist must build an alliance with each member and facilitate and promote communication among members so that they share with and learn from each other. The therapist maintains the focus on individual and group goals throughout the process.

What is a strength of group therapy? ›

When you've experienced trauma or other intense emotional situations, it can feel like you're alone and the only one who has these feelings. As part of a group, you see and hear first-hand from people who've felt those emotions or had similar experiences. This can reduce the sting of loneliness feelings of isolation.

What are two or three benefits of group therapy? ›

“Group therapy promotes socialization and communication. It also allows the participants to develop a sense of belonging and to see that they are not alone.”

Why group therapy is effective? ›

Groups may enhance social interactions. Patients can model healthy behaviours and healthy attachments. The group cohesiveness imparts a sense of safety. Participants may be encouraged to own their feelings, learn from each other and develop better understanding of how they interact.


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