According to the World Health Organisation in 2001, one in four people suffer from a mental health condition, with extended insights showing over 450 million people suffer from conditions worldwide. Since 2001, many researchers believe these figures to have risen dramatically.
Despite the rise in mental health conditions, thanks to a host of tools such as campaigns, social media and face-to-face support, the stigma around mental health have been slowly breaking down. Schools, workplaces and factories across the globe are embracing healthier practices to reduce stress and anxiety and the conversation is much more open than it was 10 years ago thanks to the damaging effects on our society so far.
The art of speaking about mental health is one that is not yet mastered in all of us. A tricky subject to kickstart and one that leaves many on edge.
What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy activities have been an interactive way to kickstart healthy conversations around mental health. In this article, we’ll discuss the nature of group therapy, the benefits, and how to use group therapy activities to positively talk about mental health with friends, family members or colleagues.
Group therapy has been used many times to bridge the gap between those suffering from mental health and those who are not. Traditionally, group therapy is coordinated between the sufferer and a therapist or a licensed counsellor.
However, there are various ways you can embrace group therapy activities in your daily routine, we’ve shortlisted some fun, interactive games and icebreakers to use with your friends and those suffering from the condition to help warm up the conversation and bring support to sufferers close to us.
The Benefits of Group Therapy Activities
There are many benefits to using group talk therapy. Group therapy can teach you about yourself and provide you with a strong dose of social skills.
Here are just some of those benefits:
- Less Intense – One to one therapy can be very invasive for those new to therapy. The intensity of one to one interaction with a therapist might feel daunting, whilst the inviting circle of friends and family could be a more welcomed starting point.
- Safe Environment – Friends and family can sometimes be the best people to help tackle your condition. They know you best. Allowing them to be involved will also help them come to terms with your struggles and needs.
- Cost-Effective – Paying for a therapist upfront can be a big investment for many, without the test run of group therapy activities with friends, you might not know whether this is able to help reduce your conditions symptoms. Please note, this is only advice and does not extend as medical advice.
- Icebreakers – For new friends that could have a stigma around mental health, these activities can be a great icebreaker. Getting to know people and helping them to understand what your facing will only make things easier for all parties.
These are just some of the benefits that embracing group therapy has helped. There are plenty of stories of friendships that have support mental health with happy endings.
Why Therapy Activities Can Help Young People?
The world of social media has connected us with over 2bn other people around the globe. From Calcutta to Edinburgh, the internet opens up the conversation, but for many young people, they feel more alone than ever.
With all this noise and constant competition to keep relevant, they feel out of the loop and many lack social communication skills that can help them tackle conditions such as anxiety and stress. The therapy activities help to break down complex feelings and emotions and to discuss them amongst a group that you feel safe with.
All of the group therapy activities recommended below are for all ages. These activities can be extremely useful for young people looking to take part in more social challenges and tackle their own concerns and mental health.
Try Therapy Activities On Your Own
Not sure who to recruit first or super eager to get started?! That’s awesome. We’d like to recommend an activity tool you can use on your own.
Our app, Therachat helps thousands of people on a daily basis to uncover their mental health condition with a range of helpful therapy worksheets. Worksheets are an insightful way to build your personal practices and make progress.
They range from understanding your self-confidence, exploring your emotions, taming your anger, amping your assertiveness and embracing self-compassion. Try it out for free today on iOS and Android!
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Our 10 Group Therapy Activities To Try With Friends
- Two Truths and a Lie
Very similar to the UK TV programme, “Would I Lie To You” this group therapy activity is fun for a small group of friends or even family members (although, it could be easier with friends). The goal is to create three facts about yourself, with one being a lie and the other two truthful.
The team have to guess which facts are correct and which are false as they go around the circle.
This activity is fun and will get you laughing for sure. But most importantly it helps to get you sharing as the perfect ice-breaking game for new friends. Remember you can really make this fun by drawing out all of the crazy facts about your life. Uncovering your world and what has happened to you in the past can help others to empathise with you and bring up the topic of your mental health in a not so obvious manner.
- Blind Cooking Challenges
Not only an icebreaker but the perfect way to catch up with friends.
Set a cake recipe in front of one person. From a recipe for the other person’s choice, this is the best way to get everyone together, working together. The other person must instruct, but not touch the other person. Please note, you may need to clean the kitchen afterwards, there’s no doubt it’ll get messy and make sure you aren’t involving knives or sharp objects.
Over a cooking session, you might be able to share your emotions, feelings, thoughts or help express some of the stress that comes along with your condition. This hilarious activity can quickly turn into an excellent form of talk therapy in a group and build trust between everyone. Talk therapy can be very helpful for discussing and thinking out the symptoms and issues in your condition.
- Coloring Challenge
Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. Take part in a group coloring challenge.
Begin by organizing a day and time to visit a coffee shop. Instruct everyone not bring their smartphones or if they do, to have them switched off on entry. The challenge begins by writing down a prompt on a piece of paper for a drawing.
This could be anything, an animal or a member of the group, your grandma, whatever!
Each of the team submits their slip of paper. At random, the group pick out a slip of paper and color or draw the stated item on the paper. The results will then be revealed all at the same time. The game is a funny one and commonly sparks healthy conversation and the perfect time away from the stress of your phone. For mental health, the use of coloring books has risen in the last few years, thanks to research pointing to the success of the practice in helping to reduce anxiety and calm mental health conditions.
- Fear in a Hat
In a similar way, the “fear in a hat” game is a good way to reveal your group members’ fear in a fun trust-building game. Each team member gets a slip of paper. On the paper, they write out their deepest darkest fear. Entering all of the fears into a hat.
This typically helps conversations begin about the fear itself and why that fear begin for them. This game has become a smart way to break down barriers and discuss what matters. This trust-based game will help you to uncover what fears people face and open the floor to how they handle this and whether they are currently facing these fears on a daily basis. Fears can trigger conditions and grow into mental health problems if not addressed.
- Three Animals
Ask all of the group members to come up with their three favourite animals. From this, the group needs to write down the name of the animal and three qualities each animal has that you appreciate. The first, second and third animal represents how you want to see people, how you see others, and who you really are. Going around in a circle, you then reveal the traits of your animal and why you agree to discuss with the thoughts.
To round this off, everyone must end the exercise by drawing a merge of the three animals. This is a relaxed, fun way to end the session and help reflect on the discussion learnings. Reflecting is important for your mental health, overviewing why you made those decisions will help to produce insights and learn about yourself in a constructive manner.
Let us know in the comments below about the exercises that you’ve done with your friends or family that has helped to improve your mental health or promoted healthy discussions.
More Journaling Prompts, Worksheets And Activities
Therachat offers pre-made activities for psychologists and counselors to engage their clients in between sessions and achieve better outcomes.