Icebreakers for group therapy are one of the best tools you can have in your therapist’s toolbox. They are simple to implement, they’re fun, and they help participants to begin engaging with the group in ways that feel safe. These blog article will review icebreakers that can be used during group therapy and their benefits.
Whether you’re new to group therapy or you’re a seasoned pro, one of the biggest challenges is getting the group started. You have your protocol in place but how do you get your participants to feel comfortable and prepare them to engage- Ice breakers is the answer!
Icebreakers not only get the group started, they also help your group members in important ways:
• Helping members get to know each other.
• Integrating new members into the group.
• Increasing comfort with others in the group.
• Encourages listening and cooperation.
• Enhances social skills.
• Builds rapport.
• Sets a positive, supportive tone for the work they will be doing.
Be mindful of time. Icebreakers are meant to be short, fun tasks that ease everyone into the work that’s about to begin. If group is on your agenda, check out our top five icebreakers for group therapy sessions.
Two Truths and a Lie
This is a fun and safe way to get to know each other and share a little about oneself in a safe way. Each participant gets to choose what the “two truths” and “lie” is that they want to share. The other members of the group have to decide what is truth and what is not for each person. If you’re doing this activity online, you can have them write down their responses and show on the screen, or you can use an interactive white board.
Getting To Know You
Prepare a set of easy, open ended questions or unfinished statements that participants can use to safely share a bit about themselves. Here are some examples:
• What is something about you that makes you feel positive and proud?
• What are you most looking forward to in this group?
• My favorite way to spend free time is…
• Something funny that happened to me recently is…
• What is something that we (the group) might be surprised to know about you?
You can use these in a number of ways. You can put these questions or statements on index cards or slips of paper and let each member of the group draw a card so that each member answers a different question. Or, you can choose one as the “opener” for the session and everyone responds to the same question in turn. If you’re doing this activity online via a video conferencing platform, you can post questions using an interactive white board like the one in TheraPlatform or you can send the list to your group members using TheraPlatform’s document sharing capabilities.
Who Am I?
This is a short, fun icebreaker that is especially good for new groups or open groups that have new members frequently. Have each member introduce themselves and say their first name. Ask them to include a word that starts with the same letter as their name and describes what they consider a positive trait they have. For example, dynamic Debbie or kind Kenny. Refer to them in this way for the remainder of the session.
Give Me A Minute
This is a fun, fast-paced icebreaker for both new and established groups. The goal is to talk for one minute about a given subject. Have a set of cards or slips of paper with random subjects on them. Examples might include: ice fishing, best way to make filet gumbo, favorite TV show ever, the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, 5 best Disney rides, interesting facts about polar bears…you get the idea. Set a timer and each person has to talk about that subject for one minute. Your members are sure to have lots of interesting things to say and probably a few laughs will be had.
This is a fun icebreaker that you can use with adolescents or adults and will no doubt prompt lots of engagement.
For this activity, you will tell members to imagine they are being sent to a desert island. They will be able to take their essential things like clothing and medicine, but they will also be allowed three additional items: a survival item, an entertainment item, and a luxury item. The only caveat is that they have to be items they can carry onto the island by themselves. What will they choose for their three items and why?
Give them a few minutes to come up with their items. Ask each person to share their choices with the rest of the group. Finding similarities with other members is a great way to begin building rapport.
If you work with children refer to this blog article discussing icebreaker activities for children.
All of these ice breakers can be easily conducted on TheraPlatform using their interactive screen sharing feature. Ready to see how TheraPlatform can take your group sessions online? Sign up now for a free trial, no credit card required.
For more useful tips for your practice, check out TheraPlatform’s blog here.
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