Are you a mental health practitioner who wants to step up your group therapy? If yes, then you’re in luck! If you’re looking for fun, effective ways to engage your clients in some activities to improve their mental health, you’ve come to the right place.
Who says you can’t put “fun” in “group therapy?” In this blog, we have researched and come up with some of the best group therapy activities for adults, as well as a range of game ideas for group therapy. Let’s dive in!
Overview on Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT)
Firstly, let’s talk about CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT aims to improve the mental health of a person. It focuses on enhancing the way a person thinks and behaves through therapy. The purpose of CBT is to address mental health issues, such as abuse, depression, anxiety, and more.
But the difference is CBGT or Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy blends CBT in a group setting. The participants will engage in this therapeutic approach as a group. The CBT group therapy activities are an incredible way to develop social skills, learn from other participants, and improve thinking patterns and coping mechanisms.
It’s important to ensure that while conducting some CBT group activities, participants feel safe in the environment. This way, they can share their experiences in a non-threatening environment and receive the support they need from others.
There are different CBT group activities you’ll discover in this blog. Before we go any further, let’s see what makes CBGT effective.
Benefits of group CBT therapy
CBGT has many benefits for you and your clients, some of which are:
CBGT is cost-effective because you can work with many participants in one session. This makes it more cost-friendly. How? Because people who want to improve their well-being can join CBGT rather than one-on-one therapy, which can be more expensive.
CBGT can also include the skills of participants through interactive CBT activities for group therapy. These can be their problem-solving skills, thinking patterns, communication skills, cognitive restructuring, and therapeutic techniques.
Learn different perspectives
This happens to any other group activities. Through CBGT, the participants will discover more about each other. As a result, they can learn about the different perspectives and experiences of others.
Build healthy habits
When the group therapy ends, each participant can bring the lessons they learned from the activities. It’s not a one-and-done kind of thing but continuous work. So through CBGT, they can build healthy habits even outside the therapy sessions.
One of the best things about group therapy is not having to feel isolated and alone. The participants who are going through the same thing can get together, relate with each other, and provide support to boost their wellness.
Do these benefits sound good? Read on because, with these CBT group ideas, you’ll be able to gain insights and tips to make group therapy effective.
CBT group therapy activity ideas with examples
The following CBT group therapy ideas will help you and the participants achieve therapeutic goals. First, we have:
Roleplay is an excellent way for self-expression. It helps participants engage in different social situations and learn what to do when they encounter them. This will lessen their anxiety and empower their social skills.
You can come up with different scenarios that you think will be helpful to the participants. For example, if some of them have low self-esteem, have them roleplay social scenes that will make them feel empowered.
The world moves fast. Sometimes, we need to keep ourselves grounded and keep in touch with our emotions and thoughts. That’s where mindfulness meditation comes into play.
It is a mental technique that will help your participants to concentrate, relax, and focus on the present. This can reduce negative thoughts, boost mental clarity, and strengthen self-control.
Gradual exposure means the participants will be gradually exposed to things that trigger or cause distress. The purpose of this is to reduce fear, anxiety, and avoidance of that specific situation or object.
For example, a participant has a phobia of insects. You can start by having them imagine the image of the insects. Then in the next session, there will be more vivid imaginations.
If successful and the participant feels safe enough, there can be real-life exposures, too. But make sure that the participant is comfortable with it and willing to work on their phobia.
Goals can be overwhelming. So, the successive approximation is here to tackle these overwhelming goals by breaking them into smaller steps. Through this, participants can achieve a bigger goal and mastery by taking small steps every day.
Skills training is designed to help individuals learn new skills and use them for their own growth. These could include communication skills, social skills, assertiveness, or other general psychological skills.
For example, you can train the participants to be kind to themselves and improve self-talk. They can also practice breathing exercises, mindfulness, and other activities that will improve their mental health and other skills.
Relaxation breathing training
When things get hard, we forget to pause and breathe. Sometimes, that can cause anxiety and panic attacks.
So through relaxation breathing training, participants can reduce the symptoms, such as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, trembling, etc.
This CBT exercise is designed to help participants or clients be proactive in solving their problems during challenging times. Problem-solving exercises allow participants to take control of their emotions and navigate difficult situations. To put this into practice, you can come up with CBT games for groups tailored to highlight their problem-solving skills.
Journaling can help us slow down, gather our thoughts, and calm our minds. If your participants are stressed or suffering from anxiety, you can advise them to do worry journaling.
You can give them prompts to answer, so they know what to write. For example:
- What are you grateful for today?
- What are you looking forward to?
- What’s the highlight of your day?
- What are some of the worries you need to let go of?
They can do this every morning, night, or whenever they have racing thoughts or worry.
Discussing trauma can help participants process their thoughts and emotions about the traumatic events.
To start with this exercise, you can brainstorm discussion questions for group therapy to get the conversation started. If you have participants who are dealing with substance-use problems, there are a great number of group topic ideas for substance abuse so participants can talk about their experience.
Make sure that participants feel safe discussing their traumatic experiences and that they are comfortable talking about them.
Focusing on self-care
Self-care doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. There are group activities for self-care that will encourage participants to implement together but will benefit themselves.
Some group activities that stimulate self-care are:
- Playing board games
- Exercising together
- Practicing mindfulness
- Starting new hobbies together
- Having lifting and mindful conversations
Aren’t these activities exciting? 🤩
All in all, group activities can improve themselves as individuals while thriving in a supportive environment. The more counseling group therapy ideas you have, the more lively you can turn therapy will. It doesn’t need to have a nerve-racking atmosphere.
By using the activities mentioned above, you can create a fun-loving environment that participants will enjoy and feel safe in. And that plays a big role in achieving the best outcomes for your clients.
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