10 Group Therapy Activities for Adults

Group therapy activities are designed for a small group of people with similar issues. A licensed mental health therapist leads the group with special training in the issues shared by participants. For example, an alcohol use disorder group may be led by a certified drug and alcohol counselor.

Therapists use various methods to help group members learn new skills while also learning more about themselves and others.

Group therapy is a safe place where participants can share personal information without being judged or worried about confidentiality. It also helps everyone know they are not alone and that many others can relate to their circumstances.

Types of Group Therapy

Because everyone has different learning styles, it’s essential to have options for finding the right type of group therapy to attend. The four most common types of group therapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is talk therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns to positive ones. Doing so will lead to better decision-making and healthier behaviors.
  • Support groups allow peers to give and receive support through sharing personal stories. They follow a structured agenda. Examples of support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous and 12 Step facilitation groups.
  • Process groups are primarily unstructured, allowing members to share experiences and brainstorm solutions to problems as a group.
  • Psychoeducation groups exist to teach a group of people more about the issue they have in common. To heal from a disorder, you must understand how the disorder began. Learning the physiological and psychological components of the issue can help you avoid a relapse.
  • Skills development groups teach participants new skills that will help them succeed in recovery from a mental health disorder.

It is in CBT and skill groups that you will see group therapy activities for adults. Below are 10 examples of therapeutic activities.

1. Checking In

In every group, there is the member that will monopolize the conversation and the member who avoids speaking to the group. To ensure everyone gets the chance to participate, start using the check-in activity at the beginning of each group session.

Checking in Questions can be created ahead of time and given a time limit when answering them. The key is to connect with each person.

2. Vision Boards

Setting goals and creating a plan to reach those goals is an integral part of recovery from depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and all other mental health issues. Vision boards go one step beyond writing down your goals. You get to be creative in how you decorate your board with items that represent your dreams.

3. Two Truths and a Lie

Group therapy activities for adults do not have to be boring. Learning is often improved when everyone is having a good time. With two truths and a lie, you write three statements about yourself, two of which are true, and the other is false. The group breaks into pairs to discuss their answers, which can bring about a lot of much-needed laughter.

4. Fun Facts

Fun Facts is a great ice breaker. Everyone writes fun facts about themselves on a piece of paper. They do not sign the paper and instead leave it anonymous until later. Every paper goes into a bowl. Then, each person in the group pulls out a piece of paper, reads the fun facts to the group, and they try to figure out who the fun facts describe.

5. Food for Healing

Nutrition is a big part of healing. If using with a substance use disorder group, the group can discuss how substance misuse depletes the body of nutrients. Then have the group create a healthy meal using items provided or by creating a healthy menu on paper.

6. Self-Care

Making themselves a priority is something each group member should be doing to improve mental and physical health. Most people take care of everyone else’s needs before their own. Doing so can lead to mental health and substance use relapses.

As a group, have each person contribute an idea for self-care. Also, have them express how they will implement it into their lives. Check in the following week to see if they followed through.

7. Share a Song

Music can touch people emotionally. Some songs can be triggers. Ask each group member to bring in a song for which the lyrics represent their life in some way. Play the song to the whole group and discuss the lyrics afterward. If the song is a trigger, ask the group to choose a song to replace it, one that invokes happiness and motivation to change.

8. Stress Management and Relaxation

Stress is possibly the biggest trigger for an emotional or substance use relapse. Stress can come from many places, including peers, jobs, school, family, and yourself. Discuss with the group the dangers of stress physically and mentally. Then discuss stress-management techniques.

Practice these techniques in group therapy. Deep breathing, aromatherapy, and meditation can be practiced anywhere.

9. Support System Review

Each person in group therapy should be working on building a support system. However, some people they choose for support have characteristics that indicate they will not be the right type of support needed. For example, someone misusing alcohol or drugs cannot be on a support team. Neither can the enabling parents, abusive siblings, ex-lovers from a codependent relationship, or jealous coworkers.

Have each group member present their potential support system. The group is allowed to ask questions and vote on whether the person is a good choice based on the answers.

10. Write Your Own Eulogy

Having group members write their own eulogy can help them focus on the decisions that lead to life and death. It can also tell you a lot about the self-esteem of each group member. You can then engage the group in self-esteem-building activities.

Start Benefiting from Group Therapy Activities

Whether they are used as fun icebreakers or profound self-reflection, members can benefit from group therapy activities for adults.

As the group progresses, you can even allow the members to choose the activities.