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Group Therapy Activities

PUBLISHED ON: 01.06.2024
A group of people holding hands showing support

Every individual, at some point in their life, requires assistance in navigating through certain situations, particularly those linked with mental health. In recent years, group therapy has gained substantial recognition for its remarkable ability to foster a supportive environment, improve communication skills, boost self-esteem, and effectively address a wide range of mental health concerns. This is where the potency of group therapy activities steps in.


Group therapy, as endorsed by renowned organizations like the American Psychological Association, serves as a potent platform for individuals to find solace in the shared experiences of others who may be wrestling with similar mental health issues. The magic of group therapy does not merely lie in its capacity for individual personal growth but in creating an environment that empowers each group member to bring healing not only to themselves but also to others.


Key to successful group therapy sessions are the thoughtfully selected activities that go beyond mere conversation. Encompassing a range of strategies, group therapy activities are carefully designed to provide self-esteem boosts and foster a sense of community, thereby creating a safe space for healing. By providing tangible, engaging ways to explore and address deep-seated issues in a group setting, these activities play a crucial role in driving home the insights and truths discussed during talk therapy.


Consequently, it is important to note that structured group therapy activities offer participants the opportunity to practice new behaviors, reflect on their interactions, gain different perspectives, and receive feedback in a safe environment. 


At the heart of this healing process is the supportive environment offered by the group, a factor that substantially assists in meeting the mental health needs of each participant effectively.


The Different Types of Group Therapy Activities

Group therapy activities come in different shapes and sizes and are applied based on the needs of the group members and the therapy goals. As we dive deeper into group therapy, it’s essential to understand different types of therapy activities and how each one fosters personal growth and confronts prevalent mental health issues. 


One standout approach is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This type of group therapy activity employs cognitive behavioral techniques that focus on changing negative thought patterns that lead to damaging behaviors and beliefs. Often used to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse, CBT-based activities can include role-playing to confront anxieties and fears or problem-solving activities to provide practical tools for managing difficult situations. 


Substance abuse group therapy activities are another widely used method, critical in aiding addiction recovery. Activities here often involve sharing personal stories of struggle and triumph, group discussions around triggers and coping strategies, and education about substance dependence and its impact. 


Interpersonal group therapy, which focuses on improving interpersonal skills and relationship issues, is another type worth mentioning. These activities might involve role play, group discussions on personal experiences, and fostering communication skills. 


For instance, mental health professional Judith Belmont’s 103 Group Activities reinforces the principle that when people engage in a group setting, a profound healing effect can emerge through the dynamic of shared experiences, diverse perspectives, and the sense of belonging and understanding. These activities include trust-building exercises, problem-solving scenarios, role-play sessions, and creative art-based activities, each one uniquely contributing to the group member’s mental well-being. 


Regardless of their differences, each of these group therapy activities serves a common purpose: to facilitate personal growth and emotional health amid shared experiences, fostering a safe environment for healing and growth. Whether it be through sharing experiences or learning and practicing new strategies, each activity is creatively designed to tap into various aspects of a member’s holistic wellbeing. 


By understanding how each of these types of group therapy activities operates, we can better appreciate their unique contributions to addressing mental health issues. Offering a mix of different activities in a group therapy setting allows for a broader, more comprehensive approach, enabling group members to benefit from multiple therapeutic techniques. 


As we continue this journey through the world of group therapy activities, the next section will take a closer look at some particular examples, the skills they aim to nurture, and the positive psychological impact they offer to individuals who partake in them.


Group Therapy Activities

A group of seniors playing games

Having explored the broad categories of group therapy activities, let’s dive into some unique examples that offer rich insights into the transformative power of group therapy sessions. These activities, often facilitated by a trained group therapist, range from creative art-based activities to interactive icebreakers and transformative interpersonal skill-building exercises.


Creative and Expressive Activities

Creative activities are a universal aspect of group therapy. They allow group members to express themselves in non-verbal ways, which can often reveal more than spoken words. A popular example involves using art materials to create an image or symbol that represents a feeling, situation, or person. These projects become the basis for discussion and can provide valuable insights relevant to a member’s mental health journey. This kind of creative activity encourages the exploration of personal experiences and has the potential to boost self-esteem.


Ice breakers also hold vital importance in the early stages of group therapy. These activities generate a friendly, relaxed environment that encourages group members to get acquainted. This initial stage of creating a supportive environment is crucial in establishing the group as a safe space.


Role Playing

Moreover, role-playing exercises can be a powerful tool for participants to put themselves in the shoes of others or experiment with different perspectives. They can help individuals make sense of complex personal experiences, learn new strategies for dealing with similar issues, and build critical interpersonal skills in a supportive environment.


Coping Skill Exercises

Another important aspect of group therapy activities is the teaching of coping skills. Whether participants are dealing with substance abuse, battling low self-esteem, or struggling with other mental health related issues, these activities provide practical tools to develop healthy coping strategies. For example, these could include breathing exercises to manage stress or communication exercises to improve relationships.


Skill-Building Exercises

Skill-building exercises, like developing active listening or practicing assertive communication, not only aid in personal growth but also improve the dynamic of the group therapy session itself. Each participant learns how to engage better with others in the group, fostering a therapy group that is more supportive, understanding, and effective. 


In working through these activities, a group member benefits from both the shared experience with the therapy group and the newfound skills that can be applied in their personal life, a testament to the profound impact that varied group therapy activities have on promoting emotional health. 



Group therapy activities stand as a testament to the collective effort of individuals coming together and sharing their personhood, vulnerabilities, and strengths to create a safe space for healing and growth. These activities are not just therapeutic tasks, but they constitute a journey towards improved emotional health, better coping skills, and heightened self-esteem.


Through these experiences, individuals are equipped with practical tools, new strategies, and a deeper understanding of how to navigate life’s challenges. The process of sharing, listening, and engaging in these activities fosters not only personal healing but also creates a rippling effect of support and understanding within the group.


As we’ve explored, technology plays a significant role in this picture. Tools like PIMSY EHR allow mental health providers to enhance the delivery and management of these vital activities. 


With an integrated EHR, facilities can spend more time focusing on what matters most, offering mental health services that truly make a difference.


Ultimately, every group therapy session holds the promise of personal growth, a better understanding of mental health, and the development of a strong bond among group participants. In the realm of mental health services, initiatives that involve group therapy activities wield a transformative power that is far too significant to be overlooked.


At PIMSY EHR, we remain committed to bolstering these efforts by offering robust technology solutions that optimize the delivery of these services, underscoring our dedication to fostering a healthier, more supportive world for those navigating mental health issues.



“American Psychological Association (APA)” APA, Accessed December 18th, 2023.


“Overview – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT” NHS, Accessed December 29th, 2023.


Jayne Kay
Author: Jayne Kay

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