In-Class Exercises
Listed below are exercises that can be conducted in one class period - one hour or less. I've divided the exercises into the categories below, although the categories overlap. If you have an exercise you'd like to contribute to this site, let me know suler@mindspring.com Respect the wishes of students who feel uncomfortable about participating in an experiential teaching exercise. When introducing an exercise to the class, it's a good practice to let students know that participation is not required. psychotherapy self abnormality group & counseling insight & health dynamics general techniques

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Psychotherapy and Counseling
Secrets and resistance in psychotherapy - What's it like to reveal personal information about yourself in psychotherapy. Why do clients show "resistance?" This exercise brings these issues to life. An Intake Interview - Give students a crack at conducting an intake interview with a psychiatric patient. Give yourself a crack at acting. The Way I Think - An exercise where students can respond to a sample of cognitive interventions. Reflection - There's more than meets to the eye to this basic therapy technique. Life Facts - If you were asked to list four or five important "facts" about yourself and your life, what would come to mind? What would that list say about you? Transference - Do we recreate in our current relationships the ways in which we reacted to our parents? If so, is this similar to transference in therapy? Implosive Therapy - In small groups students exercise their imagination and analytic skills in constructing an implosive therapy script.

The Imagined House Exercise ./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624.Do the people you "hate" really represent something inside you? The I Ching .Don't laugh! This exercise from kindergarten works extremely well as a self-disclosure exercise. Self-Insight Many of these exercises also apply to psychotherapy and counseling in that they involve processes of insight and self-exploration that are similar to those occuring in psychotherapy.a quick experiment in cognitive restructuring and Buddhist philosophy. The Shadow Exercise . Childhood memories .like where you tend to sit in a class.Western psychology doesn't hold the monopoly on intrapsychic insight and change.By exploring just one or two childhood memories.This fascinating exercise suggested by John Provo is an excellent way to for students to explore various components of their identity and sense of self. as well as appreciate how memory works. students can understand important themes in their lives. The Timeline Exercise . as well as understand the dynamics of mental imagery.A walk around campus to develop your awareness.constructing a timeline of one's life enhances insight into one's life. but perhaps also biological.Perhaps personality traits are revealed even by very simple things . Empty Your Pockets .personality and temperment may not be purely psychological.An exercise using music to help students sharpen their awareness of emotional expression. The Hammer or Nail Exercise . A Mindful Walk .turn Halloween costumes into an exercise on self and other perceptions. The Dynamics of Sitting . Listening for feelings . Show and Tell .what you carry with you every day may say something about your personality .By walking students through a house in their imagination.doc I wish you health and happiness . you can help them explore various facets of their personality structure. Somatotypes . Costumes .

Smith .How severe is a person's mental illness? When do people need psychotherapy or hospitalization? This exercise encourages students to think about these questions.Are religious experiences universal? I use this handout to encourage a class discussion about this important question. Altered States: Fact and Fiction . Personality Disorders .Fact and fiction about altered states of consciousness in the movie "Altered States.This exercise suggested by Jody Deutsch Moore helps students understand the psychological significance of the birth name given to them. and everything of importance inbetween. An excellent way for students to introduce themselves to each other." Homosexuality .students try to pick out the most appropriate treatments for people experiencing different types of problems. and therefore shed light on group dynamics. They highlight many basic human issues about life.Imagine a party where all of the people have a personality disorder. Diagnosing Mr. Students are presented with this scenario.Do students think homosexuality is "normal?" This exercise never fails to generate an interesting. even when the diagnostic criteria seem clear. What's in a Name . Group Dynamics These activities involve group interactions and/or role plays. Abnormality and Health Shades of Abnormality . death.Eastern tales from Zen Buddhism and Taoism are great teaching tools and stimuli for class discussion.A handout for discussing and role-playing the defenses we all use everyday. and must properly diagnose the characters at the party. discussion about homosexual lifestyles. Defense Mechanisms . The Religious Experience: East.making a differential diagnosis is not always easy. Everywhere . Mental health treatments .doc Zen Stories . But there's also a considerable amount of "self-insight" involved in these activities as well./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. . This collection of stories also includes students' reactions to the stories. West. and sometimes heated.

an exercise and role plays for sensitizing students to the subtleties of body language.Group drawings can reveal a great deal about individual people as well as group dynamics. this exercise shows that a game can be much more than simply a game. Insight & Self-Awareness Activities (on this website) Get To Know You Sociometric Questions A sequence of questions which help students to find out about one another./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. Freeze .A useful technique for introducing students to each other and the class. Brainstorming . including giving and receiving written feedback from other students in the course.how do moods affect group dynamics? Group Tell-A-Story .a quick method for assessing the state of mind of the class Tape Recorded Feedback . . The Special Place Exercise . Family Sociograms .Suggested by Alan Clingan and Gordon McInnis.A dyad exercise suggested by Jerry Noloboff that encourages self-disclosure and the building of a group field. The Circulating Papers Technique ." It's also a lot of fun.students draw the patterns of relationships in their family. Taking the class's pulse ." or are flexible tools that can be applied in a variety of ways.html Psychological Exercises.Here's a way that everyone in the class gets to express him or herself.edu/~suler/inclassex. General Techniques These activites are either "general purpose.Every group has a distinct.lead a class through a formal brainstorming session in order to address some issue concerning the course http://users. Body language . and have fun. and hopefully learn something about themselves. This exercise helps students explore the various dimensions of the "group self.A fascinating and extremely versatile role-playing activity! Mood role plays . Group Checkers . complex personality. suggested by Linton Hutchinson.doc Group Drawings . move around. Dyad Introductions .rider.A creative method for giving students feedback on their written assignments.

Simply observe and be. Group Mandala Solo Hour in Nature Sensual Awareness Inventory Mirror Image Dice Your Way to Multiple Futures Personality & Psychological Profiling Tools Assign students the task of breaking a social stereotype (e. You may write. Personality and team role profiling tools such as the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator and 360 Degree Feedback introduce rich potential for growth to personal growth programs. We are rarely "still" in nature. Each person is represented by an object.. Stimulates self. Participants identify what experiences give them pleasure through each of their five senses. with one person mirroring the actions of the other. Spend time . Fosters interpersonal empathy. Spend one hour in silence. then share and discuss this with the group. but is confronting. Then each person randomly selects and reads someone else's fear to the group and explains how the person might feel. People never cease to be marvelled by optical illusions and cognitive deception exercises. An eco-therapy exercise adapted for a group setting.and otherawareness. Consider what level of guidance students need in selecting to "appropriate" behaviors. Involves people in pairs. Includes self-scoring questionnaires. A more basic version is Show & Tell. The objects are "caste" like dice and group members share their feelings and rearrange the objects./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. Group members write personal fears anonymously on pieces of paper which are collected. Do the activity in a graveyard or church for added effect. Visit a natural place that is conveniently available. wearing opposite-sex clothes) and then report back and discuss with the group what happened and what was Challenging Stereotypes discovered about themselves and stereotypes.g. can alter Write Your Own Eulogy perspective (reveals big picture). A projective. This activity provides 17 illusions which can be used to experientially illustrate how the human mind perceives and structures the world. Get Lost Walk and keep walking until you are lost. A matrix-esque personal development exercise which engages participants with the power of the future's multiple possibilities. Locus of Control Fear in a Hat Illusions: Exercises which Illustrate Perceptual Fallibility Explore personal meanings of life and death.doc Explains a class tutorial about internal and external locus of control. group dynamics exercise.

Find someone you've never met before who is over 60 or 70? years old with a free lunch and ask them to share their life story with you. Take turns emptying pockets. One's house (and car) are often seen as symbols of one's self. Then post it! This task can be done on its own or as part of a cultural adventure hunt. Insight & Self-Awareness Activities (on other websites) Draw a life line and mark significant events from birth to present to anticipated death. Let yourself go with the picture. even psycho-spiritual direction when it is done mindfully. See also Personal Timeline. Spend time being lost. Then try to find your way back. Could be combined with Writing your own Eulogy.com]. Links to experiential activity ideas for engaging group therapy themes. private space in which to write the letter. Conflict Resolution Game A Mindful Walk . Hand write a letter to someone who you want to improve Write a Letter to Improve your relationship with. Take your time to find some good paper and pencils. It rewards creative response to another's statement rather than opposing it. one's fantasy or imagined house represents psychological/personality aspects. Show the rest of the group what one is carrying (optional). and add value to. each other's points. In traditional debate. In this game participants build on./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. participants address an issue in order to refute their opponent. And then post it! Draw a picture for someone who you want to improve your relationship with. Then try find your way back. Walking takes on a whole new psycho-somatic. or markers. Draw a Picture to Improve a Relationship Free Lunch for a Life Story Group Therapy Ideas & Themes Psychological Exercises. Take only roads you've never been on before. etc.firststepstraining. Add a little note if you want. Drive and keep driving until you are lost. then share with a partner or group [www. So too. Take your time to create a a Relationship comfortable. The person and the group then discuss what the objects say about the person. paint. Life Map Imagined House Exercise Empty Your Pockets Introduce the notion of radial symmetry to young school Mandalas for Kids: students and they will be able to come up with some Introducing Radial Symmetry amazing designs.doc being lost.

Based on cult book "The Dice Man". broad applicability for self-insight & group dynamic activities. Throw some of your life decisions to the dice and see what happens.as does finding out what characters other people think you would like to be.doc Listing out one's fantasy characters usually reveal something deeper about oneself . Practical tips for thinking and acting more abundantly. cultural and spiritual significance. participants make masks to represent the aspect of nature they choose to represent./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. Has been used with adults. the pain of stepping on a nail are made possible by the brain. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is based on the wellknown Jungian model which is widely used in personal development training. People with an abundance mentality believe there are enough resources available to accomplish their goals. There are three basic body somatotypes (shapes) which according to William Sheldon correspond to different character traits. The smell of a flower. Participants take turns speaking for different parts of nature in a council at which no humans are present. ~300 well-organized. high quality descriptions of hundreds of recreation-based therapeutic activities. Somatotypes Online Personality Test Develop an Abundance Mentality Recreation Therapy Activity Index Psychology In-class Exercises Neuroscience for Kids . Council of All Beings (John Seed & Joanna Macy) Musical Listening for Feeling Power of Positive Thinking: I This exercise reminds us how powerful positive thinking Wish You Health & Happiness can be and the power of being positive to other people. Beforehand. youth and children. the memory of a walk in the park. A workshop that connects people to nature. heat/sweat related rituals had deep psychological. Play different passages of music and ask people to identify the feelings they associate with each piece. Costumes Focusing: Developing Bodily Powerful 6-step process which can be learnt to help Knowing people uncover "bodily knowing". created in the early 1980's. In many indigenous societies. Yoga Psychological Energy Release Exercises Sweat Therapy Treatment Manual Describes a large number of simple physical muscle tensing and movement exercises which help the mind the regain control over the body. For students and teachers who would like to learn about the nervous system. Exercises used for teaching clinical psychology. Dice Living: Expressing Multiplicity Explore the possibilities of living without your dominant consciousness making the decisions.

but also to enjoy learning it. and life occurrences. Role Playing o This is an interesting game where the students form groups and perform skits. Sometimes the symptoms of disorders may overlap or look alike. then the class discusses the disorder. Explore links & information. Then. In this game. This game helps to understand the disorder from day-to-day symptoms displayed by people. . Then the class can discuss the personality of each person according to the lists and how that person's life events have affected his life. In this game. Interesting range of activities (in pdf) . the instructor asks the students to write five important facts about their lives. Below are some study games that would make learning psychology more interesting. These may include personality traits. The instructor can also ask them to write about one important incident that had a huge impact on their lives. So. psychology students should also learn to explore the life facts. The students are told not to name their lists. the instructor gives the students some disorders to learn and gives them a specific time frame to learn everything they can about these disorders. Psychology study games are used to clear these confusions. the instructor asks a group of students to act out a real-life situation where people are suffering with some of the psychological disorders.Roger Greenaway. On a scheduled date.doc Feedback Exercises Know your Own IQ Training Activities Giving & receiving personal feedback . Life Facts o Practicing psychologists must explore the life stories of their clients. the instructor may ask the students to portray a family meeting with each member of the family displaying the symptoms of one of the disorders.html Psychology Study Games Psychology is a subject where students learn about the science of mind and behavior and disorders and symptoms./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. For example.com/games/PsychologicalExercises. the other students are asked to name the disorder. but be warned about the huge debates & cultural attitudes towards testing "intelligence".JVD Creativity Consulting Last updated: 18 May 2006 http://wilderdom. leading to confusion. which leads to a better understanding of it. such as outgoing or observant. and they help the students not only to learn psychology.

This game is useful to explore the sense of self. After everyone's turn is finished. The instructor asks the students to bring items they feel are important to them. but you can also use it to learn psychology.ehow.doc Show and Tell o This is a game that is played in kindergarten. Then. or multiply the two numbers to determine the winner. The students are then asked to show and tell about that item.com/info_8093794_psychology-study-games. http://www. eHow Contributor Classic games teach critical thinking A 2007 study by Carnegie Mellon University's Psychology Department reported that math games played by young students increased their basic math abilities (See Reference 1. Department of Health and Human Services' website (See Reference 2). subtract. Information from this study also appeared in an article posted on the U. tell the students that this personality is their shadow.html Fun Classroom Games By Elizabeth Stover. all students discuss about how an item reveals a particular student's personality. Tell the students that this is either a personality they want to suppress or the one they want to develop. Rather than turning over one card at a time as you do in the classic children's card game. The Shadow o This game is useful to learn Jung's concept. . students turn over two cards and add.S. page 2). it helps to learn Jung's concept. Teachers can use games to engage students across the curriculum. according to Jung. Though the students may have mixed reactions to this game. Math o Have students practice subtraction. The students are asked to write about a person they hate very much and what they hate about that person./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. addition or multiplication playing the card game War.

Word games provide a great deal of variety. Critical Thinking o Effective critical thinking assists students in every subject." If they say the number instead of "buzz" then they are out and play continues. mix up the letters and see who can make the most new words. chess. they must say. Some websites offer free printable blank game boards. These include checkers. Many of these use easily recreated game boards. reverse the way the game is played by having only one child know the answer and having everyone else ask questions of him to figure out the right answer. For specific skill practice.doc To practice multiplication use the Buzz game. Designate a certain number of questions the child may ask based on grade level or difficulty. Create game pieces from any suitable item or have students create them. When a student's turn comes. restrict the word making in any of these games to a category such as adjectives or words with three syllables. if the number they are to say is a multiple of the number chosen by the teacher. Several popular games provide can successfully provide critical thinking practice to students. For variety. Games such as Scattegories and Twenty Questions require no materials to play. "buzz. choose a word category and have each child in turn say a word from the category without repeating anyone else's answer. Social Studies o In Who Am I. Multipurpose Games . Another approach to this game is to ask the children to stand in a line. Play other versions of this game by changing the question from "Who am I?" to "Where am I?" for geography or "What Happened?" for major historical events. The one child returns to ask the class yes or no questions to try to guess who the famous figure is. Boggle and Scrabble provide an excellent classroom resource. Scattegories. Twenty Questions. one child leaves the room while you show the rest of the children the name of a famous historical figure they have studied. Students sit in a circle and start counting off. In this game. Clue./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. the teacher says a number from 1 to 12. Challenge children to take a word. Language o Classic board and child games such as Hangman. In another game. If they cannot come up with a word they sit down and play continues until only one person is left standing. you can give a category of word such as verbs and have everyone write as many verbs as they can think of before a timer goes off. Mancala and Othello.

You can also split older classes into groups to complete many of these games on their own. Instead of calling out the items in the squares. o Using games to study how the mind works The functions of the mind can be a very difficult to understand. keep the concepts and rules simple. .html Interactive Psychological Games By Megan Shoop. Ask your students to write down all of the actions . Read more: Fun Classroom Games | eHow. Most students will not be able to repeat patterns beyond five or six actions. call out clues such as definitions of the vocabulary words or the names of historical events.html#ixzz1LiUyJtk2 Ref: http://www. Jeopardy is another multipurpose game that also has developed into an educational staple.. and anyone that does is out of the game. beginning their sentences with "Simon Says." the others are not supposed to do the action that follows. it can be difficult for students to understand how it works." If the student doesn't start with "Simon Says. it becomes a multi-subject game. Make your own Jeopardy board or purchase one created for classrooms. Question categories and answers are easily changed to fit any subject you might teach.ehow. math sums. For younger classes.com/way_5245630_fun-classroom-games.doc o By changing the numbers on a Bingo board to vocabulary words. especially as part of the psychology curriculum. Simon Says o Almost everyone has played Simon Says at some point during their childhood.ehow.com/way_5245630_fun-classroom-games. the game in which one person stands in front of a group and instructs everyone to complete actions. Begin with one action and then keep adding actions until some of your students begin to falter. and for older students use more complicated rules and concepts. eHow Contributor 1. Since its functions are so complicated./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. dates or scientific terms.. You can help them remember key concepts by playing interactive games that can be modified for any class size or any age group.com http://www. You can modify this game to teach students about their own psychology by instructing them to do long lists of actions.

Students wearing bright colors should be easiest for their partners to remember. and have them come back in and write the differences on the board. go over how many they got right and talk about how focus plays a part in memory. and flowers usually feature bright colors. See which group of students noticed more.com/list_6151234_interactive-psychologicalgames. Then. divide your students into pairs and observe what one another are wearing. To do it. ask several students to leave the room and then instruct several others to rearrange objects in the room. They can reverse posters. Read more: Interactive Psychological Games | eHow.ehow. Discuss how the brain works to store things in your short-term memory. You can spice this up by exiting the room for a minute and seeing if the students can trick you by testing you on their rearrangements. Tell them that fruits. switch partners and repeat the same exercise. To play.See how much information each of your students got right.ehow. vegetables. but can also demonstrate how color affects memory. and then have them go to the back of the room and write down what their partners are wearing in as much detail as possible. Observation o Observation tests not only your students' powers of observation. Ask the students to come back into the room and tell them how many differences there are and instruct them to write all the differences they see on the board. Then. open previously closed books. Awareness Test o The Awareness Test works well for teaching students how selective and long-term memory works.com/list_6151234_interactive-psychological-games. do the test again asking your students to look around the room for two minutes before sending several students out.doc they remember in order. move globes to different areas. and discuss how that plays into human and animal instincts. Rearrange things.html#ixzz1LiVYiIZH Ref: http://www.html .com http://www. discuss why the bright colors help people remember things. Afterward. and even add or erase writing on the board./opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2725/57757624. Then.

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