Group reflection and group discussion

Shared Rhythm

Type: Group reflection

Resources: none

Duration: 15 minutes

Size: any size

Description: In this exercise, lead the group to develop and learn a simple song. Note that language might be a problem when working with refugees and migrants, so start with making a rhythm and ask them to follow you. Try drumming and clapping your hands. Then, ask participants who want to change the rhythm and let the others follow. When a rhythm develops, you may add the singing, and try moving or dancing together as it can be a powerful way for a group to connect. This will build a sense of unity in the group.

Fear in a Hat

Type: Group discussion

Resources: A hat, a tin or a bag, some paper and pens

Duration: 45 – 60 minutes, according to how much we want the discussion to last

Group Size: Any size

Description: Activities can be started by introducing the topic of fear and explaining that it is normal and natural for people to experience all sorts of anxieties, worries and fears about what might happen in the near future. A good way to start dealing with these fears is to have them openly acknowledged and expressed without being subject to judgement.

Distribute a small piece of paper and a pen to each participant and ask them to write their fears on it. Ask them to complete these two sentences: “In this trip/group/program, I am [most] afraid that…” or “In this trip/group/program, the worst thing that could happen to me would be…”. Tell them not to write their names on the paper. Once they have finished writing, collect the papers in the hat (tin or bag).

Then, invite each person to take one piece of paper. One by one, each group member reads out the fears of another group member and elaborates on what he/she feels that person is most afraid of in this group or situation.  No one is to comment on what the person says, just listen and move on to the next person. The facilitator can ask the person who is reading some questions to the person, remembering not to express any opinion about the fear being expressed. When all the fears have been read and elaborated upon, open a discussion on what people felt and noticed.

This discussion can take place at the beginning of a training session or at a later stage, in order to introduce other continuing activities, such as setting personal goals and activities to tackle some of the fears mentioned.

This activity can be used also to discuss other topics, such as:

  • Likes and dislikes – in two separate hats
  • Worries
  • Complaints/gripes
  • Wishes
  • Favourite moments

Sensual Awareness Activity

Type: Group discussion

Resources: Flipchart paper or A4 sheets of paper, markers or pens

Duration: 30 – 45 minutes, according to how much we want the discussion to last

Group Size: Any size

Description: Create 5 columns on the flipchart paper (or ask participants to draw 5 columns on their sheet of paper). Label each column with the name of one of the 5 senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, sound). Ask participants to list as many examples as they can regarding how they receive comfort or pleasure for each of their 5 senses. Allow 10 – 15 minutes for this task.

Once everyone is ready, read the list and discuss it. Possible questions to be asked during the discussion are:

  • Were people surprised by others people’s lists?
  • Are the lists long or short?
  • Are the lists even or uneven?
  • Tick the items that you do each day – could you do more?

This exercise is derived from the eco-therapy approach by George Burns in “Nature-guided therapy: Brief integrative strategies for health and well-being”. Burns notes in his book that depressed people tend to have the shortest lists; the healthiest, happiest people tend to have long lists.  After therapy, or even as part of therapy, people tend to develop longer lists. Burns also discusses that many of the pleasures people describe are nature-based.

The Strength Cards

Type: My strength/resilience

Resources: Strength cards (downloadable, below)

Duration: according to how much we want the discussion to last

Group Size: Any size

Description: Strength cards can be used alone, in a group, or in pairs. They can be used in work teams or in discussion groups to aid recruitment or appraisals. The main intention of the strength cards is to facilitate conversation about positive traits and to improve self-esteem. Facilitators can download the cards from the website and print them to use in the activities: