8 Common Group Therapy Activities & Exercises

Group therapy sessions often include similar exercises and activities to promote a healthy support network for your recovery journey.

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Group therapy activities and exercises at a rehab center are designed for a small group of people with shared experiences such as substance abuse or mental health issues.

A licensed mental health professional leads the group members using various methods to help them learn coping skills and social skills while also learning about themselves and others.

These meetings provide a safe space where members of the group can share personal information without being judged, and it lets them know they are not alone in their experiences.

The Importance Of Group Therapy In Addiction Treatment

Addiction therapy that occurs in a group setting can support an individual and help individuals grow in healthy ways.

Group therapy sessions led by an experienced facilitator can be a source of stabilization and support. The group can also comfort members through times of crisis and guide them.

Over time group therapy can also create healthy attachments, positive peer reinforcement, and a setting to learn social skills.


Icebreakers can be essential building blocks for successful group discussion and interaction.
Icebreakers are used when a group has come together for a specific purpose.

Icebreakers are helpful in encouraging members of the group to bond, get to know people from different backgrounds, and learn.

The facilitator can use an icebreaker to build trust at the beginning of a meeting by familiarizing group members with each other, in the middle of a meeting to enhance problem-solving skills, or at the end of a meeting to solidify the bonds that have been established during the meeting.

Creative Arts

Creative arts may be used in a group setting as an alternative therapy. Creativity has been proven to have positive clinical effects, especially on mental health disorders.

Research has found that using creative art in group therapy may create an increase in self-worth and social connectedness.

Creative art may also build trust in others and improve one’s emotional state. These activities may include drawing, painting, music, dance, writing, etc.

Trust-Building Exercises

There are a variety of trust-building exercises used in group therapy. These activities are designed to build group cohesion.

A trust-building icebreaker is used when bonding or building relationships is required of group members. Individuals will find similarities, differences, and respect for each other.

One trust-building activity is a trust fall.

A trust fall is an activity where one member of the group stands, sometimes on a platform, and then falls backward in an upright position, relying on the support of the group members to catch them.

This requires the individual to trust their group members to catch them and helps group members build trust and strong bonds.

Communication Skill-Builders

Communication skill-building activities aim to ask members of the group to cooperate in solving a problem.

These group activities strive to demonstrate the importance of good communication and develop someone’s verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

These activities often place the group in a specific situation, such as a human knot, where they have to work together to untie the knot without letting go of each other.

Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness is similar to meditation and requires participants to focus on what is going on in the present moment without judging the situation or oneself.

Mindfulness exercises can be used to combat negative thoughts, aid in stress management, improve emotional balance and increase self-awareness.

In group sessions, leaders teach the real-time practice of mindfulness to shift someone’s thoughts around addiction or mental health issues to prevent relapse and act as a form of treatment.

Therapists encourage members to learn specific skills, such as the identification of negative thoughts and the use of recording these thoughts to influence thought patterns.

Mindfulness exercises may include journaling, affirmations, and self-care practices.

Problem-Solving Practice

Problem-solving practice helps identify strategies to support people in coping with the difficulties of life and creates the ability to solve everyday problems.

Effective problem-solving skills can lead to hope, better self-esteem, self-confidence, improved mental and physical health, and overall well-being.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Techniques

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that helps individuals learn coping strategies and focus on current problems to find solutions in both group and individual therapy settings.

These techniques can be applied in group therapy to help participants recognize negative thoughts that are not particularly useful or true while working on productive behavioral patterns.

Role-Playing Exercises

Role-playing exercises are all about practice. These exercises allow individuals to practice with group members how they will handle difficult situations without relapsing.

This type of group activity allows individuals to try out responses and actions they will take during a specific situation and practice out loud.

These exercises help you prepare for challenges before they happen and build confidence skills that will help you handle any situation that arises in the real world.

Group Therapy And Activities At Bedrock Recovery Center

Our clinical team facilitates group therapies to encourage positive discussion with peers. The goal of groups is to feel validated and supported by others with similar experiences.

We also offer psychoeducation groups on a specific topic related to addiction or mental health.

These groups are designed to build a better understanding of the topic and for individuals to learn how to apply learned knowledge to their overall wellness and recovery efforts.

Bedrock also offers specialized group therapies, including:

Our treatment approach includes skill-building resources as well as wellness activities.

Begin Your Addiction Recovery With Bedrock Today

If you or a family member are seeing addiction recovery, we can help. Contact Bedrock Recovery Center to learn more about our group therapy strategies.

  1. National Library of Medicine: Bookshelf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64223/
  2. National Library of Medicine: Bookshelf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279297/
  3. National Library of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3336012/
  4. National Library of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8397377/
  5. National Library of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190038/
  6. National Library of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086785/
  7. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/SAMHSA_Digital_Download/pep20-02-01-020.pdf/
  8. The American Art Therapy Association https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ777028.pdf/

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: December 4, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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