John Suler's Teaching Clinical Psychology
The Special Place Exercise
Suggested by Jerry Noloboff (Psychology Department, Flagler College St. Augustine, FL 32085)
Here is an exercise that I like to use early on with my group process class after an initial round of introductions, expectations, fears, etc: I have them pair up with another class member that they don't know but would like to know better. One member of the pair takes the other to what is for him/her a "special place" on or off campus. Once there, they talk with each other as meaningfully and honestly as they're willing about what is going on in their lives. When they return to our meeting room at the end of the exercise, they share what the exercise was like for them without revealing confidences shared during the exercise. I've found this to be a good way to get students sharing with each other and to begin building a group field.
Note (by John Suler): These exercise could also be done by asking students to describe to each other their special place, rather than actually visiting it - although "being there" no doubt has a greater impact. It's also possible for students to share photos of their special place.
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