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Self-Esteem and Self-Awareness Activities for Support Groups

Activities that build on participants' strengths can be helpful in various types of support groups. Here is a selection of activities:

"I am" Exercise This is designed for college students, but would work in other types of groups.
Have group members individually think of three words that would describe them as they would like to be, for example, "strong," happy," "respected." Then, going around the circle, each person uses the words in an affirmation sentence like this, saying "I am a strong, happy, respected person." Let them know that even though they don't yet see themselves this way, it is important to have a positive experience of how it will be in the future. Each person's words and affirmation sentence will be different. After each person says their affirmation sentence, the whole group says, "Yes, you are!" You can also do this activity in pairs, with each person taking a turn.
Shield of Strength Activity
Use the Shield of Strength Activity on page 22 of the WCSAP Facilitating IPSV Support Groups Guide The handout for the activity is in Appendix C of the Guide.
Wisdom of the Group
This activity is good for groups where the participants have a strong oral tradition but may have limited writing skills. Ask each participant to share a saying or a story that gives them strength during difficult times. For example, my grandmother used to say, "There is no perfection on Earth." This helps me when I am critical of myself for having made a mistake. This activity draws on the strengths of the participants, and builds group cohesion by letting each member know that they have something to offer and to share.
Things to Know Before You Say "Go"
This activity is based on a set of cards developed by Elsbeth Martindale, PsyD, and available from for $29.95. The cards come with a booklet that suggests a variety of activities that can be used to help group members to discuss healthy relationships and other issues.
Reviewed: September 1st, 2015