Tackling taboos

This exercise can help groups sharing a sensitive problem like loneliness, overweight, unemployment, abuse or disease. It creates a sense of togetherness and paves the way for greater confidence and self-esteem.

  1. (Loneliness is used as an example in this exercise). Spread a Magnum set on the floor and ask the participants to choose a picture card that says something about what loneliness looks like. Allow ample time for people to find their cards. They may pick two cards if that makes it easier for them.
  2. When everybody has chosen a picture card participants team up in teams of two or three people. Based on their cards they describe to each other what loneliness looks like to them. – During the talks you visit all groups and listen or ask questions that stimulate conversation. Allow ample time for talking, and do not stop the exercise until conversations are fading.
  3. Take a break or undertake a different type of activity before you start the next exercise.
  4. Now you ask people to choose a picture card that says something about how loneliness feels. When everybody has found a card they partner up in new teams of two or three. If people feel more comfortable talking to the same person again, they may do so. You visit all teams, listen to them and stimulate conversations. Again, allow ample time for talking, and do not stop the exercise until conversations are fading.

At this point, you can stop the process altogether and gather everybody for a coffee. As part of an informal evaluation, you can ask people how they felt about the exercises if they had some good talks, and what it meant to them to talk to other people with feelings similar to their own.

When the group is ready for it, you can introduce goal cards and work with them in the same simple manner. As the basis for talks, participants pick cards that say something about what they hope to achieve by joining the group – and what they can do to achieve it. You may also try to ask people to bring their favourite music. After listening to a piece of music use the picture cards to discuss the feelings that it triggers, and what music can do for you.



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