Games Index
Psychology of Growth

Psychological Exercises
 for Insight & Self-Awareness Groups

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Psychological Exercises, Insight & Self-Awareness Activities (on this website)

Get To Know You Sociometric Questions

A sequence of questions which help students to find out about one another, move around, and have fun.

Locus of Control

Explains a class tutorial about internal and external locus of control. Includes self-scoring questionnaires.

Fear in a Hat

Group members write personal fears anonymously on pieces of paper which are collected.  Then each person randomly selects and reads someone else's fear to the group and explains how the person might feel.  Fosters interpersonal empathy.

Illusions: Exercises which Illustrate Perceptual Fallibility

People never cease to be marvelled by optical illusions and cognitive deception exercises.  This activity provides 17 illusions which can be used to experientially illustrate how the human mind perceives and structures the world.

Write Your Own Eulogy

Explore personal meanings of life and death; can alter perspective (reveals big picture), but is confronting.  Do the activity in a graveyard or church for added effect.

Group Mandala

A projective, group dynamics exercise.  Each person is represented by an object.  The objects are "caste" like dice and group members share their feelings and re-arrange the objects.  A more basic version is Show & Tell.

Solo Hour in Nature

We are rarely "still" in nature.  Visit a natural place that is conveniently available.  Spend one hour in silence.  Simply observe and be.  You may write.

Sensual Awareness Inventory

An eco-therapy exercise adapted for a group setting.  Participants identify what experiences give them pleasure through each of their five senses, then share and discuss this with the group.

Mirror Image

Involves people in pairs, with one person mirroring the actions of the other.  Stimulates self- and other-awareness.

Dice Your Way to Multiple Futures

A matrix-esque personal development exercise which engages participants with the power of the future's multiple possibilities.

Personality & Psychological
Profiling Tools

Personality and team role profiling tools such as the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator and 360 Degree Feedback introduce rich potential for growth to personal growth programs.

Challenging Stereotypes

Assign students the task of breaking a social stereotype (e.g., wearing opposite-sex clothes) and then report back and discuss with the group what happened and what was discovered about themselves and stereotypes.  Consider what level of guidance students need in selecting to "appropriate" behaviors.

Get Lost

Walk and keep walking until you are lost.  Spend time being lost.  Then try find your way back.  Drive and keep driving until you are lost.  Take only roads you've never been on before.  Spend time being lost.  Then try to find your way back.

Write a Letter to Improve a Relationship

Hand write a letter to someone who you want to improve your relationship with.  Take your time to create a comfortable, private space in which to write the letter.  And then post it!

Draw a Picture to Improve a Relationship

Draw a picture for someone who you want to improve your relationship with.  Take your time to find some good paper and pencils, paint, or markers, etc. Let yourself go with the picture.  Add a little note if you want.  Then post it!

Free Lunch for a Life Story

This task can be done on its own or as part of a cultural adventure hunt.  Find someone you've never met before who is over 60 or 70? years old with a free lunch and ask them to share their life story with you.

Group Therapy Ideas & Themes

Links to experiential activity ideas for engaging group therapy themes.


Psychological Exercises, Insight & Self-Awareness Activities (on other websites)

Life Map

Draw a life line and mark significant events from birth to present to anticipated death, then share with a partner or group  [].  Could be combined with Writing your own Eulogy.  See also Personal Timeline.

Imagined House Exercise

One's house (and car) are often seen as symbols of one's self. So too, one's fantasy or imagined house represents psychological/personality aspects.

Empty Your Pockets

Take turns emptying pockets.  Show the rest of the group what one is carrying (optional).  The person and the group then discuss what the objects say about the person.

Mandalas for Kids: Introducing Radial Symmetry

Introduce the notion of radial symmetry to young school students and they will be able to come up with some amazing designs.

Conflict Resolution Game

In traditional debate, participants address an issue in order to refute their opponent. In this game participants build on, and add value to, each other's points. It rewards creative response to another's statement rather than opposing it.

A Mindful Walk

Walking takes on a whole new psycho-somatic, even psycho-spiritual direction when it is done mindfully.


Listing out one's fantasy characters usually reveal something deeper about oneself - as does finding out what characters other people think you would like to be.

Focusing: Developing Bodily Knowing

Powerful 6-step process which can be learnt to help people uncover "bodily knowing".

Yoga Psychological Energy Release Exercises

Describes a large number of simple physical muscle tensing and movement exercises which help the mind the regain control over the body.

Sweat Therapy Treatment Manual

In many indigenous societies, heat/sweat related rituals had deep psychological, cultural and spiritual significance.

Council of All Beings
(John Seed & Joanna Macy)

A workshop that connects people to nature; created in the early 1980's.  Participants take turns speaking for different parts of nature in a council at which no humans are present.  Beforehand, participants make masks to represent the aspect of nature they choose to represent. Has been used with adults, youth and children.

Musical Listening for Feeling

Play different passages of music and ask people to identify the feelings they associate with each piece.

Power of Positive Thinking: I Wish You Health & Happiness

This exercise reminds us how powerful positive thinking can be and the power of being positive to other people.

Dice Living: Expressing Multiplicity

Explore the possibilities of living without your dominant consciousness making the decisions.  Throw some of your life decisions to the dice and see what happens.  Based on cult book "The Dice Man".


There are three basic body somatotypes (shapes) which according to William Sheldon correspond to different character traits.

Online Personality Test

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is based on the well-known Jungian model which is widely used in personal development training.

Develop an Abundance Mentality

People with an abundance mentality believe there are enough resources available to accomplish their goals. Practical tips for thinking and acting more abundantly.

Recreation Therapy Activity Index

~300 well-organized, high quality descriptions of hundreds of recreation-based therapeutic activities.

Psychology In-class Exercises

Exercises used for teaching clinical psychology; broad applicability for self-insight & group dynamic activities.

Neuroscience for Kids

The smell of a flower, the memory of a walk in the park, the pain of stepping on a nail are made possible by the brain.  For students and teachers who would like to learn about the nervous system.

Feedback Exercises

Giving & receiving personal feedback - Roger Greenaway.

Know your Own IQ

Explore links & information, but be warned about the huge debates & cultural attitudes towards testing "intelligence".

Training Activities

Interesting range of activities (in pdf) - JVD Creativity Consulting

Last updated:
18 May 2006