Group therapy is something that is offered in most drug and alcohol rehab programs. Games can be therapeutic in these settings. It is a relaxing and entertaining way for the participants to see themselves as others may have seen them while they were using drugs. It offers them a look at how their behaviours affected their friends and family. By recognising these behaviours, it may help put an end to them altogether.
Role playing is a game that lets a person see himself through the actions of someone else. The scenarios used for role play can be any negative situation that an individual would experience with another person while they were actively using drugs. Being called on the carpet at work for constantly being late, missing dates with family and friends or not paying back money that he has borrowed are a few instances that would work well in role playing.
The facilitator of the group can assign the different roles to the participants and then start them off in by explaining the situation they will be acting out. The person leading the group can pick two people to role play a couple in a relationship. One would be assigned the role of the substance user and the other the partner is the person who does not use substances.
The facilitator would give the instructions that the substance user is late coming home again and has spent the rent money. The partner who does not have the substance abuse problem is fed up and is going to leave. Instructions can be for the substance abuser to convince her partner that this will never happen again. The partner needs to be adamant and continue to say that the relationship is over. By watching the interaction between the two, the other members of the group will not only recognise themselves in this scene but will realise how transparent their empty promises to their loved ones have become.
Art of Manipulation Game
Another game that can be played in group therapy is the "art of manipulation" game. Substance abusers are fine-tuned in the art of manipulation and have used it as a tool to be able to continue their drug use. Manipulating money from family and friends and manipulating situations when they are called on about their drug use are things they have become good at. This game will teach the group how they have used manipulation in the past, how it looked to others and how to change it in the future.
The group is not told the name of the game, just that they will be using sales pitches to sell a hard-to-sell item. The facilitator gives each member of the group a piece of paper with an item listed to do a sales pitch about, such as a house, car, refrigerator and other big ticket items. The catch is these things are either dilapidated or broken, and the individual needs to present a sales pitch, but cannot lie about the item by saying it is in good condition. They can embellish the item all they want, as long as there is truth in what each is saying.
After each has done a pitch, the group can discuss the different presentations and vote on one, two or three that they thought were more convincing. There is usually a correlation on the better presentations being done by people who have been using longer. At the end of the exercise, talk about the art of manipulation and how this is something they have become good at because they needed to during their time of using drugs. Have an open discussion and ask the members of the group to give examples of how they used manipulation during the time they were using drugs. Understanding this can help the individuals refrain from using manipulation, which is hard to do once they have made a habit of this for a long period of time.