Activities for Group Couples Counseling

Couples or marriage counseling can help you and your spouse work through issues in your marriage, from infidelity to communication problems. Some couples might choose to work individually with a therapist or counselor, but it can also be helpful to work in a group setting. Group couples counseling allows you to discuss your own issues, if you are comfortable with this, and hear other people talk about their own problems. Group couples counseling can also give you and your spouse or partner ideas to improve your own relationship, based on what did or did not work for others.

  1. Switch/Role-Play

    • Role-playing can help you see your partner's point of view.
      Role-playing can help you see your partner's point of view.

      Have the couples in your group perform role-play scenarios with partners other than their own. This activity will allow your participants to view their spouse or partner from an alternative point of view. Develop some dialogue for the participants to act out based on common fights or complaints from the couples during talk sessions. Pair up two opposite couples and have them act out the scenario while their partners watch and take notes. Have the non-participating partners discuss what they saw and their emotions. Since people tend to focus on their own thoughts and emotions during an argument, this activity can help people see another perspective and gain understanding of their partners.

    Gender Perspectives

    • Understanding how gender influences your relationship can lead to change.
      Understanding how gender influences your relationship can lead to change.

      Men and women are notorious for having different viewpoints in a relationship. Help your participants to understand gender stereotypes, as well as other gender perspectives and how these influence a relationship, by separating your group into male and female sections. Have each group talk about the male and female "role" in a relationship regarding important topics such as employment outside of the home, child rearing, sex, money and emotional needs. Participants can make a list of typical male and female roles, as well as write down how these roles can or should change. Bring the groups together after 30 minutes to have an open discussion regarding gender perspectives. This activity can help couples dealing with equality struggles better understand each other and attempt to make changes within their own relationships.

    Wedding Day Memories

    • Remembering your wedding day can improve your relationship.
      Remembering your wedding day can improve your relationship.

      Many couples will discuss their wedding day as possibly one of the best days of their life. Many couples lose site of why they married with the stress of children, work and money, and tend to forget the fun and excitement of their wedding day. Have your couples bring in their wedding album or a picture from their wedding day. Give each couple 15 minutes to talk about this memory or a favorite moment from that special day. Allow the other couples to ask questions or make positive comments about the current couple's story. Continue this activity for the remaining couples. This activity can help each couple remember why they fell in love, remember the feeling of love they shared on their wedding day and share in the experience other people's love and commitment to each other, possibly strengthening their own bond.

    Let's Make Dinner

    • Cooking together can improve communication.
      Cooking together can improve communication.

      Cooking can be cathartic for couples, as well as teaching them teamwork and improve communication skills. Give each couple a simple recipe to cook during your session (or at home if your therapy area does not have a large kitchen). Observe how each couple delegates tasks and talks to one another about how to make the meal. Bring the couples together after the meal is finished to discuss the process. Talk about any problems and how each couple was able to solve those issues. Have other couples offer suggestions and talk about how they worked out an issue to help the entire group. The best part of this exercise -- eating the delicious food after!

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