Most team-building activities have therapeutic side effects, even when therapy is not the intended goal. Building connections, expanding communication and increasing trust between individuals on a team can provide stress relief, instill confidence and create a sense of belonging. Therapeutic team-building activities have therapy as their central intention and are designed to give participants a deeper sense of themselves, while sharing and connecting with other group members. Use team-building activities to enhance the effects of group therapy sessions by adding learning and fun to the experience.
Therapeutic drumming is the creation of percussionist Jim Greiner. Greiner recommends group drumming and rhythm activities as a way to relieve stress, to rejuvenate the mind and body and as an uplifting and therapeutic activity. Host a therapeutic group drum circle with a variety of different percussion instruments appropriate to the abilities of the participants. Include tambourines, hand drums, congas, bells, cymbals and any other drums you have available. If you have no drums available, consider using drumsticks with buckets, pots, pans and other noise making items. Hire an experienced music teacher who has done therapeutic group work to encourage all group members to get involved. By the end of the evening, everyone will be part of the collective rhythm.
Creative Coloring is a therapeutic group activity that allows team members to work together on a creative project that requires cooperation and communication. Every individual receives a chance to display talent in art, design, communication and self-expression. Give each member of the team a different colored marker, crayon or colored pencil. If the group is small, give each member two different colors. Instruct the group to create a picture using all the colors, with each individual using only the color given at the beginning. Group members must decide on what to create and then decide how to depict it. If the group has trouble coming up with an idea, provide a list of ideas to choose from that involve each color. Discuss the results at the end of the activity.
Aspen Ranch in Loa, Utah, offers Equine Therapy as a form of team-building for at-risk youth and troubled teens. By working with horses in many different situations, teams of students learn to care for, interact with and ride horses. This can be a powerful bonding experience. Organize an equine therapy program or day trip for your team, or hire equine therapy professionals to conduct a team retreat into the wild on horseback. Horses help to teach patience, build confidence, and deal well with frustration. Working with a team to create a wilderness retreat on horseback demands intimate teamwork and can provide life-changing therapeutic opportunities for all team members.