Tag Archives: Adolescent Treatment

Life with the Wright Family

This is a great activity for working on active listening skills with teenagers. It was originally found on the CDC’s website.

Materials:

  • The Wright Family Story found here.
  • One playing card, paper clip, pen, or other small item for each person in the group.

Activity Instructions:

  1. Have the entire group stand in a circle, shoulder to shoulder.
  2. Give each person in the circle the small item that can easily be passed from hand to hand.
  3. Explain you will read them a story. Every time they hear any word that sounds like right, they are to pass their object to the person on their right. And, every time they hear the word left, they are to pass the object to the person on their left.
  4. Start reading the story slowly to give clients a chance to follow what you want them to do. After a few passes of the objects, stop and check in with the clients. Make sure they all have an item in their hands as it is normal for some clients to have several items and others to have none.
  5. Redistribute the items as needed and continue with the story. Speed up your reading a little as you go. Pay attention to how the clients are doing. Stop, check in, and redistribute items as needed throughout the rest of the story.
  6. After the story is done, collect the items and process the experience with the clients. Follow up questions can include:
    1. What does this activity tell us about communication?
    2. What does this activity tell us about teamwork?
    3. What does this activity tell us about listening skills in particular?
    4. What was your experience participating in this activity?
    5. How much of the story can you remember?

Islands of Personality Activity

Purpose:

To explore how the ways in which we define ourselves influence our choices and behaviors.

Materials:

The Disney film Inside Out (or follow the link below for a clip of the relevant segment of the movie), large sheets of blank paper, markers, paints, pencils, and other art supplies

Directions:

  1. Watch the movie Inside Out, directing clients to pay attention to Riley’s Islands of Personality. If you don’t have access to the full movie, follow this link for a clip of the relevant segment of the movie. I recommend watching the whole movie as there are many great treatment tie-ins throughout the movie.
  2. After the movie is over, hand out the large sheets of paper and art supplies.
  3. Instruct clients to illustrate their own islands of personality. Remind clients that the drawings must stay appropriate. If clients so choose to include substance use and/or mental health issues in their drawings, ask them to consider how they should include it as these are not part of our core personalities.
  4. After everyone is done, discuss the drawings. Discussion questions could include the following:
    1. Why did you choose the things you did for your islands?
    1. How has substance use affected your islands?
    1. What did you learn about the islands of personality from the movie?
    1. What would you want to change about your islands of personality?
    1. What would you hope never changes about your islands of personality?

What’s Most Important

Purpose: To become aware of values and priorities.

Materials: One copy for each participant of the handout, “What’s Most Important” handout; scissors; tape or glue; one piece of blank paper for each participant; one business envelope for each participant; whiteboard and markers or chalkboard and chalk

Time: 40-50 minutes

Planning Notes:

  • Read the handout and add values statements of your own, if you wish, before duplicating the handout.
  • Cut the individual handouts into strips. Place each set of strips in an envelope, creating a packet for each participant.
  • Create a poster of prioritized values for Step 3, one for each value statement. The priorities should read from MOST IMPORTANT to SECOND MOST IMPORTANT and so on, down to LEAST IMPORTANT.

Procedure:

  1. Review the concept of values. Talk about choosing from a series of coins/bills and how the largest value is the one we pick first and so on.
  2. Explain that for, this activity, the participants will choose among several intangible items, rating which they value most, second most, all the way to which they value least.
  3. Go over instructions for the activity
    1. I will give each of you an envelope containing 20 strips of paper. Each strip has the name of something intangible written on it. Arrange these strips so that what is of most value to you is on top and what is of least value is on the bottom. (Display the illustration you have drawn.)
    1. Move the strips around until the ranking matches how you really value them. Then tape or glue your strips in the correct order to the piece of blank paper I will also give you.
    1. This may be somewhat frustrating because you can have only one top priority. Sometimes, we have conflicting priorities. You must just do the best you can.
  4. Distribute one envelope and one piece of blank paper to each participant. Ask participants to begin. Circulate, offering help if anyone who is having trouble understanding what it is you asked. Caution the adolescents to work slowly and think carefully about each item.
  5. When all or most of the participants are finished, call time. Conclude the activity using the discussion points below.

Discussion Points:

  1. What were your top three or four values?
  2. Was it easier to choose the things you value the most or the least? Why?
  3. Were there items on the list that that you had never really thought about before? Which ones?
  4. Were you surprised by your completed list of values? Why or why not?
  5. How do you think your ranking of values would compare to your parents’ ranking?
  6. How might you stand up for your top three values?