The Grief Word Game is a non-threatening way to allow clients the opportunity to express their grief. The game may be used during an individual session or as a group activity. I’ve found this activity works well with ages 10 and up. Yes, I use this activity with adults, too!
- Bananagrams game or Scrabble Tiles
Step 1: Distribute Tiles
Client: When I work with a client, I divide the tiles up as even as possible between the client and myself. I typically work on my set of words while my client works on forming their words. We each have different tiles, so the words typically end up being different from each other. This provides opportunity to discuss my words along with the client’s words.
Group: If working with a group, you can divide the group up into teams and distribute the tiles. I find that it seems to work having them work together during this activity. For larger groups, I have used multiple Bananagrams sets. It seems to work best to divide each Bananagrams game into no more than 2 to 3 groups.
Step 2: Specify Topic
Inform the client that they are going to be forming words from their tiles. I let them know that the words can connect (like a crossword) but they don’t have to connect. I also make sure to tell them that they are not getting checked for spelling, so they don’t have to worry about spelling the word correctly. I normally set a time limit of 5 to 10 minutes for each round.
I let the client know that they will be creating words based on topics that I give them. Since I am working with the topic of grief, I have come up with three topics related to grief, however, this activity can be modified in a bunch of different ways by adjusting topics. I have provided a list of the topics I use below.
Topic 1: Words that remind you of grief.
Topic 2: Things that help you when you are grieving.
Topic 3: Identify anything positive that can come from grief.
Step 3: Discussion
At the end of each round, I ask the client or group members to read the words that they created. We then discuss the words and look for similarities. The discussion time provides opportunities to explore the client’s grief and seek understanding.