Therapy Activity

Theory being used:

           The theory being used for this activity is Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy. A form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy began in the 1950’s from a clinical psychologist Albert Ellis who was unhappy with the results from the psychoanalytical approach. When Albert Ellis began working on the Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy it was intended to be an ‘action oriented’ approach to helping people deal with their behaviours and feelings. Albert Ellis continued working on it until his death in 2007.

            The Rational Emotive Behaviour theory tackles irrational beliefs that Albert Ellis believes causes people to become disturbed or unhappy. We all have beliefs that are positive and negative but there are also negative beliefs that are not true that cause us to struggle with handling our emotions. For example, if a child sees a group of kids playing in a circle all wearing red shirts, the child may feel that he or she has to be wearing a red shirt to play the game and walk away feeling left out without ever approaching the group. Something happened in the child’s environment that the child then held a belief about the event and therefore carried the consequence of feeling left out.



Cherry, K. (n.d.). Rational emotive behaviour therapy: What is REBT?. Retrieved from


Purpose of activity:

                The purpose of the activity to help youth better understand others facial expressions as well learn that we often times get the wrong message from others facial expressions. Our beliefs about how others are feeling towards us can be irrational and therefore cause emotional issues.



Length of activity:

             The length of the activity will vary depending on how many children are playing but the game could go on for as long as you like. It will be important to make sure every child in the circle gets to act and guess.

 Space needed for activity:

A classroom will work depending on the number of participants. This is an activity that can be done outside as well. You will need a classroom big enough so everyone can sit in a circle and see each others faces.

 Supplies needed:

  • rooms

  • chairs


 Therapeutic approach activity:

           In the activity each member will gather around in a circle facing each other. Each member of the circle will introduce themselves and finish off with a facial expression. For example if a girl named Emily was in the group she may say, ‘Hello my name is Emily I am …. and then make a smiley face.” After this whoever feels they have the correct emotion raises their hand and will guess what emotion it is. So in this case the right emotion would have been happy. Emotions can become harder to identify and everyone’s facial expressions are a bit different.


 What Worked?:

              The activity really seemed to catch the attention of the youth. They were all really excited to play and were being very playful and silly in their imitations of emotions. The common emotions at first were angry and happy, but interesting descriptions came out as the game went on. When a child would guess the wrong emotion the youth would explain to the others what his/her face was saying. The children began explaining why they were doing certain things to express certain emotions and learn why others did other things.

 Changes for next time:

              As the game went on it got more difficult as the youth were running out of emotions to imitate. Next time I would perhaps have a hat with a bunch of emotions written on paper so the youth can grab a paper and enact what it reads. This will cause less confusion for the youth. When a child had difficulty acting out good interpretations I felt as though he or she may feel strange or different then the other kids in the group. To get rid of this it may be best to have the children draw the faces rather than act them out that way the attention is not completely directed at them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s