35 Group Therapy Activities for People With Anxiety - TherapyByPro (2023)

The National Institute forMental health(NIMH) estimates that approximately 19.1% of adults in the United States have a medical conditionWorryDisorder in the last 12 months. Statistics show that women are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than men. When looking at the lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders, the NIMH reports that 31.1% of adults have experienced an anxiety disorder at some point.

As with most mental health issues, there are individual differences in the symptoms and severity of impairment that people with anxiety disorders may experience. The NIMH reported that the majority of people struggling with anxiety disorders have mild disability, followed by moderate and then severe disability.

Anxiety disorders can affect people of all ages and have a significant impact on teenagers and young adults. The NIMH estimates that 31.9% of adolescents live with an anxiety disorder, of which 8.3% experience a significant worsening of their symptoms. In this post, I discuss 35 group therapy activities for people with anxiety that you can use in your practice group sessions.

How does group therapy help people with anxiety?

Many people struggling with anxiety disorders benefit from a combination of psychotropic medications and behavioral approaches. This can include individual and group therapy.

There are many benefits to using group therapy activities for adults with anxiety and teenagers with anxiety. One would be that group therapy can help individuals realize that they are not alone in their problems and that there are others living with similar problems. This can be a powerful realization for people who feel they are alone with their problems.

For people who have social disabilities due to their symptoms, group sessions can provide an opportunity for learning and practicesocial skills. This can include effective communication patterns and setting boundaries. In addition to practicing these skills, time can be spent discussing how to manage any anxiety symptoms they may be experiencing.

Group therapy not only provides members with a connection to each other's problems, but also an opportunity to learn from each other. Group members can talk about what is and isn't helping them with their anxiety symptoms. Members also have the opportunity to provide feedback, support, and encouragement to others, which can have a positive impact on group dynamics. Group anxiety therapy activities for teens can be a fun way to encourage group participation when group members are reluctant to attend group sessions.

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List of group therapy activities for treating anxiety

It is important for counselors to remember that there are group therapy activities for adults with anxiety that are fun as well as educational. Flexibility in the activities and topics we use in our group sessions can make the group more enjoyable and beneficial for our group members.

Let's move on to some group therapy activities for anxiety Treatment groups:

  1. At the beginning of the group session, ask group members to "check in" and rate their fears for the previous day or days, depending on the group. This allows the team leader to assess the needs of team members.
  2. Take time to discuss different forms of meditation, such as guided meditation and progressive muscle relaxation. Ask the group to practice examples of different forms of meditation, followed by a discussion of how they could be applied to the member's daily routine.
  3. Ask group members to write down a fear that contributes to their anxiety and put it in a bowl. The group leader reads the fears aloud and asks the group members to raise their hands if they are related. If members have concerns about their presence, you can ask them to close their eyes when they raise their hands.
  4. Take time to discuss the benefits of self-care and ask members to find something to add to their self-care routine. Check back at the next meeting to see if there were any benefits.
  5. Ask team members what they think a "typical day" would be like for them if they weren't struggling with anxiety. See if there is an aspect they can identify and work towards as a personal goal.
  6. Take time to discuss effective communication skills and give team members time to practice the skills in pairs or groups.
  7. Take time to discuss how to set limits and allow time for team members to practice setting limits in pairs or groups.
  8. Take time to discuss the benefits of visualization and ask team members to describe their 'happy place'. After sharing, ask the group to close their eyes and imagine being in that place for three to five minutes. Take time to process their experiences and see if they envision using this skill.
  9. Take time to talk about the benefits of breathing exercises like box breathing. Take time to work through a breathing exercise and talk about situations where this might be a useful coping strategy.
  10. Discuss the benefits of counting and ask the group to identify situations where it can be a useful coping strategy.
  11. Take time to discuss how our five senses can be used in grounding practices. Take time to talk the group through a grounding exercise that uses their senses and identifies situations where this might be a useful coping skill.
  12. Create a Jeopardy game where you discuss different categories relevant to your team. This may include psychoeducation about stress, psychotropic medication, behavioral therapy approaches, etc.coping skills, enablers, community resources, etc.
  13. Ask the group to identify the troubling thoughts they struggle with. After identifying the thought, take time to look for “evidence” that supports or refutes the troubling thought.
  14. Give group members a printout of the outline of a human body. Ask group members to identify where in their body they feel fear. For example, do they clench their jaws or tense their shoulders? Encourage group members to do body scans to notice how their fear is affecting their bodies.
  15. Ask the group to share any feelings they are struggling to deal with. Take time to discuss healthcoping skillswhich can be used to deal with identified emotions.
  16. Ask the group to describe a situation in which they effectively managed their anxiety symptoms. Find out what worked for them and what they could have done differently.
  17. Ask the group to share a time when they did not feel afraid. Spend time exploring their environment and other factors that contribute to this condition.
  18. Take time to discuss its meaningsocial care. Ask the group to identify three healthy supports they have in their lives.
  19. Create a coping cheat card for team members to keep in their wallet. This card can contain a list of 3-10 coping skills to use when facing difficulties. Examples might be: breathing, counting, calling a friend, dialing a phone line, listening to a song, or pausing.
  20. Create a bingo game that has different types of coping skills on the game board. This can include distraction, emotional relaxation, awareness, grounding, self-care or thought provoking. When a member says "BINGO," ask for a coping skill for each of the categories they listed in turn.
  21. Watch a video or film that shows someone struggling with anxiety. Talk about what they might relate to, what lessons you take away from the show, and if they think anything was over the top. It would be appropriate to talk about the role that social media can have in our mental health.
  22. Take time to talk about the difference between short-term and long-term goals. For each goal, ask the group to identify the goals and share their motivation for the goal.
  23. Prepare a list of songs of different genres. Ask the group to be quiet while they listen and record their thoughts and feelings as they listen to the songs. Take time to talk about how music can affect our emotions and how we can use it to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
  24. Ask group members to name a song they can relate to. Play the song for the group and give the group member time to express their relationship to it.
  25. Ask group members to write a letter about their fears. Give group members the opportunity to destroy the letter after reading it and process this experience.
  26. Take time to talk about the role we playBody Languagehas in our communication with others. Discuss the difference between open and closed posture and ask members to let us know if they would like to try body language changes.
  27. Play a mock game and discuss the importance of effective communication skills.
  28. Give your team the materials they need to create a collage of skills to manage their fears. These can include construction paper, scissors, glue and magazines.
  29. Discuss the role that regular exercise can have in our mental health. Ask the group to discuss their exercise routine and possible improvements.
  30. Give the group a list of positive affirmations and discuss different ways they can incorporate them into their daily lives.
  31. Give the group paper plates and stationery. Ask them to write things on their plate that they think are "on their plate" and are causing them sadness. Take the time to figure out what things they can do for them and what things they could ask for help with.
  32. Give the group balloons, flour and a funnel and take time to make stress balls. Consider situations they could use as coping skills.
  33. Take a group psychoeducation on various psychotropic medications that can be used for anxiety disorders.
  34. Take a group psychoeducation about the different anxiety disorders that people can live with.
  35. Give the group mandalas and colored pencils. Give group members time to color their mandalas. Take time to think about what this experience was like for you and whether you found it comforting.

Final Thoughts on Choosing Group Therapy Activities for Your Anxiety Clients

Group therapy activities for social anxiety provide counselors with an opportunity to provide psychoeducation and encourage member participation. If we are looking for different group stress therapy activities, we can tailor the activity to our group members. For example, if we find that there are common problems with communication skills, we can focus on learning and practicing healthy communication strategies.

Group therapy activity stress groups can be used to increase group participation for groups who are more reserved in session. This may be relevant for new groups or for groups whose members change frequently. Effective counselors can facilitate engaging and informative group sessions for people with a range of anxiety disorders.

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Kayla is a mental health counselor and graduated from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. He has undergone psychotherapy in an inpatient and outpatient treatment programis looking fortreatment facility in New York and addiction rehabilitation facility in Ontario, Canada. She has experience working with people suffering from a variety of mental health problemsDepression, anguish,bipolarDisturbance,Borderline Personality Disorder, AndWound.


What activities can you do with an anxiety group? ›

These activities include meditation, art therapy, physical exercises, goal setting, and more. They will promote trust, relationship building, and various other positive attributes. Individuals can connect with others and feel empowered to manage their anxiety by engaging in these activities.

What are the 5 techniques used for coping with anxiety? ›

8 long-term strategies for coping with anxiety
  • Identify and learn to manage your triggers. You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. ...
  • Try therapy. ...
  • Ask your doctor about medications. ...
  • Do a daily or routine meditation. ...
  • Keep a journal. ...
  • Socialize. ...
  • Staying active. ...
  • Diet and supplements.

What are the 4 coping skills for anxiety? ›

Sample coping strategies
  • Deep breathing.
  • Tensing and relaxing major muscle groups (progressive muscle relaxation)
  • Meditation or guided imagery.

What are 3 coping strategies for anxiety? ›

For tips on coping with panic attacks, see our section on what helps to manage panic attacks.
  • Talk to someone you trust add. ...
  • Try to manage your worries add. ...
  • Look after your physical health add. ...
  • Try breathing exercises add. ...
  • Keep a diary add. ...
  • Complementary and alternative therapies add.

What activity is best for anxiety? ›

7 Best Exercises for Anxiety and Depression
  • Running. Running is a great way to clear your mind while reducing stress. ...
  • Yoga. ...
  • Hiking. ...
  • Weightlifting. ...
  • Take Long Walks. ...
  • Swimming. ...
  • Dancing. ...
  • Wrapping Up: Learn to Handle Your Anxiety and Depression.
Jul 30, 2020

How can I make my group therapy more interactive? ›

One strategy group leaders can use is to break the group into pairs and have them take time during the first session to get to know each other, Whittingham says. Icebreakers that encourage members to delve deeper or have fun together can also promote group bonding.

What is the 3 3 3 rule anxiety? ›

The 333 rule for anxiety is an easy technique to remember and use in the moment if something is triggering your anxiety. It involves looking around your environment to identify three objects and three sounds, then moving three body parts.

What is the 333 rule for anxiety? ›

The 333 rule is a grounding technique that redirects attention from intense and uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety like worry, unwanted thoughts, or even panic to the present by shifting focus to three bodily senses: sight, hearing and touch/movement.

What are the quick interventions for anxiety? ›

10 Effective Anxiety Management Tools
  • Controlled breathing. Controlled breathing aims to reduce physiological symptoms of anxiety by regulating breathing. ...
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. ...
  • Calming imagery. ...
  • Distraction. ...
  • Thought challenging. ...
  • Compassionate self-talk. ...
  • Worry time. ...
  • Behavioral experiments and graded exposure.
Dec 24, 2021

How do you calm someone with anxiety? ›

Here are some tips:
  1. Don't pressure them. Try not to put pressure on your friend or family member to do more than they feel comfortable with. ...
  2. Be kind, be non-judgemental. Let us know it will pass, let us know you are there.
  3. Reminding me to breathe, asking me what I need.

What is the serenity method for anxiety? ›

The Serenity Programme enables people to receive psychological therapy at home, using the telephone and Internet.

What naturally reduces anxiety? ›

Natural remedies such as consuming chamomile, lavender, omega-3 fatty acids, L-theanine, and magnesium, as well as practices such as acupuncture, meditation, regular movement, and journaling may help relieve anxiety symptoms.

What are mental health activities with a group? ›

Below are 10 examples of therapeutic activities.
  • Checking In. In every group, there is the member that will monopolize the conversation and the member who avoids speaking to the group. ...
  • Vision Boards. ...
  • Two Truths and a Lie. ...
  • Fun Facts. ...
  • Food for Healing. ...
  • Self-Care. ...
  • Share a Song. ...
  • Stress Management and Relaxation.
Mar 7, 2022

What are fun group activities for psych patients? ›

Adults with mental illness can participate in group therapy activities such as hiking, cooking, dancing, and creating art. As an icebreaker in the early stages of group therapy, these kinds of fun activities can aid in the development of collective identity and social skills.

How do you host an anxiety party? ›

Hosting an anxiety party is easy: simply brainstorm the idea with your team to see if they're interested. And if they are, pencil in a Zoom meeting and make sure everyone can attend. Ideally, an anxiety party would be organized by the team or squad leader, who will also facilitate the workshop.


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