I Am Group Affirmations

Group size:  5 - 25

Purpose:  Increase sense of personal well-being, increase group cohesion

Props Needed

  1. Brown paper lunch bags
  2. Pens
  3. I am handout
  4. List of Group members First name last Initial

Activity Preparation

Prep time needed:  60 minutes

  1. Prior to group Print off a list of first names and last initial of all members in the group
  2. Make enough copies of “I am” handout and cut it into slips so that each group member has a slip of paper for each of their peers.
  3. Write the name of each group member on one of the bags (First name last initial)
  4. In each bag place a pen, a list of group members first name and last initial, and enough “I am” slips of paper to write an affirmation for each of their peers.
  5. Using a larger marker label the bags with a participant first name and last initial. Write large enough so the name can be seen and read from a distance.

So if there are 10 group members total you will have 10 bags each containing a pen, 9 slips of paper, and a list of the 10 group member’s names in each bag.

Time needed

  • Directions: 5 min
  • Activity: 40 min
  • Debrief: 15 min

Set Up: Give each bag to the participant that it belongs to

Activity Directions:

  • Hand out pre-packaged bags to group members.
  • Have a discussion about affirmations and how sometimes it is hard to come up with positive affirmations about ourselves.
  • Tell group in their bags they will find a list of names of all group members, blank slips of paper, and a pen.
  • Their task is to write out one positive sentence that completes the sentence stem I am.. for each of their peers.
  • Reinforce this must be something positive and uplifting, as one day their peer might be having a bad day and come across their bag of affirmations. What they write down for their peer might be the thing that saves their life. Let them know we will be reading these out loud so please take it seriously and write legibly.
  • Remember who you write each affirmation for, it might help to put their name on the back of the slip of paper.
  • Once you have an affirmation slip for each group member you will deliver the affirmation into the bag of the person you wrote it for.
  • Once this is done have group members read out loud the affirmations found in their bag.

 

Facilitator script: “Ok everyone we are going to get started. Here is a bag for each of you. Inside your bag you will find a pen, a list of names, and several slips of paper. Here is what we are going to do. Many of us have a hard time thinking about what is good about ourselves. Or if someone asked you to create a list of self-affirmations we might struggle. So we are going to create affirmations for each other.

Take out the list of names from your bag. Find your name and cross it off. Does anyone not see their name listed? (If there is a participant that doesn’t have their name listed have everyone write their name on the list and apologize for overlooking it).

Your task is to complete the sentence stem “I am” for each of your peers. So you might say something like “I am always uplifting to my friends when they are down” or “I am a prime example of a strong man in recovery”. Make sure that whatever you write is positive and uplifting. You never know your peer might be having a bad day and come across their bag of affirmations. What you write down for them might be the thing that saves their life. Also we will be reading these out loud so please take it seriously and write legibly.

You will have about 20 minutes to complete the affirmations for your peers so don’t over think it. Once you have written everyone’s affirmation please place their affirmation in their bag. Place your bag open on the floor in front of you so your peers can fill it with your affirmations.

(Be sure to give time warnings when group is ½ and ¾ of the way through the time allotted)

Ok great job everyone. Who would like to read their affirmations first? (you can either go around the room or accept volunteers).

Debrief

  • What was it like to write the affirmations for your peers?
  • What was it like to know that others are writing things about you?
  • How did it feel reading your affirmations out loud?
  • What did you think about what your peers said about you?
  • Was there anything that was surprising?
  • What was easy about this activity?
  • What was challenging about it?

 

Recovery/Wellness Metaphor: This activity can be a powerful way to dismantle the negative sense of self. Previous participants have said they never knew others saw them this way as they were debriefing this powerful activity.

Role of Facilitator: Help to keep clients on track by managing the logistics and answering the questions. It is important to pay attention to ensure understanding from each participant. Make sure participants are taking it seriously as if something is negatively written it can have a negative impact to the participant reading the affirmation out loud.

Variations: feel free to adapt sentence stems or purpose to fit population and goals of group. Facilitator may ask participants to write one affirmation about each person in the group on a post-it note. Then get up and while moving around, the participant with the sticky note will pat the one being affirmed on the back as if giving them a pat on the back, and sticking the post-it note affirmation to their clothing. Once everyone has all affirmations stuck to their back, ask participants to collect the affirmations from one participant from their back and hand them to that participants. Once each has their own affirmations, then each one will read aloud their own affirmations to the group.