Coping with the Stuck Points

Name of Activity:  Coping With The Stuck Points                                                

Group size:  5 - 50

Purpose:  Increase frustration tolerance, problem solving, communication skills, trust, group cohesion, and learning how to fail brilliantly.

Props Needed

  1. Maze
  2. Facilitator Map
  3. Noise Maker (bell, buzzer, or facilitator voice)

Activity Preparation

  1. Prep time needed: 5 minutes
  2. Prior to class create an open space for play. If you are indoors, put chairs around the perimeter of the room.  If you are outside, find an open space to play that is free of debris or obstacles.

Time needed:  Total time 45 min.

  • Directions: 5 min.
  • Activity: 25 min.
  • Debrief: 15 min.

Set Up

In order to do this group you must first make a maze. This is a grid of boxes. We recommend going to a hardware store and getting a blue plastic tarp that is 8’ x 10’ and some duck tape. We recommend using a fun and contrasting color to help members clearly see the grid. It is important to print out the facilitator grid so that you can keep track of the pathway through the maze.

Safety: When a person is in the maze and has lost the resource of their sight ensure safety by removing all obstacles that might be harmful. Pay attention to the emotional tone of both the individuals as well as the collective whole. This activity might increase frustration; however, it will also give participants an opportunity to work through their frustration.

Activity Directions:

  • Group members are instructed that their task is to get 5 members through this maze.
  • Once a member enters the maze if they hear the bell that is their clue that they have reached a stuck point and must exit the maze.
  • In order to enter into the maze again all members of the group must have a turn. Much like the lineup at a baseball game participants must cycle through the lineup.
  • Remember there is only one way in and one way out.
  • You may not use the resource of your pens, papers, or electronics

Facilitator Note

Don't tell the participants this but there are 5 rounds. A round is completed once they have successfully moved a participant through the maze.

  • Round 1 – participants may not use the resource of their pens, papers, or electronics
  • Round 2 – Participant in the maze may not use the resource of their eyes
  • Round 3 – Participants out of the maze may not use the resource of their voice
  • Round 4 and 5 – 1 participant in the maze may not use the resource of their eyes and the participants outside of the maze may not use the resource of their voice.

 

Facilitator hint – when the next member walks into the maze for round 4 tell them they don’t have the resource of their eyes and say those of you outside of the maze have lost the resource of your voice. The solution here is that 2 group members must be in the maze one with their eyes closed and the other guiding them through either by the resource of voice or touch.

Facilitator script:  “OK everyone gather around the tarp in order to hear your mission.” (Stand at the side of the maze that is the exit. This will help you visualize the maze as each member goes through. Wait until everyone is standing around the tarp.)  Great!  Here is your mission. You are standing around a maze. There is one way in (point at entrance) one way through, and one way out (point at exit). You can step on any square you want when you hear this sound (make the noise) it will signify you have miss stepped. The good news is that you can always start over.  Whenever you hear this sound (make noise again) the person’s turn in the maze is now over and you cannot have another try until everyone else has gone. Therefore everyone needs to participate and get a turn at the maze. Oh and you may not use the resource of pens, papers, or electronics. You have completed your mission once you have successfully moved 5 participants through the maze without hearing (make the sound). Any Questions?

Ok who wants to go first? (Make sure you have the facilitator grid that will allow you to tract if they are on the right path. Pay close attention, as it is important to remain consistent and on track. Each time someone has a miss step make the noise; when someone makes a correct step nod your head yes).

(When someone has made it through the maze successfully the group advances to round two) Great job everyone, now you are ready for round 2. For round two the person in the maze has lost the resource of their eyes.

(When someone has made it through the maze successfully the group advances to round three) Great job that's two, now you are ready for round 3. In round three everyone out of the maze has lost the resource of his or her voice.

(When someone has made it through the maze successfully the group advances to round four and secretly five) Great job that's 3, now you are ready for round 4. In round 4 everyone out of the maze has lost the resource of his or her voice and one person in the maze has lost the resource of sight.

(Usually the members will pick up on the fact that you said one person in the maze thus indicating that two people can be in the maze. Each person in the maze has to go through the correct path so it might mean that they have to get close and work together. Sometimes the guide will focus too much on the person without sight that they themselves miss step, make sure to make the noise and let them know that there was a miss step.)

(When both people make it through the maze successfully the group has completed its mission) Awesome and that's 4 and 5! (this may be news to the group as they forget to count the guide)

Debrief

  • What was this activity like for you?
  • What strategy did you use to solve the problem?
  • What strategies did you use to cope with the stuck points?
  • How did you feel every time you heard the buzzer?
  • What did it feel like the first time someone completed the maze?
  • How did it feel to become stuck again after completing it the first time?
  • What was it like once you lost the resource of your sight and voice?
  • How does this relate to coping with stuck points in recovery?
  • What is a relapse oriented approach to coping with stuck points?
  • What is some recovery oriented approaches to coping with stuck points?

 

Recovery/ Wellness Metaphor:

Role of Facilitator:

Variations: Play with the rules or limitations of the different rounds as well as the complexity of the maze. We find that the below example takes participants about 30 minutes to complete the mission as outlined above. Clients will want to know if they will use a square more than once or if they will be going diagonal. Typically, I answer these types of questions with the recovery slogan, “more will be revealed”.

 

 

1

 

 

 

2

3

9

8

 

4

10

7

6

5

11

12

 

 

 

Where to Find It/How to Make it:

Creating the Maze

Materials – 8x10 plastic tarp, duck tape, measuring tape, sharpie, helpful friend

Get a friend to help this is much harder than it needs to be with one person doing it. Lay out the 8’ x 10’ blue tarp. First lets start with making the columns of the grid. Measure out two feet across the 8’ side of the tarp until you have four marks 2’ apart from each other. Then go to the opposite side of the tarp and do the same thing. Now take the duck tape and tape down the long columns. This should give you four columns. Now lets create the rows. Use the measuring tape to measure out rows 2’ apart from each other along the 10’ side of the tarp. Once completed this should give you five marks. Then go to the opposite side of the tarp and do the same thing. Now take the duck tape and tape down the rows. This should give you five rows and a sense of accomplishment as you have created your maze tarp that you can use for a long time to come.

 

NOTE it is important that the boxes are 2 feet, as they need to be big enough to accommodate 2 group members within each box. One of the problem solving components might include having two people in one box at a time.

 

Facilitator grid

Print off the facilitator grid in this book as you will need to be able to keep track of the solution while participants are attempting to move through it. It is important to remain consistent otherwise trust can be broken between participants and facilitator. Also draw out your maze on the grid in a yellow highlighter so it doesn’t show through to participants.