Trio Trust Lean

Type of Activity: Trust

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Need plenty of open space for small groups to work safely. Divide your group into smaller groups of 3 or 4 participants. Works well with 3 to 25 participants for 20 to 30 minutes.

Process: One person will assume the “trusting” or active position – this involves crossing the arms over the chest with the body nice and straight – solid as a board. The two other participants will be the “spotters” in a “spotter’s position” behind the active participant (see first photo). The spotting position (as seen in the picture) is knees bent, legs ready to be strong but giving, arms up and bent ready to be strong but giving and the hands open with fingers together. Spotters are to maintain physical contact with the active participant during the beginning of the activity – hands will be on the active participants shoulder blades. When everyone is in position the active participant must use a set of commands before leaning back.

The active participant asks, “Spotters Ready?” The spotters, in their spotting stance with their hands on the active participants shoulder blades answer, “Ready!” (if there is any question about their readiness, the active participant may ask again). Then the active participant states, “Ready to trust!” (this means, ready to lean back). The response from the spotters is, “Trust us ___________” (using the name of the participant). At this point the active participant leans (or some might say “falls” back – we seem to stay away from the word FALL for some reason) back towards the spotters. The spotters, bending in their arms a bit, let the active participant lean back to experience a trusting moment. The spotters then, carefully set the active participant back up to standing. (If there is a fourth participant in the group, he can be standing in front of the active participant as a spotter preventing this person from falling forward too far.)

If the active participant is willing to do another lean, the spotters back up a little bit – they don’t need to touch the leaner initially this time. The group follows the same process as above, this time with a bit more trust involved – more lean. If willing, spotters can go another step back so the active participant can go for a “mean” lean. Make sure everyone in the small groups has the chance to practice at each position – both spotting positions and the leaner.

Note: The facilitator(s) should be walking around among the groups giving corrective and encouraging feedback. This activity must be conducted with all seriousness. “Safety Joking” is not appropriate – ever!

Variations: For a bit more excitement ask the active participant (the leaner) to close his or her eyes during the lean.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What did it feel like to be supported by the group?
  • What feelings did you experience?

For more resources see: Empty Bag

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