Facilitating group therapy and support meetings

Help! We're Running Out of Ideas

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

Group therapy -- often sponsored or facilitated by apeech-language pathologists -- is an important service delivery model for working with persons with a variety of communication disorders. More than 20 years ago, Backus and Beasley wrote about the value of group treatment (Speech therapy with children. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1951). More recently, Short, Coppens, Bruce, and Belin reported activities they found effective: "Getting to know you" activity; Jeopardy-like game; discussion of current events; and "What's in the bag?"; (www.readwritethink.org/materials/in_the_bag/index.html). Other activities were discussions about places traveled or where people would most like to live; guest speakers; and discussion about an off-site outing (see Psychosocial/Transactional Group Treatment Approach for Aphasia: Challenges, Solutions and Results (http://convention.asha.org/2004/handouts/handout_184054.ppt)

Harvesting Group Ideas: Resources

Our university clinic hosts support groups for stuttering and spasmodic dysphonia and treatment groups for accent reduction, aphasia, and child language. Many groups begin with "icebreakers" -- a getting to know you activity. Student clinicians have come up with several good icebreakers such as:

It isn't always easy to come up with new ideas for icebreakers. The following Web sites offer many good suggestions:

Activities for Specific Client Groups

The following sites focus on activity suggestions for specific client groups served by SLPs:

Stuttering Support Group Activities

Activities for support group meetings especially for people who stutter (although several activities can be adapted for other groups):


Judith Kuster is a professor in the Department of Speech, Hearing, and Rehabilitation Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her at judith.kuster@mnsu.edu. All of Kuster's Internet columns are on ASHA's Web site in HTML format with active links (www.asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/news.htm), although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.

Kuster, JM, Facilitating group therapy and support meetings: Help! We're Running Out of Ideas, ASHA Leader, May 29, 2007, p. 30-31.