Student Facilitation of Group Experiences


Photo: Jennifer Stanchfield

With a partner (or individually) facilitate an opening activity for the beginning of the training group session. If each person decides to facilitate an activity on their own, one person can share at the start of the session and the second person at the end of the training group. The purpose of this activity is to allow each group member to check-in with the group and to introduce an experience that could be used on a practicum within a group art therapy context. Beginnings (and endings) can incorporate art materials, physical actions, music, sharing introductions through words, or other activities. There are examples on-line of introductory (and closing) group facilitation exercises for warm-ups (and endings) which you can amend to suit the artistry of your partnership.

Attunement with Shelia Lavery

Drawing with Music facilitated by Laura Clark

Each partner selects a percussion instrument, a piece of paper, and pastels. One partner at a time plays their instrument while the other partner draws. The partner with the instrument can change the tempo and sound quality of their instrument influencing the pace and characteristics of the drawing. After a period of time, partners change places. After both partners have had a turn drawing and playing their instrument they discuss the artworks produced.


Drawing in Happiness with Different Colours facilitated by Bridget Nugent. 

Select colours of happiness and draw in areas of the body diagram where these colours are alive and lived with. This exercise can also be completed within a full size body portrait, where each person draws an outline of their partner’s body. As a full size body mapping experience, this exercise could be included in an art therapy group after a period of trust has been established. The A4 size filled in body diagrams demonstrate the connection between physical and mental health and are a reminder of how happiness lives within us. The body diagram could also be included in a visual journal.

Bridget suggests checking out the topic The Science of Happiness and the  You Tube video series Soul Pancake


Relational Portraits: An Opening Exercise for Communication facilitated by Sheila Lavery. 

Draw a portrait of your partner, while looking into their eyes. The portrait is drawn without looking at the marks on the page as each portrait is completed on top of each partner’s head. The partners share their drawn portraits of each other after a period of drawing and looking at each other.


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