Behavioral Therapy Activities

Done Inside the Group

  • Group Conversations about general matters (i.e., the weather, movies, TV, hobbies, sports, interests, likes, dislikes, etc.)
  • Mingling, conversations, small talk, 1:1 small talk, 3-4 person group mingling
  • Introductions - "The Circle of Death" (This is a paradox; it really doesn’t kill you!)
  • Introductions – formal and informal
  • “Call on you” questions (i.e., being called on by surprise)
  • Pass the Conversation
  • Presenting your topic/presentation/report calmly and with less and less anxiety
  • Walking into a conversation, ending a conversation,
  • Conversing across the room, Projecting your voice (calmly)
  • Proactivity reports
  • Using the microphone: stationary and moving around
  • Using the telephone in front of others
  • Using the loud-speaker system across the “store”
  • House Shout; “Pillow Talk”
  • Impromptu skits (i.e., ten minutes and then perform!)
  • Planned out skits/presentations
  • Impromptu presentations and talks
  • Self-Consciousness exercises:  Simon says; Goofy Karaokes / Sing and dance, hum and sing
  • Self-Consciousness exercises:  Bark like a dog, jump around like a monkey
  • “Game Show” questions (i.e., Scrutiny, etc.)
  • Questions  – some serious and formal, some wacky. 
  • Controversy Conversations / Stating Your Own Opinion
  • Being Cut Down and "Criticized" by the Group for your Ideas/Opinions

INDIVIDUAL Activities You Can Do During the Group

  • Taking your time as the whole world watches (all good public speakers do this)
  • Reading: serious AND funny material
  • Slowing Down When Reading, Talking, Answering Questions
  • Presentations: a college or work project
  • Impromptu Talks: any little thing (emphasis on “little”)
  • Speeches: Informal (unplanned) and formal (planned)
  • Being in charge (of a group, a meeting, a committee, etc.)
  • Answering impromptu questions
  • Eye Contact: The Stare Chair, the stand stare, peripheral proof, etc.
  • “Birthday parties” (i.e., “It’s Your Party You Can Laugh if You Want To”)
  • Being “put on the spot” 
  • “Guesstures” game / Pictionary/ Taboo
  • Physical Manifestations  (i.e., blushing, excessive sweating, hands that shake, eating/drinking in public):
  • Paradoxical strategies: counterintuitive approaches 
  • Staying calm and rational in the situation
  • Role-Plays 
  • Assertion: “Line 13” / returning merchandise to a store
  • Saying “NO” (calmly and politely) to other people, when necessary
  • Entering into a conversation
  • Expressing an opinion 
  • The Job Interview
  • Being rejected by another person
  • Being rejected by someone you think is physically attractive
  • Acting out a segment from a movie / TV by yourself or with others

Experiments outside SAI in the “real world”

Note: Our “experiments” should never harm other people or disrupt business.

Fill out the “Experiments” worksheet first so that you can remain rational before, during, and after the experiment.  Most of these experiments are meant to be done with two or three people from the group present.  Do NOT go off by yourself, please.  Do NOT do these without other group members present.

Consider only the suggestions that might cause you a small amount of anxiety (the ones that are on your hierarchy). For example:

In a store:

  • Go up to a sales person and ask them for directions to another department
  • Go up to a sales person and ask them legitimate questions about their product
  • Ask a worker for help or information
  • Stand for several minutes in front of the condom section, the feminine hygiene section, or read all the small print on the “Depends” box.  Do this while others go by you and can see you are doing this. 
  • Eating at a food court (and other eating establishments, if appropriate):
  • Everyone sings “Happy Birthday” to one person who gently looks around and notices if she is being watched, judged, and disliked.  Monitoring this while being sung to is important.  Then, everyone claps loudly for the person and says, “SPEECH!”
  • The experimentee then stands and briefly says something nice to the “crowd” (loud enough so they can hear you.)
  • Eye Contact:  Sit, stand, or walk and catch a strangers’ eye for one or two seconds. 
  • In a bookstore, start a discussion with another customer who is reading a book (or subject) you know something about.   In a sports store, ask some questions of another customer about what they are trying out or looking at.
  • Have yourself “made over” at a department store as people walk by you.
  • Talking from one floor of the mall to another.   You yell up at your friend and he yells back to you.  (Notice this is a normal thing that people do).  
  • In the parking lot of any store, scream, “Hey, Ben, wait for me!”   Several people may turn around and look… but if they don’t know you, they will turn back and keep walking.  Prove this to yourself.  This is especially good for “quieter” people.  
  • Ride the up escalator down and the down escalator up.  Do this seriously rather than jokingly and do not cause others’ harm.  You will be the center of attention.  Note if others are mad and critical at you … or not. 
  • Skip (dance) around the shopping center fountain on your way out.

THIS IS JUST A SUMMARY of activities which involve both cognitive AND behavioral therapy.  One without the other will prove inadequate.