WARM-UP EXERCISES FOR GROUP WORK: For Therapeutic, Educational or Training Groups by Nicholas Wolff
The right warm-up makes everything learned in a training situation or classroom more accessible and immediately useful to the trainee/student. New skills and knowledge - in education, personal growth or a professional training situation where a set of skills or concepts must be integrated into the repertoire of a team or organization - are absorbed and integrated more rapidly when the group energy expresses supportive connections among the people present. The important thing is to match the warm-up with the objective for the group meeting, i.e. a batter would not focus on warming up their pitching arm. READ MORE

TURNING POINTS by Nicholas Wolff
The scene: A psychodrama and group psychotherapy training workshop intensive, conducted by a highly-respected trainer. The situation: We have been assigned the task of creating an on-the-spot warm-up exercise for a group. Be spontaneous, but use what we have learned. My dilemma: I am standing in front of this group of twenty-odd colleagues, some of whom are brilliant and a bit intimidating, and here's the thing: My mind is blank. I am supposed to be speaking. People are staring at me, patient and trusting. But I have nothing. Nadda. No ideas, not even a hint. Time seems to slow down. The anxiety is overwhelming. So I take action. I drop to the floor of the stage. READ MORE

WHO AM I THIS TIME? Role-Taking For 21st Century Learning & Growth by Nicholas Wolff
Studies show that new learning acquired through direct participation is internalized more rapidly, something critically important in today's atmosphere of accelerated change. Here are some examples from the literature: Educational Perspectives published an article describing the work of a Winnipeg, Manitoba science teacher who teaches about particle theory by having students "become," and tell stories as, actual particles. They integrate such complex concepts as conductivity and kinetic energy, interacting in skits, plays, puppet shows."[1] She also uses role-play to teach about the heart and circulation system by transforming the entire classroom into the heart system, using tarps and other props, the kids making the pumping and gushing sounds, and people in from outside the room treated as antigens. READ MORE

EXPERIENTIAL/ACTION METHODS: Thinking and Relationship Skills For The 21st Century

Experiential, action methods are ideal for helping people meet the unique demands of life in the networked world. The accelerated pace of change, rapidly evolving technology and shifting tides in our social and political climate impose psychological stresses that call for creative thinking and the capacity to connect with other people from a wide variety of networks in order to manage our lives at home and work. This approach to group/class work is designed to generate an atmosphere of safety and support as well as stimulate creative energy. The combined effect of this process can result in dramatic shifts in perception, expanded creativity and the ability to be flexible and seek out original approaches and solutions to problems.

The tools available through training in this method make any group leader more effective. Experiential learning in the classroom helps students integrate new information and make connections that go beyond the cognitive. The business world has known for a long time that everyone benefits when there is a climate conducive to creativity. Action-oriented, experiential work in psychotherapy has to be carefully modulated to assist participants to go beyond their defenses and "get into the act" while remaining grounded and safe, supported by the group. A well-trained psychotherapist can maximize the creative energy of the group, which brings a powerful opportunity to find a whole range of solutions to a problem we could never find through an intellectual discussion.

Personal growth work using these methods emphasizes the enactment and reenactment of situations and events past, present, or future, through which these events come to life. Through this experience, participants can see the events with new eyes, gain insight, and begin to think and feel differently about the situation. Trainees learn and practice techniques for every stage of group development, discuss the theory and philosophy that support their use and are provided readings by thought leaders in the field and cutting edge research.