Purpose: This activity initiates the conversation about refusal skills.

Materials needed: none


  1. Facilitator asks everyone in the room to stand up and move to another chair. After everyone settles into a new chair the facilitator can ask a number of questions to generate conversation such as:

“Why did you move.”

“When I asked you to move, what thoughts did you have before you stood up?”

“Is there anyone who really did not want to move?  What motivated you to move anyway?”

“Does anyone feel like they just moved without even thinking about it?”

  1. Ask about the feelings that arose in the room.
  2. Ask the group members how they convinced themselves to move anyway despite their thoughts. What did they do to change their thoughts.  Use this to make the point that our thoughts don’t have to lead to actions, just like thinking about using doesn’t have to lead to using.  Highlight the gap in there between the thoughts and the actual action.  That is where their power lies.
  3. Share with them this quote from Victor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
  4. After discussion facilitator can link statements to other situations in their lives.

Tips and Considerations:

Capitalize on any statements clients make about moving without thinking about it.  Help them slow down and examine their thinking.  What thoughts did they have?  What emotions?  Was there a feeling of indifference, powerlessness, a lack of caring?  How are these thoughts and emotions familiar to them and how do they impact their ability to manage the pressure to use from their peers.

Sometimes it is fun to do this activity two weeks in a row, just so people can increase their awareness of their thoughts.

Starts the learning around: Refusal skills, cognitive mapping, impulse control

One thought on “ACTIVITY: All Stand UP

  1. Pingback: Spotlight on…the Group Therapist’s Self-Regulation | Get your group groove back!

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