I’ve told you in my last two posts about how much I love using games in therapy, especially with children and adolescents. I’ve already explored how I use the games Jenga and Find It in therapy sessions, thus using otherwise “non-therapeutic” games and turning them into effective therapeutic interventions that I can use for multiple purposes. Like Jenga and Find It, I use numerous other “non-therapeutic” and therapeutic games to teach various topics and skills to my clients. If you’re new to reading this blog, the difference between “therapeutic” and “non-therapeutic” games is nothing more than what their intent and purpose were when they were created. “Non-therapeutic” games are those that you can find at your local department store in the game aisle, such as UNO and Scrabble. In my own experience, I have found that ANY game can be made therapeutic, just like any game can also be made educational. Today’s game is a popular classic among board games: Sorry! I use the game Sorry! to teach children to take responsibility for their behaviors and actions, as well as to demonstrate through role play how and when to apologize.
To start the game of Sorry!, each player chooses a pawn color and places his four pawns on the matching colored START circle. The included pack of game cards are shuffled and placed face down on the space marked “PLACE PACK” in the center of the game board. Then game play begins around the board. A player draws the top card from the pack and places it face up onto the “DISCARD” space on the board. He follows the card’s directions, moving his pawn a number of spaces. When a move ends on a square already occupied by an opponent, the opponent’s pawn is bumped back to his START.
Regardless of whether in his favor or not, a player must make a move with one of his pawns as directed by the card he has drawn. The player who first moves all four of his pieces from his START to his HOME of the same color wins the game. The frustration Sorry! usually elicits in its players is often attributed to the cards’ directions not being in one’s favor, as well as being bumped back to his START space, either as a result of his opponent or because he has drawn a Sorry! card forcing him to land in an unfavorable position.
Enter Therapeutic So Sorry! When playing the game in therapy, I add So Sorry! cards. Each time a pawn is bumped back to its START circle, the opponent who caused the bump back must draw a So Sorry! card. These are cards with questions and role play tasks in which the player has to either discuss or role play his taking responsibility for pretend behaviors and actions in which he should be “so sorry.” The set of cards also includes questions about the client’s own behaviors/actions and prompts them to explore whether he needs to take responsibility for said actions. To use the “So Sorry!” cards that I have, you can click here. Game play resumes as normal after the So Sorry! task has been completed.
Therapeutic So Sorry! is a lot of fun to play, and I’ve found it especially helpful when working with children who have difficulty taking responsibility for their actions and those with behavior and/or impulsivity disorders. It can also be used to reinforce appropriate social skills to use when having to take responsibility for one’s behavior. Best of all, the children I work with love playing the game just as much as I do!
“Following attainment of a B.S. in Psychology in 2001, I earned my M.A. in Counseling from West Virginia University in 2004. I returned later to obtain certification in School Counseling.
I have extensive experience in working with children and adolescents, though I also see adults. I also specialize in treatment of trauma-related issues and concerns (including PTSD), behavior disorders (such as Oppositional Behavior Disorder), and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I am skilled at working with parents and families who are experiencing issues at home, focusing on each individual’s strengths and needs while they rebuild the family unit.”