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Participated in get-to-know-you activities


Over the years in school classes, work teams, and other group settings, you may have participated in get-to-know-you activities, also called icebreakers or team builders. These activities help members learn one another’s names and generate a sense of inclusion and belonging early in the life span of the group. Social workers, too, use icebreakers to create cohesion among the members of a treatment group. Icebreakers can take many forms—from question and answer, to games and riddles, to memory exercises, to movement, pair work, and more.

Social workers must carefully align the icebreaker to the group and ensure it is appropriate for the age, focus, and attention of its members. Treatment groups may also include involuntary members who may be unhappy about their requirement to attend. How might these members react to such an icebreaker, and how might you use motivational interviewing to draw them out and engage them in a meaningful way?

In this Discussion, you assume the role of a social worker starting an initial group session and presenting an icebreaker activity.


• Review the Learning Resources on the beginning stage of group work and on motivational interviewing. Explore the group icebreaker examples and conduct a search to find your own icebreaker activity.

• Imagine that you are leading the first session of your group focusing on addiction or sexual assault trauma. Consider how you would start the session, including the use of an icebreaker activity. When preparing your start to the session, keep your group’s purpose and membership in mind.

• Reflect on motivational interviewing and how you might use it within the icebreaker to support engagement and group cohesion.


Record and post a 2- to 3-minute video in which you:

• Demonstrate how you would start the group session, using the exact wording you would use if you were speaking directly to the group.

• Present and explain an ice-breaker activity that is appropriate for your group. Note: This should be different than any of the examples provided in this week’s Icebreakers document.

• Explain how you would use motivational interviewing within the icebreaker to build cohesion and engagement, particularly with involuntary or resistant group members.


• Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Pearson.

o Chapter 6, “Planning the Group” (pp. 160–195) (Review)

o Chapter 7, “The Group Begins” (pp. 196–229)

o Chapter 8, “Assessment” (pp. 230–263)

• Young, T. L. (2013). Using motivational interviewing within the early stages of group development.Links to an external site. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 38(2), 169–181.

• Document: Icebreakers Download Icebreakers(PDF


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