Have You Ever? Variation

This Have You Ever variation is shared by my good friend Jim Schoel, long time Project Adventure colleague and author of Islands of Healing, Exploring Islands of Healing and Gold Nuggets.

Have You Ever? is typically used as a fun, interactive game, but it can also be useful in bringing to the surface honest disclosure and conversation around behaviours that are less than desirable, particularly when dealing with how people relate with each other in family, work and social situations.

Jim suggests that you play the game as you normally would, but at some point early in the game, you or your co-facilitator will ‘somehow’ find yourself in the middle of the circle. You can initiate a quantum shift in the level of commitment to this activity by asking any one of the following counselling questions:

  • Have you ever made fun of someone with a group of people?
  • Did you lose someone you know in {enter relevant disaster}?
  • Do you sometimes feel bad that you survived the {relevant disaster} and other people didn’t?
  • Have you ever violated someone’s trust?
  • Have you ever taken something from someone that didn’t belong to you?
  • Have you ever thought about really hurting someone?
  • Have you ever felt sad and alone and not known who to turn to?
  • Have you ever been let down by a good friend?
  • Have you ever felt like an outsider looking in?
  • Have you ever felt misunderstood or not heard?


As you and your co-facilitator intersperse these questions, group members will have the freedom to move to another spot, a silent indicator of identification, and to ask similar questions when they are at centre stage. The questions from participants will become very telling.

Clearly, the intensity level of your questions has to be carefully geared to the purposes of the group. Recreational groups should stay with the safer “Have you ever been in a parade? types of questions. Recovery groups, corporate or therapy groups may benefit from questions with an entirely different focus.

In his experience as a group therapist, Jim has found that people often find it easier to own behaviours and feelings in this format, particularly after initial disclosure around less charged items gets them moving. I tend to agree with him.

Sequence it right, take the risk, and you will be richly rewarded with material for the debriefing. Also, the activity can be stopped at any time to discuss issues that come up.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful Have You Ever variation Jim.


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