Understanding Feelings: A Therapeutic Activity for Teenagers


Last updated on February 7th, 2019 at 06:56 pm

Therapeutic activities for teenagers – Understanding Feelings

Main aim: Teenagers are able to act out how they feel without using words and are able to gain an understanding of their own feelings and connect to the feelings of others.

Name: Understanding Feelings

Type: Therapeutic activities for teenagers

Participant: Single participants

Duration: 60 minutes

Materials: One piece of paper and a pen for each participant

Preparation: None


  • Each participant writes down on a piece of paper three feelings and emotions that accurately reflect what they or anyone else involved in issues troubling the participant are or may be feeling at the moment.
  • Give the participants around 10 minutes to think about the feelings. It could be their own feelings about their relationship with their family or their parents’ feelings about their relationship with the participant, or it could be feelings of a school bully and so on.
  • Once they have done so, collect the piece of paper from the participants.
  • Without telling anyone who wrote what, ask the participants to take turns acting out the feelings (pantomime) and the others will need to name the feelings portrayed by each participant.
  • When the activity ends, the participants should provide some feedback on the activity. For example:
    • Was it difficult to name a feeling?
    • Did it become easier the more they practiced acting and talking about their feelings?
    • Were there any feelings that should not be expressed to their loved ones or friends?
    • Were there any feelings that should be expressed?
    • If they felt the same way again, what should they do and how should they handle such feelings?

List of emotions

Before the start of the activity, it may help if a list of emotions and feelings is given to each participant. The list could include feelings such as:

  • insecure
  • angry
  • foolish
  • brave
  • disillusioned
  • ashamed
  • exasperated
  • confused
  • frustrated
  • embarrassed
  • disgusted
  • lonely
  • hostile
  • isolated
  • disorganized
  • uncertain
  • controlled
  • demoralized
  • rejected
  • and many more…


The intention of the activity is to allow the teenagers to understand their own feelings and the emotions and feelings of those in their own lives.

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