Games in Therapy

Here is a collection of my favorite regular games turned into therapy games. I love using games in therapy and these have really added to my collection!


Cootie Game:In this game you build a social story. Examples on the website are for social skills and depression…for example

• Leg 1: Cootie says, “Do you want to play with me.”
• Leg 2: Cootie tells himself: “I won’t get mad if someone says no, I’ll find someone else to play with.”
• Leg 3: Cootie says: “You’re the guest. What do you want to play?”
• Leg 4: Cootie tells himself: “Make sure your friend is having fun.”
• Leg 5: Cootie says: “Thanks for playing with me. I had fun!”
• Leg 6: Cooties tells himself: “I did a good job taking turns and sharing today.”

For full explanation and instructions click below:

Candyland: When you land on the same color as your pawn you answer a prompt which can be found at this link:

Sorry: Ok, this is one I adapted…using the same prompts from Candyland I have the client and myself roll a pair of dice.From then on when one of us pulls that number card (example a 5 or an 8) then the client has to answer a prompt.

Pick Up Sticks:

Taken from McDowell, Barbara (2004) “The Pick-Up-Sticks Game.” In Kaduson, Heidi Gerard & Schaefer (Eds.) (2004) 101 Favorite Play Therapy Techniques. Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Jenga Game

Jenga: I do not know who the originator of this idea is as I first learned about it from a colleague and have seen it many different places online. Below are various ideas on how to use this.

TIP: I have used different colored Sharpie markers and written questions per topic all in one specific color. Then when playing with my client, we only use one color of questions to answer.

LIFE: While setting the tower up, talk about things that make us happy. During game play, talk about things that might happen to weaken the tower/life. Discuss what the holes represent and who supports us when we’re struggling. When the tower falls, talk about what might make that happen in life. As you build the tower back up, talk about strategies that we can use to put the pieces of our life back together.

TRUST: Talk about ways to earn and break people’s trust before and while playing the game. When the tower falls, talk about how quickly trust can be broken. When rebuilding the tower we talk about how long it takes to regain someone’s trust once it is broken as well as ways to regain trust.

FEELINGS: Use the colored generic blocks and assign a feeling for each color (yellow- happy, red- mad, blue- sad) and then have prompts on colored sheets of paper to correspond with each feeling. I find that children do best when they are in complete the sentence form (I feel mad when…, What makes me happiest is…, If only my mom knew that _____ makes me sad…)

SOCIAL SKILLS: Write different scenarios that relate to social skills on the blocks. Client answers questions if they pull a block with a question on it. Examples: What makes a good friend? Give an example of the last time you and your friends bullied someone?

FAMILY: Writer different prompts about family on the blocks. Client answers questions if they pull a block with a question on it. Examples: What is your favorite activity to do with mom? What does dad do that makes you mad. What is one thing you could change about your family.

ADDICTION: Do not stack up the blocks before beginning. Have clients make suggestions on how building the tower can relate to recovery. Write questions on the bottom of the blocks which the clients pull and answer out loud. Questions like “What is your biggest regret”, “What is your greatest fear”, “If you could change anything in your life what would it be?” While the tower is becoming less and less stable, again ask them, how the tower can relate to their recovery process.


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