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Activity 4: Discussion - Getting Rid of Guilt

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Optional: Scrap paper and pencils for the higher-energy approach

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide whether to use the higher-energy approach described at the end of the activity description.

Description of Activity

This activity gives youth a symbolic way of getting rid of guilt.

Ask the group what people can do when guilt is eating at them. Say a person might feel guilty if they have done something they know is wrong. The guilt can be so bad it can make a person sick. What could a person do to feel better? Here are some possibilities:

  • People can figure out why they did the wrong thing and promise themselves to act differently next time.
  • People can correct the mistake they made. If they told a lie, they can now tell the truth.
  • People can make up for what they did. If they hurt a friend, now they can help the friend in some way.
  • They can admit what they did and take the consequences. The punishment might not be pleasant, but putting something bad behind them might feel good.
  • They can talk to somebody about what they did. A parent, a teacher, a counselor, or a friend might be able to help.

Higher-energy approach: You can enliven this activity by distributing scrap paper and pencils and asking youth to write down something that they feel guilty about or felt guilty about in the past. Then ask them to decide what they should do to get rid of the guilt - perhaps they could use an idea from the list above. When that is done, they can stand, crumple up the paper, throw it on the floor, jump up and down on it, and, finally, rip it dramatically into shreds and throw it away in the trash or recycling bin. Help the youth protect their privacy by suggesting they use a code word for the thing that makes them feel guilty or write so small that nobody else will be able to read what they wrote.

Including All Participants

Avoid the higher-energy approach if your group includes youth with limitations that would preclude their participation.

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