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29 Fun & Creative Therapy Games for Kids, Teens, & Adults

Updated: 4 days ago

Therapeutic games can help build rapport and teach important concepts like coping skills.

Therapy games can help with learning emotions, coping skills, CBT, DBT, and more.

Therapy games make therapy less intimidating, more enjoyable, and even more effective. Studies show that kids and adults learn better through play (Yenigen, 2014).

(Ready to play now? Check out this printable therapy game bundle.)

Play is often encouraged as a way to treat symptoms in therapies like trauma-focused CBT (Allen et al., 2017). It can be used for many purposes, modalities, and settings. Here are some examples:

  • Teaching CBT

  • DBT skills groups

  • Play therapy

  • Hospital settings

  • Community group therapy

  • Problem solving groups

  • Anger management groups

  • Classes and student groups

  • Individual therapy sessions

As a community therapist, I found games made sessions with new teens less awkward, helped get groups more involved, and were a life-saver when I had minimal prep time.

This infographic includes three therapy games that cover CBT techniques and DBT skills.

Games (like this one for practicing CBT) are also great for getting to know your clients, and for teaching important concepts like coping skills and understanding emotions. They can work with kids, teens, families, groups, and adults–in person and during telehealth.

Some of the most fun and easiest games to play with clients are therapeutic board games. Many include discussion or learning prompts, and cover topics like feelings, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Since the games are usually structured and straightforward, they may be less intimidating than regular talk sessions. You can use these tools as a way to

teach concepts, to review skills, or just to have fun and get to know each other.

Below are some fun and effective games that may leave a lasting memory for you and your clients. Several options are printable PDF downloads. All are evidence-based and focus on developing and practicing skills.

Article Highlights

Printable PDF Games:

CBT Island Quest Board Game

CBT Lingo (Bingo)

The Greatest DBT Board Game

FEELOPOLY Emotions Game

Couple's Pursuit

Therapy Shuffle

Feelings Jenga

Feelings Pictionary

Feel, Act, & Draw

Therapy Dice

Emotions Match

Happy Dragon

Go Feel!

Color-Based Games

Family Board Games

1. CBT Island Quest

Great for: Kids (11+), teens, college students, families, some adults

Works with: Groups, in-person, telehealth

Goals: Learning or reviewing CBT concepts, practicing coping skills, building confidence

CBT Island Quest is a straightforward printable therapy game of discussion and prompts. Players roll or use the card instructions to move around the game.

Prompt cards are divided into mindfulness/relaxation questions and cognitive questions. Example prompts include:

  • You think your friend is mad at you because they cancelled your plans together. Challenge the thought.

  • What's a coping skill you can used when you're depressed?

  • What does it feel like in your body when you're relaxed?

Learn more about CBT Island Quest and download it here.

2. CBT Lingo (CBT Bingo)

Great for: Kids (11+), teens, college students, families, adults (adaptable for skill level/age)

Works with: Groups, in-person, telehealth

Goals: Learning or reviewing CBT concepts, psychoeducation, practicing coping skills, test review<