The other important aspect of the game is to get people to take on the role of an animal and in my experience when they truly do this and become the animal, their barriers drop, and they are no longer themselves, they are the wolf, the fox, the deer or the rabbit, or whatever role you have given them to play, one might call this shape shifting.
At the start of a game I get everyone to form a circle and from this I choose individuals to play the game, while the others in the circle may not get to play, they do however have to observe what takes place and often will they see themselves in the animals. During the game, I am not just watching those in the middle playing, I am also observing the rest of the group in the circle.
I am watching their body language and their energy. this helps me to decide who to choose for the next part of the game, and it may be that a person may not be in a good space to play the game, therefore to put them into the middle may cause them stress and in these cases I have found letting them remain in the circle is exactly what they need. While others are so resistant that I need to introduce them gently to the game, which often turns out not to be what they think is expected of them, they then tend to get more involved either during that particular session or the next time we are involved in nature awareness.
During one of my sessions of animal tag, I placed one of the women into the middle of the circle, her brief was to get into peripheral vision and her role was that of a fawn (young deer) and she had to remain perfectly still responding only to her feelings and acting on them.
As I walked away to get the next person to play the part of a predator like a fox or a wolf, I realised I had forgotten to tell her the signal I use to start the game with, so I turned around and headed straight for her with the intent to get the job done. As I approached to within a few feet of her, she suddenly jumped up and ran off at full speed, leaping over the heads of the group who were by now sat down in the circle and she was off, with me calling after her, “the game has not started yet”.
It is really worth noting that she was blindfolded at the time.
During each stage of the game we processed events that took place and what she shared with us was that she sensed not heard, but sensed fear and that she was in danger, so she decided to make a run for it. When asked by one of the group could she see them sat in the circle, she replied no I just knew I had to jump then.
I would also try and investigate if the events that took place could be related to their behaviour as addicts and we often do find a connection, either to how someone may think or feel prior to using etc.
So, hopefully in a brief way I have been able to illustrate how our energy and indeed our thoughts can affect someone’s outcome, no words need to be spoken. When you think that speech is only 7% of our communication, addicts can begin to see that there is much more going on. This is because the games take them out of their world and introduce them to other possibilities that may help them get into active recovery.