The following communication activity is called “Back to Back Drawing”. Gambling addicts and their loved ones can benefit by trying this activity. This is meant to aid in communication and paying attention to areas of strength and also areas we may need to work on a little bit as we communicate with each other. You will need about 4 pieces of paper to complete the task and either a pen, pencil, crayons or markers, etc.
In the first round there will be a describer who will first create a picture without the other person seeing what he or she draws. Don’t make it too simple..like just a smiley face. So the two people face in opposite directions so they can’t see each others work. The only person talking in this round is the describer. The drawer cannot ask questions. The describer should give as many details as possible to the drawer. Then show each other your drawings when you are finished. It is usually very interesting to see the similarities or differences in the drawings.
During the second round the describer, again, draws another picture without the other person seeing. In this round the drawer can ask the describer questions and get some clarification. Then show each other your work when completed. After this round the two partners can check in and see what it was like to receive and give information. They can also discuss what would have been more helpful. Take this information into account when we communicate in real life scenarios.
Next have the two partners switch roles. First give instructions again with no ability to ask questions. Then again in the second round the drawer is able to ask questions. When each round is completed show each other your work and discuss as you did before.
After both people have completed their rounds then they can have more discussion questions. Some of the questions might be which role was easier and why? What would you have done differently? Another question is what was it like to receive directions and give directions? Next you could ask what was it like not being able to see your partners work? Did it feel different when you could ask for clarifications? This is a great activity that can be used as a spring board for what happens in the real world. So, for instance, what stops us from getting clarification? Is it that you feel discomfort or fear that you might sound stupid to ask questions.
This is a great way to build on strengths and weaknesses as communicators. It’s a fun activity that can certainly begin to help open up communication about addiction and its affects on the gambler and their loved ones.