Feelings and needs poker

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FEELINGS & NEEDS POKER On 2x2 cards write/print out feelings and needs (one to a card) so that you have a stack of approximately 50-60 each. Use different colored paper for the needs and feelings for ease. Sitting in a circle ask for volunteer (story teller), or role model it first yourself, willing to look through the feeling cards and find a feeling which stimulates a memory of some experience that they are willing to express to the group.

While they are looking at the feelings, evenly distribute the need cards to each participant (including yourself, but excluding the story teller) asking them to hold on to the cards for the moment without discussing them.

When storyteller has found a feeling, she first tells us the feeling (example: frustrated). She is then asked to show non-verbally what frustration feels like and looks like in her body.

The group is then invited to show what that feeling feels and looks like in their bodies. Invite participants to look around and notice others.

Instruct storyteller to BRIEFLY (1-2 minutes) tell their story to the group.

When finished with story, instruct the group to look through their Needs cards and in turn (clockwise) each person will use the phrase "Are you feeling frustrated because you have a need for __________ (filling in the bland with one need card)" and then lay the card down in front of storyteller.

Storyteller does not respond at this time. This rotation will continue until every player has laid down all the needs cards (one at a time) that they guess could be the unmet need in this experience.

Explain that this is not only a skill builder for need literacy, but also to reinforce the mechanics of the template - are you feeling, because you need, and you would encourage every person to repeat the whole phrase as they make their guess.

When a player has laid down all the cards that they guess might apply, they say "pass". When all the players have passed, storyteller is invited to pick up a need card and tell us why that need resonates with them and to continue doing the same with any other need cards that match their experience of what need they were trying to meet in their scenerio. Sometimes I suggest maybe the top 5 or 6 needs that stand out for them (especially if there are more than 6 players in the game). When storyteller has finished we take a moment to savor the experience and then move on to the next player and redistributing the need cards each time a new storyteller plays.

The suggestion is for everyone to experience being the storyteller if time allows.

Note: The players have told me that their need for ease and acceptance were met BIG time in this game as they didn't have to try and come up with feelings/needs from memory or by looking through lists. Players have also said how the need became anonymous once down on the table and they were able to let go of the idea that their guess was "right or wrong".

The empathy is expressed not only by the players but also self-empathy is experienced by the storyteller when she verbally identifies which needs match her experience.

If a person chooses a feeling that expresses a need met, add the instruction to voice "are you feeling tender because your need for ______ was met. You might consider starting with a met need yourself if you plan on role modeling to meet needs for balance in presenting need consciousness.

Lucy Leu at the Freedom Project training.