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Mrs. A. van der Veen
Teamleider Opname afdelingen GGZ Drenthe

We have had the game now for a few months in our possesion and our experiences with it are positive. The playing cards have been made well and the items are recognizable by colour. Before the game we had much more difficulty with our roleplaying. This has been improved much since we use the game.

Agnes Christiaens
Psychologist at GGZMB Tilburg (Municipal Health Services in Midden Brabant Tilburg)

There has been an overwhelming response to this game. Its natural and realistic approach makes clients less afraid to train themselves in social skills. Because they continually have to practise and train a different skill and because they do not know which skill they are going to practise beforehand, the game remains stimulating and exciting. The clients also like the fact that the instructions and points for consideration are written clearly on the cards for easy reference. Personally, I am also very enthusiastic about this game because I do not have to keep on finding my own training material – Act-it-Out provides all the exercises and material I need.

Martine Sandifort Westhoff 
Trainer/coach Alescon, WSW-company work/learningcompany, Assen

I enjoy using the Act-It-Out game for some time now at Alescon for the social skills lessons. At work/learningcompany Alescon we give many trainings, one of which is the communication training. The training we give is based on the Goldstein method. We use the card with situations for roleplaying as an important tool; these suffice in practice really well. The situations which are mentioned on the card are often really recognizable for the training participants and get them to the desired skill and let them practice it. This provides for lots of variation in the roleplaying situations and also prevents unnecessary timeloss for finding the required sitation for a certain roleplay.

Marion Otten
Drama therapist, Afdeling Psychiatrie Maxima Medisch Centrum Veldhoven (Department of Psychiatry, Maxima Medical Centre in Veldhoven)

It is an instructive and user-friendly method. It can be approached in many different ways that easily allow role-playing. The game is used for the assertiveness training of psychiatric patients. The situations used in this game are familiar to our clients. The advantage of this is that the clients feel more relaxed and less anxious because they do not have to think up the situation themselves. The wide variety of questions is practical because there is always a situation described that is familiar to the clients. The questions are clear and concise. The game is especially valuable in assertiveness training.

Cindy Sprangers
Psychologist for young adults at the Municipal Health Services in Midden Brabant (GGZ Midden-Brabant)

Since June 2004, I have been playing Act-it-Out every week with the group of clients who have been admitted to the ward for young adults at the Municipal Health Services in Midden Brabant and a nurse from that ward. Training social skills is part of the basic programme. I think the game is easily accessible and it is simple to explain and to play. New clients can join in at any time and participate with the group. Clients can practise and train their skills at their own individual level by practising in situations that they themselves specifically find difficult. Since we play this game every week, most of the situation cards have been used more than once. As an alternative, some clients come up with their own situations and of course this works even more effectively.

Viviëne Feskens
Behavioural trainer in Forensic Psychiatry at the Municipal Health Services in Eindhoven (GGZ Eindhoven)

The game is attractive to the eye, inviting and well structured. The design, choice of colours and shapes appeal to the clients. The role-playing situations are described clearly and the clients are able to recognise them easily, often encouraging the other members of the group to offer tips or ideas of their own. This game is a good investment because it is a safe and fun way to work with social skills. Moreover, you can actually see that some clients are in fact learning skills while playing the game. Furthermore, certain points for discussion are no longer necessary.

Maria Chahid en Maarten Rietkerk
Senior Nursing Staff for the Department of Outpatient Treatment of the Municipal Health Services in Midden Brabant (GGZMB)

We have had positive experiences with the game. The clients are also enthusiastic about it. Most of the clients enjoy the fun element of the game and that stimulates them to practise and train their social skills effectively. We use this game with various groups, namely, a group for clients with anxiety and depression, a group for clients with psychoses, and a group for foreigners. The game is often used alongside the regular training programme for social skills. The advantage of this game is that all the skills are practised and trained, and not just one skill. All the clients get many turns to participate, even those clients who try to avoid doing so. A lot of people can actively participate in this game within a short time and very little time is wasted. You do not have to invent situations or topics with suitable examples yourself. For the anxiety and depression group, it serves a very useful purpose to motivate them and keep them motivated for the regular training programme. The game has also been used with the first-year pupils at a secondary school in Tilburg, the Koning Willem 2 College. The school used this game to train social skills. Here, too, their response was positively favourable.

Medical News
Volume 17, Issue 10

Game for Training Social Skills

The training of social skills as offered by many of the Municipal Health Service Institutions is now more accessible thanks to a game. The board game, Act-it-Out, was entirely devised, designed and made by Rob Rintjema, psychiatric nurse at the Municipal Health Services Midden Brabant in Tilburg (GGZ Midden-Brabant). The advantage of using a board game to train social skills is that the trainer (often a nurse) does not necessarily have to have done any further training to be competent enough to train the clients. It is even possible to let the clients play the game on their own, without any trainer present. The players actually guide themselves through the game and learn from the situations they are faced with when they land on a particular square of the board. There are instruction cards and cards containing tips and points for consideration that are used for role-playing.  The social skills that are trained in this way are as follows: discussing something, giving criticism, receiving criticism, saying no, expressing appreciation and standing up for yourself. The game, which is partially based on the Goldstein Method, is currently being used by the Municipal Health Services Midden Brabant (GGZ Midden-Brabant) for young people with eating disorders. The game is also being tested in other institutions, such as in the psychiatric ward of the general hospital (PAAZ) at Maxima Medical Centre (Maxima Medisch Centrum) in Eindhoven. So far the responses have been positive. According to nurses who use Act-it-Out, playing a game helps clients to be more receptive and less resistant than they would be if they were actually doing a ‘real’ training course for social skills. (ME)

Marjan Enzlin