Therapy as a Party Game? Yes, With Fewer Fights Than Monopoly


Guess how many of the three creators spent the rest of their lives making board games? Correct, zero. Now guess how many eventually became actual therapists? Correct again, it’s most. Of the three, only Klein, a humor writer, did not eventually open up his own practice.

Before I became thrice self-actualized (winning Group Therapy three times), I never understood why consenting adults would play Monopoly or Scattergories or Dungeons & Dragons. And the experience of participating in something so shatteringly unfun as Cards Against Humanity is legitimately dehumanizing — cards win every time.

That’s not to say there aren’t games I enjoy — ever play Guess Who? as a drunk, cruel adult?— but as party activities go, I could never get behind them. The entire point of spending time with your friends is to hear about their lives, tell them about yours, and speculate about the lives of others. Why strategize about the most efficient way to Connect Four when you could be having an adult conversation about something real or relevant? Like whether someone you know has a baby who sucks?

Board game enthusiasts would argue that through competition, you do learn about other players. And sure, friends may obliquely reveal themselves to be surprisingly cutthroat or strategic or risk-averse.

But that’s precisely what makes Group Therapy so great: You don’t have to sit around on the off-chance someone incidentally outs himself as a toxic, petty monster. In Group Therapy, you suss out a person’s true nature by the way they respond to prompts like “Talk about your loneliness” or “Why would you not like the whole group to be nude right now? Why would you?”

It’s a board game without any of the tedious board game stuff, and that is why it is the greatest board game in history. Alas, copies of Group Therapy are hard to come by, although its follow-up, Couples, is currently available on eBay for $49.99 … or rather, it was available until moments ago, when someone bought it. In the spirit of radical honesty, I’m prepared to reveal something deeply intimate and profound: That person was me. Pretty “With It,” right? Now what do I win?



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