Addressing Fear

The objectives of the Addressing Fear workshop may include: understanding your own emotions and behaviours in stressful situations, trying out different approaches when we feel fear, giving encouragement for overcoming fear and for empowerment.

Exercise Examples

Circle of Trust

Type of exercise: Experiential exercise

Duration: 30 minutes

Materials: /


Exercise description

Everyone stands in a circle with one person in the middle (make sure to start off with someone from the training team). The person in the middle stands with eyes closed, their body upright, their ankles relaxed and their arms by their side. The others hold out their arms and their task is to carefully pass this person around, swaying them about and returning them to the centre of the circle, making sure they do not fall down. After two or three minutes, someone else takes a turn in the middle of the circle.

The circle should not be too wide. (For 20 participants, set up two circles.)



This exercise develops a feeling of security in the group and can also be included in the Trust- Building workshop. It is, therefore, recommended that the training team participate in it. It would be good for everyone to take a turn being passed around, but don’t pressure anyone who does not want to.

It is important to have a few participants who are already familiar with this exercise to show the others how to “sway” the person in the middle and pass them around. If this is not possible, the training team should participate in the exercise. When the person in the middle feels safe and relaxed enough, the circle can be widened a bit by making some room between those standing in the circle. The exercise can also be evaluated if needed.



Type of exercise: Experiential exercise

Duration: 20 minutes

Materials: Table or chair


Exercise description

A volunteer stands on a table or chair. They stand with their body upright and their arms by their side. Then  they  fall  backwards  (with  their  back  towards the floor), while the rest catch them by standing in two rows in pairs facing each other, with their arms interlaced into a net to catch the person falling.



This exercise can also be done as part of the Trust-Building workshop.

It is very important that the person falling keeps their body rigid so as to avoid injury. The participants with their arms interlaced into a net should take particular care to make sure the person falling does not hurt their neck. This exercise should only be done if there are at least a few people familiar with it from before.


Situations When We Were Afraid

Type of exercise: Work in small groups, wall newspapers

Duration: 30 minutes

Materials: Flipchart paper, markers


Exercise description

Split into small groups of three or four. In small groups, discuss the topic: “A situation when I felt fear”. Back in plenary, prepare a wall newspaper about: “What emotions arose during the discussion?”, and then about: “While I was listening, I felt…”


Fear Statues

Type of exercise: Statues Theatre

Duration: 70 minutes

Materials: /

Exercise description

Split into three groups. The groups are separated into different rooms or spaces and given the task to prepare a statue about fear, paying particular attention to how the body responds to fear. Back in plenary, the first group display their statue. The rest are the audience and they say what they saw.

Then the statue performers clarify what they wanted to show. There can be a brief discussion if needed. Then the next group display their statue, and so on.

For more about the Statues Theatre method see the chapter on Creative Conflict Transformation.


Where Do My Fears Come From?

Type of exercise: Individual work, wall newspapers

Duration: 25 minutes

Materials: Paper, pencils, flipchart paper, sticky tape


Exercise description

Everyone works independently, thinking about “My fears” and “Where do they come from?” and noting down their thoughts. They have 20 minutes. Then collect their notes and put them up on the wall newspaper so that everyone can see them.


My Safe Space

Type of exercise: Individual work, presentations in plenary

Duration: 60–75 minutes

Materials: Paper, coloured Paper, felt-tip pens, crayons, magazines, glue, scissors, etc.


Exercise description

Everyone  works  independently  on  a  drawing or a collage about “My Safe Space”. The collages are presented in the plenary.