In my private practice and school counseling position, the
use of magic has had a tremendous positive impact on my clients.
It helps me build trust and rapport with children quickly
and often serves as a great ice breaker when working with
Magic can be used metaphorically to teach about change, growth
and life skills. Magic is a great positive reinforcement for
good behavior. It is also a useful diagnostic tool, particularly
In general, kids are naturally drawn to the power of well
done magical illusions, and this attraction can help us capitalize
on potential therapeutic gains.
The utilization of magic to help children improve their social
skills also has great potential. This may be because learning
and performing magic are 100% social activities - you must
interact with others. With the judicious use of magic, you
will see plenty of therapeutic gain and you do not require
much magical know how.
I have created a social skills program simply called the
Magic Club. It involves six to eight group members in fourth
grade or older who receive training in age-appropriate tricks
and then perform those tricks for an audience. In six highly
positive and supportive group sessions, they also learn and
practice assertiveness skills; this includes role-playing
social situations that can arise in the course of doing magic
with peers. For example, how do you handle someone who disrupts
you when you are doing a magic presentation? What do you say
to a good friend who has given away the secret to your best
In my Magic Club, I've repeatedly enjoyed a high degree of
teamwork, cooperation and overall great attitudes. The group
members arrive early and can't wait to learn the skill of
magic! The knowledge that they will receive a new magic skill
serves as good incentive to "hang in there" for
some serious focus on oral presentations and assertiveness
I introduce each new trick and its script in
front of the group and clearly model the skills of presentation,
like face the audience, scan, speak loudly and clearly.
The group members then break into pairs and
practice informally on their own. I provide individual instruction
as needed, allow plenty of time, and promote a relaxed and
comfortable atmosphere where everyone succeeds. For some of
the group members, this is a welcome contrast to their prior
peer group experiences.
After learning the presentation skills and magic
trick rehearsal, individual members take turns performing
for the group. I position myself in the back of the room and
play the role of coach. It is very helpful for performers
to have the script or routine on a flip chart.
When the presentation is finished, cheering
and applause are encouraged. Supportive performance feedback
is given by the group leader and members.
It is quite useful and enjoyable to have group
members share their performance experiences as well as any
experiences they have had outside of the group where they
have practiced assertiveness. It is important that students
get a chance to talk about their successes and frustrations
in performing magic and interacting with others.
Students who struggle with shyness, friendship
difficulties and assertiveness are will suited for this group.
The hoped for outcome of the group session is
that the students experience an increase in self-esteem and
confidence as well as mastery of an interactive skill.
An important requirement for starting this group
is to become familiar enough with children's magic that you
can teach it. This is not hard! it will take only an hour
or two of practice.
Interested in the curriculum for
starting your own Magic Club
for social skills improvement?