Time-In Empathy Game Directions


4-6 Players sitting around a table or in a circle on the floor. Each group of Players has one deck of FEELINGS & NEEDS cards. 


Allow for at least 10 minutes per person.


Spread all of the NEEDS cards, face up, in the space between them, so everyone can see them.

One person holds all of the FEELINGS cards. That person tells a short story about something that happened recently and they pick out the FEELINGS cards that represent their feelings in the situation. They put these cards, face up, in front of them.

The person to the left of the Speaker makes an empathic guess, by picking up one NEEDS card and placing it in front of the Speaker, and asking the Speaker: I wonder if you feel/felt (reflect one or more of the feelings that the Speaker mentioned) because you need/needed (state the need on the selected NEEDS card)?”

The Speaker does not respond to this or any of the subsequent guesses until all guesses are made. The Speaker simply receives empathic guesses and reflects on the needs that are offered.

Continuing around the circle, one person at a time takes a turn making an empathic guess and putting before the Speaker one NEEDS card.

When a player senses that the relevant needs have been guessed and there are no more NEEDS cards on the floor that they want to guess, they say,  pass. 

Play continues two times around the circle OR, if time allows, until everyone says  pass.

When all guesses have been made, the Speaker says which needs hit home the most. At this point, the Speaker can also select any NEEDS cards that weren’t guessed that speak to them. Then, all NEEDS cards go back in the center and the FEELINGS cards are passed to the player on the left, who becomes the new Speaker.

* Jokers/Wild Cards can be used to guess any additional feelings and needs that are not already in the deck.

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