Geek Uno (Game)

Target Population :
Individuals, groups
Ages: 5-18

Materials :
Uno Card Game
Key indicating card color and corresponding questions

Potential Key :
Red- Tell me about your favorite super villain or bad guy?
Yellow- Tell me about your favorite superhero or hero?
Blue- If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Green- What weakness would correspond with your super power and how would you protect against it?
Draw 2- How would your superhero respond to a situation where he/she was angry?
Skip- How would your superhero of choice respond if he was not strong enough for the situation?
Reverse- Tell me about a time when you responded like a hero?
Wild- Tell me about a time when you responded like a villain?

Begin by asking the client if they are familiar with the game of Uno

If the client is familiar with the game, deal cards as normal.

If unfamiliar, explain the basic premise.

Explain the modification of Uno into Geek Uno. In addition to the normal rules, inform the client that when certain cards are played, a question will be posed to another player.

Continue by shuffling the deck and passing out cards. Once players have their hand, allow the client to read over the list of potential questions they may be asked.

Next, the game commences as normal, with a twist: every time the color changes, the person that changes the color has to answer the question corresponding to the color that they changed it to.

The game then progresses as normal with breaks for answering questions when appropriate. The game ends the same way: a player getting rid of all of his/her cards.

Expected Results and Troubleshooting:
Card games can be used in therapy to engage clients in both a fun and therapeutic way. Specifically, they can encourage clients to discuss their feelings, build therapeutic rapport, and serve as an introduction to therapy process. Clients, and children in particular, may come to therapy not willing or not able to verbalize their feelings. Since the therapist will be playing and self-disclosing as well, this allows for modeling of appropriate emotional expression and self-disclosure. Vulnerability of the therapist may assist in building a stronger therapeutic alliance. Additionally, identifying superpowers, favorite superheros, and other scenarios can be a powerful way to introduce a client to strengths that they already possess.

If the task appears to complex the game can be modified to simply drawing a card and responding to color coordinated questions.

If the client has difficulty answering questions then questions can be modified to an appropriate level.

If client has no interest in superpowers, questions can be modified to other topics, such as their favorite type of music, television shows, or movies.

If all questions have been answered, each card color can correspond to an emotion (red= anger, blue= sadness, yellow= happy, green= fear). Each time a player changes the color, they can ask another player, “Tell me about a time you felt .”

According to Drew, Bitar, Gee, Graff, and Springer (2007) using Uno with certain populations can facilitate client self-disclosure, promote the therapeutic alliance, and increase client investment in therapy. Using creative means can break down barriers to treatment and provide a fun way to engage with the therapist.


Drew, F., Bitar, G. W., Gee, R., Graff, C., & Springer, P. (2007). Using a creative intervention to increase self-disclosure among mandated juveniles with co-occurring disorders. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 2(2), 47-58.

Kaduson, H., & Schaefer, C. (2010). 101 favorite play therapy techniques (Vol. 3). New Jersey: Jason Aronson.

Originally posted on the Geek Therapy Wiki, hosted on the now-defunct Wikispaces platform, as part of Dr. Patrick O’Connor’s course Geek Culture in Therapy.

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