About Me

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and former school-based therapist - turned full time mama. I thrive on helping others improve their lives! This blog includes information about products that I've found helpful on my journey as a mama from from personal experience and trial and error. My hope is that it's helpful to you!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Combining Card Games (UNO & The Ungame)

An original idea from Carly Collins, creator of Therapeutic Interventions blog:

I have an adolescent male client who is, let's just say...strong-willed, determined, and persistent (I'm being strengths-based here...). It's a bit of a challenge working with him, which in some ways I am thankful for, because it causes me to grow as a therapist and it forces me to be creative.

He LOVES to play UNO, but sometimes I am at a loss for how to change the game a bit to encourage his self-expression and work toward his goals. I had an idea today and thought I'd try it out. 

At this particular school I work at, we have not only the game UNO, but also The Ungame (pocket size, kids version). For more information on The Ungame, click here. I decided after one round of regular UNO today to shuffle The Ungame cards into UNO, with my client's permission. He reluctantly agreed, but when I told him that The Ungame cards could be used as "wild cards," meaning they could be considered any color or number, as long as he answered the question, he was enthusiastic about adding the cards to the deck. Being very competitive, he loved the idea that it might bring him to a victory sooner. 

Though he still didn't love the idea of answering questions during the game (and he made it known that he didn't), he enthusiastically did so because it was bringing him closer to beating me in the game. In the process, he was expressing himself and receiving lots of praise from me for doing so. I answered any questions I got in my stack of cards as well in order to continue building rapport and trust with him. 

Next time you're playing UNO and want to add a creative twist, try this out if you have The Ungame (or any other therapeutic card game, or you can add your own questions on slips of paper)!


  1. This is great, thanks for sharing! I work with reluctant children and teens as well who try to spend their sessions playing cards.

    1. Hi Kim,
      Thank you so much for the feedback and comment, it makes me SO happy to hear that this idea is helpful to other therapists!!!
      Keep up the great work I'm sure you're doing with your clients :)

  2. This is a great idea. I will sometimes add rules to my uno game such as if you get a draw 2 you have to name 2 things about yourself you would change if you could or a draw 4 may require them to tell me 4 positive things about themselves, etc. It definitely combines what they want to do (play cards) and what we want them to do (self exploration).

  3. This is great, thanks for sharing! I work with reluctant children and teens as well who try to spend their sessions playing cards. http://unogame.org/

  4. This is a good idea. Check out my blog. I just created Nottodaybutmaybetomorrow.blog.com. Thanks. I have used the ungame with Jenga using somewhat of the same concept.